Motoring | Test Drives

Green monster: Porsche Cayenne GTS

Finally, a Sports Utility Vehicle that's actually sporty. wheels takes the new-in-the-Middle East Porsche Cayenne GTS for a drive around Dubai

  • By Dejan Jovanovic, wheels
  • Published: 20:24 April 21, 2013
  • Wheels

Porsche Cayenne GTS
  • Image Credit: Grace Paras/ANM
  • The carbon-ceramic brakes on the Porsche Cayenne GTS could strip tarmac off the back end of the Mulsanne straight.
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Peridot Metallic is this exclusive luminous green colour and it will cost you an additional Dh8,260. But of all the options — from 18in to 21in wheels, to the 14- and 18-way adjustable seats, past the Dh5,690 high-gloss black exterior package, and the 30 grand ceramic composite brakes — it’s the one you simply must have with the new-in-the-Middle East Porsche Cayenne GTS.

There’s no point ordering a black or white GTS because this car is one of eight — yes, eight — available Cayenne models, and as such, it needs to stand out. Luminous green will do it.

A mad exterior paint colour such as this, typifies the GTS quite obviously and succinctly; it’s mad. It has a naturally aspirated V8 engine that wouldn’t go amiss in the middle of some Maserati, it has carbon-ceramic brakes that could strip tarmac off the back end of the Mulsanne straight, it’s inherited the feelsome steering of a broody 911, it weighs over two tonnes and handles like an arcade video game.

If you ever thought the Germans don’t have a sense of humour, step right this way into a Cayenne GTS and laugh your butt off.

Let’s say the Cayenne Turbo S and the Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG are the straight-line torque-monstrous Bugatti Veyrons of the SUV universe. Then this GTS is a Lotus. A 2,085kg Lotus…

The way this car steers, with such quick directness and a short ratio (underlined
by the thick, small diameter steering wheel), and the way it controls body roll
is remarkable for an SUV — others can do it, like the BMW X5 M and X6 M,
but no other SUV mixes in everyday driveability and a composed ride quality at the same time.

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Then there’s the engine, a typical 90-degree V8, 4.8-litre, chucking 420 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission, which sounds pitiful since the Dh631,500 Turbo S makes 130bhp on top of that.

But the GTS is still the third most powerful Cayenne in the range and, more relevant, instead of peaking at 6,000rpm like its force-fed overlords, the 420 horses come in at 6,500rpm.

There’s also 515Nm of torque from 3,500rpm, whereas the turbocharged Cayennes twist in from 2,250rpm. All that tells you one thing: the GTS’ naturally aspirated V8 loves to scream, rev and burp on the overrun like the brash, luminous green psycho that it is.

Like I said, this engine — with a hotter intake cam (11mm increased valve lift over the Cayenne S to help eke out the extra 20bhp and 15Nm), reworked valve timing, and engine control unit — wouldn’t go amiss in a mid-engined, vocally gifted Italian sportscar.

In fact, the GTS is so sporty in nature (all relatively speaking, of course. Please don’t forget we’re still talking about a 1,688mm tall SUV — albeit up to 24mm lower than the Cayenne S) that I thought its brakes and transmission were broken.

Turns out you just need to get used to  the more aggressive ABS system in this car, as well as the jerky, gut-kicking gear changes provided by the non-twin-clutch, non-PDK, Tiptronic S eight-speed.

In the GTS the gear changes are shorter and, therefore, harder. But  even though it’s a bit of a hard-core ’box it’s still a smart one, preventing mid-corner shifts, suppressing overrun upshifts, and helping out with engine braking during hard stops.

The other bits that make a GTS a GTS are larger air intakes up front — taking a cue from the Cayenne Turbo — plus a unique front apron and even more intakes. At the back the roof spoiler dominates the look, with Porsche claiming it actually increases downforce on the rear axle, or at least decreases lift.

On slippery surfaces — our shoot took place just after a rain shower — this all-wheel drive SUV will break free, believe it or not, from the shackles of these high-performance summer tyres, mounted on Dh6,430 optional 911 Turbo II 21in wheels.

Inside, leather and Alcantara come as standard as do eight-way electric GTS seats with embroidered logos, while rear passengers are most comfortably limited to just two people because the seats are basically individual buckets.

OK, so the GTS might not be all that much about utility, but this is still finally a Sports Utility Vehicle that really does get the "Sports" bit right.

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