New Car Review: 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Silver 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS driving down a mountain road
The 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS.

Regular TireKicker readers may have noticed that, by and large, we refrain from profanity in these reviews. The reason is simple...I started reading car magazines at age 7, they brought me a lot of pleasure and entertainment, and my parents sure as @#$%! wouldn't have allowed it if there was a lot of (or any) bad language in those pages.

But the Porsche Cayenne GTS tests my resolve. I feel like saying a whole lot of bad words for a whole lot of different reasons.

Take the existence of such a thing as a Porsche SUV for beginners. That has elicited more than one or two profanity-laced outbursts from Porsche purists.

Then there's the fact that the Cayenne is now, after several seasons, far and away the best-selling Porsche. That's worth an expletive or two.

Fold in that Porsche has not only made it sell, but made it work...and has made the Cayenne every bit a performance machine, and one could be excused for an off-color word uttered in a tone of admiration.

Well, the GTS is all those things....and then more. In fact, more more piled on top of more.

I'll explain:

First of all, we're talking about 420 horsepower and 369 pounds per foot of torque...a big boost from the 300 horsepower of the base Cayenne. It pulls like a freight train, runs like a thoroughbred (0-60 happens in 5.4 seconds) and has an unshakable feeling of solidity and stability. It's simply a magnificent beast, if a somewhat thirsty one (though 15 city and 21 highway beats a lot of lesser-powered SUVs fuel economy estimates).

We're also talking about a base price of $82,050...a sizable leap from the $48,850 that gets you the entry-level Cayenne. What do you get for your money besides power? Quite a lot. An 8-speed Tiptronic transmission, amazing brakes (helps to be able to stop, too), 20-inch wheels, leather, audio, Bluetooth...the works.

Ah, but Porsche did not stop there with our tester. They added options.

$41,215 worth of options.

That's right. Very nearly the cost of a base Cayenne was added to the Cayenne GTS in the form of options.

I've driven 100 cars or more a year for the past 15 years. Probably 25 of them Porsches. And Porsche is notorious for its option pricing. But this....this is a first. How'd they do it? Well, the Classic Silver Metallic paint was $790, a bump up to 21-inch Cayenne Special Edition Wheels added  $2,605.

And the rest? Inside the car.

2013 Porsche Cayenne interior
2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS interior.

As wonderful as the Cayenne GTS interior is, you can add the GTS interior package for $3,655. Auto dimming inside and outside rearview mirrors and a memory package add $420. The light comfort package with memory is $250. The sport chrono package is $270. Getting SiriusXM and HD radio into that already killer audio system takes $1,120...the same price as adding thermo and noise insulated glass with privacy glass.

Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC for short) is $3,510. A trailer hitch (without ball, as the window sticker notes) adds $650.

I have never seen a Cayenne tow anything. Doesn't mean it can't be done and won't someday come in handy. Just saying I've never actually seen it.

PTV Plus (Porsche Torque Vectoring, which improves steering response and precision) is $1,490. The tester had a SportDesign steering wheel rim. That costs $290. The Panorama roof system (basically a full-length of the car sunroof...or darn close) was $660. The Cargo Management System $590.

Heated front and rear seats...$1,050.

Porsche Entry & Drive (keyless entry and ignition)...$1,090.

Another interior package (ours had lime green seatbelts and accents)...$3,450.

Porsche Communication Management with Nav: $3,675. A rear-view camera with park assist front and rear adds $1,750. Lane Change Assist, $850. Adaptive cruise control (keeps a safe distance between you and the car in front of you)...$2,490.

And then the highest-priced of the options...the Burmester High End Surround Sound System. This is a German custom audio manufacturer. Here's the most salient paragraph about the system from the Porsche website:

The system has 16 amplifier channels with a total output of more than 1,000 watts, 16 loudspeakers including an active subwoofer with 300-watt class D amplifier, a total diaphragm surface area of more than 2,400 cm², and a frequency response of 30 Hz to 20 kHz.

Gotta say, it sounded great. But then, a $5,690 audio system kinda should.

If you've lost track on our way to $41,215 worth of options.....we're not there yet.

One column over from "Options" on the window sticker is "Exclusive Options". And ours had the aforementioned 21-inch wheels as well as extended LED comfort lighting ($845), a painted car key ($335), an aluminum gear selector ($495) and stainless steel doorsill guards ($1,100).

With $975 destination charge, the bottom line becomes a breathtaking $123,265.

The amazing thing (besides the fact that you can add that much in options), is that you haven't even bought the ultimate Cayenne here. The Cayenne Turbo has 500 horsepower and starts at $108,750. The Cayenne Turbo S has 550 horsepower and begins at $146,000. And I'm sure there's a few dozen grand in options that can be added to that, as well.

Porsche's not in the habit of building cars they can't sell. The existence of this car means there's a market for SUVs between $100,00 and $200,000 in this country. And it's hard to argue with success.