2012 Porsche Cayenne GTS review
* Porsche Cayenne GTS driven * On sale July * Priced from 67,147...
The new Porsche Cayenne GTS is Porsche's attempt at making the world's best-handling SUV. The GTS sits on lower and stiffer suspension than other Cayennes, and also benefits from a wider track.
To mark it out visually, it has a more aggressive-looking front end, wider wheelarches and beefier sideskirts.
The Cayenne GTS has a 414bhp 4.8-litre V8 petrol engine. At 67,147 there's a 10,359 premium over the Cayenne S model, which has a 394bhp version of the same V8.
What's the 2012 Porsche Cayenne GTS like to drive?
Making a high-sided SUV handle like a sports car might seem like mission impossible, but Porsche has done a remarkably good job.
The GTS changes direction with such agility and poise that you'd never guess you were driving something that weighs more than two tonnes. No other SUV would see which way it went on a twisty road.
Porsche Cayenne GTS is surprisingly agile on twisty roads
However, it's important to mention that our test car was fitted with quite a few optional extras, including Dynamic Chassis Control (2185), Torque Vectoring Plus (1012) and air suspension (1327), which no doubt helped its cause.
The air suspension could also explain why the ride was so supple, despite the lowered ride height and optional 21-inch alloy wheels.
In a straight line, the GTS doesn't boast quite the devastating pace of the range-topping Turbo model, but its V8 engine is still capable of hurling the Cayenne to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds as quick as a Boxster.
Better still, the GTS sounds fantastic. Press the 'Sport' button on the centre console and the engine's induction roar is channelled through the A-pillars, filling the cabin with a V8 bellow.
The sports exhaust adds to the drama by popping and hissing whenever you back off the throttle or change down a gear.
Only the eight-speed automatic gearbox lets the side down; it's far too eager to change into a low gear when you just want to relax and use the engine's considerable low-down pull to get you up to speed.
What's the 2012 Porsche Cayenne GTS like inside?
The GTS comes with a reasonable amount of standard equipment, including leather upholstery and front and rear parking sensors. However, you might be surprised that sat-nav, heated seats, privacy glass and even Bluetooth cost extra.
In other respects, the interior is much the same as any other Cayenne's. That means it's easy to make yourself comfortable, while the lofty driving position gives a great view of the road ahead.
The cabin is impossible to fault for quality, too, but the centre console is covered with similar-looking buttons, so it can be difficult to find the one you want at a glance.
The Cayenne is by far the most practical car that Porsche makes, but unlike some rivals such as the BMW X5 there isn't a seven-seat option. Still, the Porsche has a bigger boot than the BMW.
Should I buy one?
If you want the most agile SUV on the road, then yes. It's impossible not to marvel at how Porsche has made something so tall and heavy handle so sweetly, especially without giving it a bone-shakingly firm ride.
However, as capable as the GTS is for a two-tonne 4x4, you won't be embarrassing any 911s. With that in mind, we can't help thinking you'd be better off choosing between an SUV and a proper performance car.
Or better still, have both. For the same price as our test car (fitted with options Porsche expects many GTS buyers to add), you could buy a diesel Cayenne and a Boxster. A better way to spend 80k? Absolutely.
What Car? says...