2010 Porsche Cayenne GTS Road Test Review

Arv Voss - CAP staff
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The Porsche GTS first joined the second generation Cayenne family last year with many distinguishing characteristics, such as the Cayenne Turbo nose, a lower stance and Porsche's first offering of a six-speed manual gearbox with a V8 engine (with a six-speed Tiptronic S transmission optionally available).  A sport kit is incorporated into the GTS inventory, featuring special 21-inch alloy wheels, and Alcantara seating surface inserts are available for the same price as leather seating.  There's also a different rear wing available.  This year, there are two new trim levels for the Cayenne GTS: the Porsche Cayenne S Transsyberia and Cayenne GTS Porsche Design Edition3. 

When Porsche first announced their intent to build an SUV to complement the sports car lineup, there were those who felt that perhaps the German automaker was about to forsake tradition altogether.  That wasn't the case however, as the sports car stable has continued to grow and improve, and the Cayenne, in its various forms, sold more than two hundred thousand units in its first five years, becoming Porsche's best selling vehicle.  One must consider after all, that it's the Porsche of SUVs. 

In terms of its visual appeal, the 2010 GTS has changed little from last year's model except for visual enhancements for the two new models.  At a glance, it still looks much like the Cayenne Turbo due to the front-end styling, but it actually features a lower, sportier stance, while maintaining most, but not all of the Cayenne's off-road capability.  The GTS is distinguishable by its standard black monochrome finish on door handles and window trim, 10-spoke, 21-inch diameter Cayenne Sport wheels, body-colour side skirts, and red brake calipers.  The GTS positions itself between the Cayenne S and the Cayenne Turbo in the Cayenne pecking order.  While the GTS shares the same basic architecture as other Cayenne models, it actually has a different mission statement -- it rewards the driving enthusiast with enhanced levels of sporty on-road performance, even though it sacrifices some of its sibling's off-road prowess, due to its lower ride height, which is 20 mm lower than the Cayenne S via the standard air suspension system.  Add the larger wheels and tires and you've got improved agility with enhanced stability. 

Power for the Cayenne GTS continues to come from an enhanced version of Porsche's 4.8-litre V8 engine with VarioCam Plus variable-valve timing system and electronic direct fuel injection.  Engine improvements resulted in a five-percent, or 20-horsepower, increase.  The engine develops 405 horsepower at 6,500 rpm while generating 369 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.  This, along with a lowered final drive ratio (reduced 15-percent regardless of transmission choice), enables the GTS to scoot from 0-100 km/h in a tick over 6 seconds, with a top track speed of 253 km/h (157 mph) – electronically limited.  The Tiptronic version is actually four tenths of a second quicker than its Cayenne S sibling, accelerating to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds.  Not bad for a normally aspirated engine. 

The engine's power characteristics are further optimized by a specially tuned sport exhaust system, which adds a throaty, pleasing tone from its twin dual exhaust pipes.  The manual gearbox enables the GTS to deliver a fuel economy rating of 21.4 L/100km city and 13.8 highway, while the Tiptronic S transmission improves fuel economy further, rated at 18.1 L/100km city and 13.1 highway. 

The interior of the GTS is uniquely tailored to provide support to the driver, and passengers benefit from specially designed sport seats, which offer deep side bolsters with Alcantara centers keeping occupants in place during spirited driving maneuvers, helping them fully appreciate the capabilities of the vehicle.  Both front seats are electrically adjustable 12-ways, with extended memory settings.  The folding, split-back rear seat is also unique to the Cayenne GTS, featuring raised bolsters and Alcantara inserts at the outer seating positions, also ensuring stable and comfortable seating for those occupants.  Despite the deep contours of the rear seat, it is still capable of holding three adults comfortably and safely.  Adding to the ambience of the cabin is aluminum interior trim and stainless-steel door entry guards with the Cayenne GTS logo. 

The GTS provides the same levels of safety and occupant protection features as all other Cayennes, which includes advanced airbags; a rollover sensor; seatbelt tensioners; side curtain airbags; Porsche Stability Management; and optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control.  Convenience and entertainment options available include a DVD navigation system, Bose digital audio, and a roof transport system. 

My test Porsche Cayenne GTS wore an exterior finish of GTS Red (what else, at $4,200) with a Stone Grey leather interior featuring Alcantara inserts. The base sticker for this model is set at $88,000, while a full inventory of options can elevate the final tally to $122,675, including destination but not including any Exclusive package upgrades.  The extra costs incurred included the GTS Red paint, Black leather with Alcantara inserts, Bi-Xenon headlights with washers, Porsche Communications Management with Navigation Module, heated front seats, Light Comfort Package with memory XM Satellite Radio, audio interface, floor mats, trailer hitch (without hitch ball), moonroof, ski bag, Bose surround sound, Bluetooth Phone interface, etc. 

The 2010 model year also brings a few model enhancements as for the first time Cayenne customers may request trim stitching and leather in different colours, which previously had been exclusive to the sports car lines.  Through the "Porsche Exclusive" program, Cayenne customers can now get two new options: Bi-Xenon headlights finished in black and 21-inch Cayenne SportPlus wheels painted black.  The 21-inch SportPlus wheels are standard on the Cayenne Turbo S and Cayenne GTS Porsche Design Edition 3 (painted Lava Grey Metallic on this model), and the 21-inch Cayenne Sport wheels are standard on the 2010 Cayenne GTS. 
Porsche's Communication Management system (PCM) now uses a touchscreen rather than a separate keyboard, and the optional navigation is now based on a 40-gigabyte hard drive.  In addition, PCM offers optional Bluetooth connectivity for handsfree cellphone use, and optional wired connectivity for external music and audio sources such as MP3 players, iPods and USB memory sticks. 

This latest entry into the Cayenne clan is first and foremost, a Porsche.  And a Porsche is a Porsche, in SUV configuration or not.  I have to admit, that being a Porsche purist at heart (a '57 Speedster is part of my garage lineup), I strongly questioned the validity or necessity of creating an SUV to become a part of the Porsche family.  I've since softened on the issue and realize the importance of the Cayenne offerings -- they've actually stabilized the future of the marque by pumping revenue into the coffers, allowing Porsche the assurance of being able to continue doing what they do best -- building superlative sports cars.  Their Cayenne SUVs fill a particular niche, or perhaps I should say niches due to the varied levels of performance and capability available throughout the lineup. 

The GTS continues as a valued and worthy member of the Cayenne stable.  It accelerates with gusto, as one would expect from any Porsche (SUV or otherwise), it stops quickly, sticks to the road like glue and it provides comfortable, safe transportation that is exhilarating to pilot on or off road, or on a track.  It is not inexpensive when fully loaded -- however, by carefully selecting options, one may bring it into a more affordable range of Luxury Sport Utility Vehicles, with the emphasis placed upon Sport.  The only negative issue that I noted was having a foot-operated parking brake in a manual transmission vehicle, making starting on an incline interesting, but not in a good way.  A hand-operated system is much preferred. 
The GTS incorporates a host of standard amenities and features (far too numerous to list here) that would make for a perfectly desirable SUV in the luxury sport category.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: SUV, Porsche, 2010, Cayenne GTS, $75,000 - $99,999,

Organizations: Porsche

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