Double Apex was recently invited to drive the two newest Porsche models introduced into the South African market. We’ve already published our 911 Turbo S review earlier this week (which you can read about here). Today we bring you our drive report of the Cayenne GTS Coupe.
The latest Cayenne (model code E3) is a vehicle we’ve already experienced. We’ve driven derivatives that were part of the model’s initial introduction (you can read our earlier report here) but the GTS version is a new addition to the local line-up. This was also our first taste of the second Cayenne body style, the swoopier Cayenne Coupe.
This third generation Cayenne is a handsome vehicle with lines and shapes that are far more resolved and elegant that its forebearers. In Cayenne Coupe guise, Porsche finally has a rival for the likes of the Mercedes GLE Coupe and BMW X6. While the Coupe shares its face with the regular Cayenne, matters change somewhat aft of the A pillars. More raked A pillars, a reprofiled front windscreen, lower roofline and that signature slanting rear windscreen set it apart. Rear passenger headroom isn’t compromised thanks to a slight drop of the rear seat height.
Cayenne GTS Coupe is further differentiated by black details, as is the case with all GTS derivatives. The dark treatment is applied to the badges, head- and taillamps, mirror caps, grille, tailpipes and diffuser. These cues work well on the Carmine Red paintwork (pictured) of the vehicle we drove. Other stylistic highlights include a different roof spoiler, a 20 mm lower ride height and 21-inch RS Spyder Design alloys. GTS versions also have a few touches in the cabin that set them apart. Most obvious are GTS logos on the doors, step sills, rev counter and head rests. Suede-like Alcantara is applied on the rooflining, seat centre panels, centre armrests and doors. Dark-brushed aluminium and carbon-fibre is used for some of the trim pieces. Eight-way electrically adjustable sports seats are exclusively to the new GTS variants.
In Porsche speak GTS typically means a sporty alternative for those who prefer to stay away from the headline-making derivatives of any range. 911 GTS isn’t quite as focussed or powerful as a GT3 or a Cayman GTS isn’t as hard-core as the GT4. The same applies to the Cayenne GTS Coupe. Having said that, the E3 Cayenne has re-adopted the twin-turbocharged V8 as found in the Cayenne Turbo. Peak power is rated a tad lower that the range-leading Turbo variants at 338 kW and 620 N.m. While these outputs are fractionally above the twin-turbo V6 it replaces, the 4,0-litre bent eight has a character and power deliver that is markedly different. Porsche says the Cayenne GTS Coupe will sprint from rest to 100 km/h in 4,5 seconds, with the Sport Chrono package, and it has a top speed of 270 km/h.
We got to experience the Cayenne GTS Coupe through wide stretches of the Western Cape, from open motorways to fast, deserted arterial byways. On the open road the eight-speed transmission seamlessly shuffles into a high gear to use the V8’s wide torque band (peak torque is available between 1 800 and 4 500 r/min). At the national limit the rev-counter registers just over 1 500 r/min. With such a low engine speed one gets to enjoy the plush cabin and low NVH.
When traffic eases up, flatten the loud pedal and the transmission skips a few ratios, dives deep into its gearset to punch up the revs. On its way to each up shift the V8 emits a bassy backbeat through its standard sports exhausts. Peak power figures tell just part of the story as the V8 is far more character-laden and it punches harder than the outgoing V6, especially in the mid-range. Under full throttle, while overtaking for example, numbers dial up up on the speedo at a rapid rate. That means two things, overtaking happens briskly and safely, but you constantly run the risk of overshooting the speed limit. The brake system (390 mm discs at the front, 358 mm at the rear as standard) is used frequently.
When the road ahead starts to twist and turn the GTS’s bespoke suspension tuning comes to the fore. The wide rubber is kept in check by active dampers of the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which have been retuned for the GTS’ sportier bent. The all-wheel-drive system is controlled by Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) to create high levels of lateral grip, more so that most people will ever exploit. Although it does a pretty good impression of a sportscar, the Cayenne GTS Coupe’s high ride height and mass are its limiting factors. However, in capable hands a hot hatch and most sports saloons would not see which way the GTS went.
The Cayenne GTS Coupe is an interesting prospect. It has the sporting bent expected of a Porsche, swoopy good looks and practicality needed by a family. GTS versions of the Cayenne represent an ideal compromise for those who wish to dive into the world of Porsche sportscar ownership but who also need space afforded by a full-size back seat and a large luggage area. It is fulfills more than one role, and it does so well. It’s no wonder then, to learn that the Cayenne range is, again, the top seller for the marque.
Porsche Cayenne GTS R1 749 000
Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe R1 839 000