The infamous 2020 will go down in history for many things, but one of the more exciting and salient talking points will be the release of GTS-badged fare from Porsche. Earlier this year Porsche gave us the version 4.0 of the 718 GTS and then just a few months later, the Cayenne range was revealed with the GTS treatment, the focus of this article here. TopGear South Africa sampled the Cayenne GTS Coupé during a near-400km round trip through the Western Cape and it’s a big fat yes from us.
The modern GTS concept has really been a strong strategic move from Porsche. We know that the Stuttgart brand is excellent at celebrating its lineage and history and then weaving this into its latest models through special editions and special craftsmanship on certain models. But the modern GTS, as much as its name stems from the 2-door race-bred Carrera GTS from the 60s, is now a more integrated package concept for what has turned out to be a very popular product positioning. GTS is about infusing the car with a sporty flair and character yet keeping it attainable and usable at the same time. It’s no easy feat and I’d guess it’s the reason we now have things like the AMG 43 and 53 cars from Affalterbach, not to mention the M Performance derivatives from Bavaria.
So what’s new on the Cayenne GTS Coupé here? A tasty V8 for a start.
Under the hood of the Cayenne GTS Coupé lies a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8. It has replaced the V6 that was there before and it’s an engine we know all too well as it does work in the Cayenne Turbo, Turbo S and Turbo S-E Hybrid versions albeit in a detuned state in the GTS. It’s no slouch of course with power outputs of 338kW and 620Nm of torque on offer. It’s a smarter and more efficient engine with the turbo chargers mounted within the ‘V’ of the engine and with shortened paths for the exhaust gasses to travel for better response when your right foot asks for it. 0 -100km/h is dealt with in 4,5-seconds and it will haul to a top speed of 270km/h.
The GTS is unmistakable. It’s set apart by its signature aesthetics that are located the whole way through its design, starting with the tinted headlights above the blacked out grille and air blades just below. Black 21-inch wheels are the next highlight on top of which sits a 20mm lowered body for a squat, sporty stance. The rear highlights are a quad of black tailpipes with a pair of each on either side of the diffuser and then of course, a smattering of GTS badges and stickers in all the usual places.
Step aboard and the GTS lettering continues, in addition to an Alcantara mix in the seat centres, doors and centre armrest.
With the Coupé, you’ll give up at least 25-litres of boot space over a Cayenne GTS but at least you’ll not have as many arguments about its design over that of other Coupé-SUV competitors. The Cayenne Coupé design is arguably the most finished and, in this GTS variant, the most visually appealing.
The Go to Match the Show
This new V8 makes a good noise. Starting here is important because it’s the first thing you’ll notice as you start up the GTS. Its standard sports exhaust system sounds like a properly barking V8 and so the journey begins for 400km of the best roads Cape Town can throw at us.
The power is up on the new GTS by 14kW and 20Nm over its predecessor and it lays it on in a smooth roar through the 8-speed Tiptronic gearbox. No PDK here but I can’t criticise it’s precision. Pop it into Sport or Sport Plus mode and the GTS bristles, stiffens and becomes a feisty and undoubtedly exciting drive. It wields a plethora of electronic aids to transform its 2-ton heft into something that feels less so. Standard steel sprung suspension comes with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Torque Vectoring, so right from the word ‘corner’ the GTS feels sharp and agile. Option the GTS with Adaptive Air Suspension and you also then get the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control system which uses active anti-roll bars for sharpened agility. It’s a beautiful car to drive quickly, adequately powered with excellent communication from the brakes, the chassis and the steering. You don’t get SUV’s that speak to you in this way.
Dial it all down to Normal mode and the Cayenne GTS Coupé becomes the easy going and comfortable Cayenne. It is harder than the other Cayenne models but it’s such a good balance of comfort and more eager driving. To really test this, we made our way onto a stretch of gravel road worming our way up into forested mountains on the outskirts of Paarl. In Normal mode on loose, corrugated gravel the Cayenne GTS was anything but uncomfortable. It’s a hoot to drive here too, the all-wheel drive system really coming into its own for easy yet focused driving and mitigating so much slip even when you’re diving into corners more eagerly than you should. If you can, that self-levelling air suspension is worth its tag.
Porsche does have a lengthy and interesting options list on any given day but here the GTS is offered in 3 ‘packages’ that throw in a mix of technology features and aesthetic accoutrements. These are the Lightweight Sports Package, the Lightweight Sports Package Carbon and the Lightweight Sports Package Black.
The package includes a cool, classic checkered seat pattern; a louder and more aurally impressive sports exhaust system that protrudes from the rear in blacked out oval twin pipes, a carbon roof, matte black trim pieces on the bumper; 22-inch satin gloss wheels and a carbon fibre diffuser. It’s a stunning package that costs a hair under R191 000.
The Black and Carbon packages then throw in all of the above with either more carbon or more black trim pieces. All of these reduce the weight of the car by up to 32kg, that carbon roof alone, in place of a panoramic item, will save you 20kgs and some head room.
Porsche has made the job of considering the GTS over anything else much easier. It’s that good and so well put together as a package. It speaks to the emotional bias of a driver as well as the practical bias of a person considering the everyday humdrum of life, family haulage and daily commutes to the office and back. It can turn on the taps to full blast at the turn of the Drive Mode dial on the steering wheel and yet at the same time, travel vast distances in premium comfort with the practicality of a large SUV to boot.
It’s this duality of purpose that makes GTS so popular and it continues with this new Cayenne GTS Coupé.
Pricing starts at R1 839 000 with a 3-yr DrivePlan.