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Porsche Cayenne GTS 2024 review – the SUV that might get you out of an RS6

The new Cayenne model offensive continues with the introduction of the GTS, the sweet-spot in the line-up.

Evo rating
Price
from £106,100
  • Dynamic qualities push it to the top of the class
  • Lacks the premium finishes some will expect

Porsche’s Cayenne, the SUV that has always been more about the ‘sport’ than the ‘utility’, has never shied away from a fight either from rivals it is closely related to from Audi, Bentley or Lamborghini or competitors from AMG, BMW and Range Rover. It continues to evolve, roll with the punches and hit back harder than it has before. Even when Aston Martin went for the ultimate sporting SUV crown with the DBX, Porsche’s Weissach department rolled up its sleeves and set about creating the Turbo GT. It wasn’t exactly a GT3 on stilts, but it did provide an insight as to what’s possible when you replace more of the utility aspects with sporting ones. 

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In new GTS spec it has evolved once again. Not visually – it still looks as awkward a design as it did back in 2002, even with its now standard Sport Design bumpers and trim – but dynamically its quest to get you out of an RS6 isn’t a lost cause.

Every new Cayenne is turbocharged in some way or another, and many also feature hybridisation, but not the GTS. Its 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 relies on forced-induction only to generate its 493bhp and 487lb ft (39bhp and 29lb ft increases over the previous GTS), of which is enough to be getting on with even in a machine crunching the scales at 2190kg. 

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With no hybrid components the V8 starts with a deep burble after you’ve depressed the start button that replaces Porsche’s traditional dash-mounted ignition switch. There’s a flare of revs and almost old-school lumpy idle that’s meticulously controlled by the engine’s management system. It sounds more authentic than many, but early starts will annoy the neighbours and wake the dog. 

Leave the motor in the ‘Normal’ mode and the step on acceleration isn’t as sharp as it would be if there was an electric motor to call upon for instant torque, the pace building gradually as engine speeds pick up and that wave of internal combustion generated torque builds. Reach two-thirds of the way around the tacho and the power takes over, the GTS gaining momentum at a rate that’s somewhere just below peak supersaloon with the surge tailing off as physics start to take hold. 

Up the ante in Sport or Sport Plus and tenths begin to disappear from the timing sheets, but what you notice more from behind its alcantara trimmed steering wheel is a willingness to react sooner to throttle openings. The upshifts of the eight-speed auto come quicker too, although downshifts are slower than you’re expecting regardless of the drive mode selected. Its 4.4-second 0-62mph time feels perfectly doable, the 171mph top speed not out of the question but above 140mph on the autobahn the rate of acceleration tails off noticeably. 

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Harnessing this performance are a handful of the chassis upgrades Weissach selected for the previous generation Turbo GT. Therefore, front axle pivot bearings have been fitted for improved steering response along with an increase in the negative camber on the front axle by over half a degree. The adaptive air-suspension and PASM damping has been tuned to be sharper, quicker-acting and more controlled. Porsche’s Torque Vectoring Plus is included, and if you’re feeling flush you can also add the firm’s dynamic chassis control hardware and software. 

The stronger body control is welcome, the dual-valve damper tech managing the weight through direction changes when you’re taking advantage of the V8’s willingness to perform. It might corner with a flatness that numbs the sense of knowing what’s going on but there’s enough to work with to avoid over committing and rolling through the countryside in an uncontrolled mess. 

Faster, more fluid routes suit it best where it can flow through softer turns and maintain its speed. On tighter, more challenging routes the V8 is best used to fire you out of the corner rather than balancing the car through an apex. For its class it’s precise and remarkably composed when pushed, as has always been the case, but if you're stepping from an E63, M5 or RS6 you’ll notice the lack of finesse and polish to how it reacts to quick inputs. If you’re stepping from the Cayenne’s more traditional rivals you’ll marvel at how it manages to feel so car-like while they feel more utilitarian vehicles wearing a set of fashionable trainers. 

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Our test car was fitted with the optional carbon-ceramic brakes (yours for a few quid shy of £10,000), and while their consistent stopping performance is welcome they felt a little dead for the first few millimetres of pressure before firming up and becoming a too solid to manage modulation to the detail you’d expect from Porsche. 

If its external design is a challenge for some, internally it’s functional rather than desirable. New, larger screens are home to the majority of the haptic controls for the air-con positioned on the centre console for ease of use. Like its sports car cousins the GTS’s drive mode rotary control is positioned within the steering wheel allowing you to cycle through Off-road, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. 

Porsche’s PCM remains intuitive to use, the built in sat-nav is on a par with Google maps for making the occasional faux-pas but there’s a logic to the layout of the systems and switching between Apple Carplay doesn’t cause a total infotainment meltdown (as it can in some VW Group products). 

Available as a traditional five-door or coupe (priced at £106,100 for the SUV, £107,700 for the coupe) the GTS feels like the pick of the range to us. What it lacks in outright performance alongside the Turbo E-Hybrid it makes up for with a more rounded delivery that brings every element of the Cayenne’s capability into play rather than focusing on how fast it can reach your destination.

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Aston Martin’s DBX707 might be the best performance SUV to drive (okay, Ferrari’s Purosangue trumps that but have you seen the price?!), Range Rover’s Sport offers the best blend of performance and luxury but the Cayenne GTS remains the all rounder that will tick so many boxes for so many. 

Price and rivals

Twenty years ago the Cayenne had two core rivals: BMW’s X5 and Mercedes ML. BMW is still in the game, rivalling the Cayenne with its £128,845 X5 M Competition and £131,545 X6 M Competition (avoid the latter, then consider the former if you really must), while the Mercedes has morphed into the £133,380 GLE 63S. Neither brands get close to the Porsche in terms of how they drive, but trump it on tech and in some areas of refinement and outright pace. 

Keeping it in the family, Audi’s £109,085 RSQ8 feels a blunt instrument alongside the Cayenne GTS despite its sizeable on paper performance advantage, while the recently revised Bentley Bentayga S is more about the bespoke luxury than the driving experience. Lamborghini’s Urus costs twice the price as is nowhere near twice the car. 

Aston Martin only offers one flavour DBX today - the £225,000 707 - and while it is one of the few to outperform the GTS on the road, it too comes at a price (another £125,000 to be precise). The remaining rival is another Brit, or a pair in fact, Range Rover’s £116,190 Sport P530 and £171,460 SV. The former has the Porsche trumped for comfort, luxury and effortless ease of driving, with less emphasis on outright performance and more on delivering a seamless journey. Its more brutal SV brother has the ability to match the Porsche when pushed but doesn’t have the fluidity of its German rival. Then again, the Cayenne can’t do what either Sport models can achieve off-road.

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