2.05.2010

Porsche Cayenne GTS Review


Purists howled at the thought of a Porsche SUV, but Porsche built it anyway.

That was 2003, and people bought 'em...enough to make Porsche the world's most profitable car company (at least until the whole economy went sideways).

That's right. There are now seven model years' worth of the Porsche Cayenne in various trim and power levels on the streets. The GTS is the latest.

The story has pretty much been one of refinement over that time. The basics are the same...this is essentially the same basic vehicle as the Volkswagen Touraeg and Audi Q7...just Porsche-ized.

And the Porsche bits definitely transform this machine...which is heavy and can be ponderous in VW and Audi versions (especially the ones with the big engines)...into a very fast, reasonably good handling vehicle.

Fast first. The GTS has a 405 horsepower 4.8 liter V8. That actually is in the middle of the available power for the Cayenne (the base version has 290 horsepower, the S 385, the S Transsyberia the same 405 as the GTS, the Turbo 500 and the Turbo S 550). That's good for 0-60 times of 5.7 seconds.

This, by the way, is a Porsche engine...not shared with the Touraeg or the Q7. It's an aluminum alloy block and cylinder heads with a resonance induction intake manifold, 4 overhead cams, 4 valves per cylinder, variable valve inlet timing and an integrated dry sump lubrication system.

The wheels are 21 inches. The brakes (works of art themselves) are 13.8.

Our version had the 6-speed Tiptronic S (an automatic that can be shifted manually by buttons on the steering wheel).



The interior is a pleasant place to do business...with high quality materials, supportive seats and the usual Porsche layout (ignition to the left of the steering wheel).

So what's it cost? Well, a lot. Base price for the GTS Tiptronic is $74,600. The tester I drove for a week added a black leather interior with alcantra inserts ($3,170), Bi-Xenon headlamps with washers ($1,560) PCM with navigation ($3,300), heated front seats ($690), a Light Comfort Package with memory ($610), XM Satellite Radio ($750), Universal Audio Interface ($440), floor mats ($140), a trailer hitch with wiring harness ($630), a moonroof ($1,190), Bose Surround Sound ($1,690) and a Bluetooth interface ($695).

Add on the $975 delivery charge and you have:

$91,150.

Hey, these were never for everybody, anyway. And in this economy, you can't make a value argument for a 3-ton SUV with a top speed of 157 miles per hour and an EPA estimated mileage of 13 city/18 highway (and I averaged out at 11.5 for the week). At these prices, at this point in history, it comes down to this: If you have the money and you want one, you can buy it.

And you may want to hustle a bit...we're approaching the end of generation one...a new Cayenne is set to debut in May.


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