The sound you hear emanating as you read this sentence is not that of Porsche’s 4.8-liter V-8, which is bolted into this 2013 Cayenne. Too bad, too, because it sounds fantastic.
No, we’re talking about that high, reedy noise. That, friends, is the sound of Porsche’s patented and highly precise hair-splitter at work. No other company has been able to create such a broad collection of highly specific models with such a relatively small pool of parts.
The Cayenne GTS is the hair-splitter’s latest achievement. It’s a Cayenne powered by the same 4.8-liter V-8 as seen in the *Cayenne S but tuned for an additional 20 horsepower and 11 pound-feet of torque to make 420/380. It wears a body similar in style to the Cayenne Turbo, meaning a domed hood, blacked-out trim, and body-color fender extensions and side skirts. And it’s loaded with standard performance gear that is optional on lesser Cayennes.
This makes the GTS the purest per*form*ance expression of the naturally aspirated Cayennes. The highest performance Cayenne overall would be the Turbo . . . oh wait, strike that. Porsche just introduced the Turbo S for the second-gen Cayenne.
The model proliferation can be bewildering. Add to this Porsche’s legendarily bountiful (and profitable) options scheme and you’ve got yourself one expensive mess of peppers. But hey, if a guy wants to reward himself for a life of hard work and/or successful independent pharmaceutical sales, then far be it from us to mock his ermine glove-box liner. Of course, a prospective buyer is not required to order the $1640 natural-olive-finish grab handles. But Porsche’s got ’em if you need ’em.
A Cayenne GTS starts at $83,025, but you might see how our tester stickered for $137,195. Perhaps you’d show more restraint in ordering. You might want the Carmine Red paint ($3140) and the black 21-inch wheels ($2605) as seen on our *tester though, because people go ape-**** for that stuff.
So it looks the part. But despite its horsepower bump and shorter final-drive ratio, the GTS wasn’t any quicker to 60 mph than the last Cayenne S we tested. Both accomplished the feat in 5.5 seconds. And the GTS was only quicker than the S through the quarter-mile by a couple of tenths of a *second (13.9 seconds versus 14.1). The GTS is not helped by the additional 167 pounds it weighs over its lesser brother.
With its optional Michelin Latitude Sport tires (295/35R-21 front and rear) and carbon-ceramic brakes ($8840), the GTS stomps all comers in terms of roadholding and braking performance. At 0.95 g on the skidpad and posting a 151-foot stop from 70 mph, the GTS bests not only the Cayenne S (0.85 g, 170 feet), but also the BMW X5 M, Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, and the company’s own Cayenne Turbo. That’s pretty neat.
And our test car’s optional dynamic anti-roll bars ($3510) lend the GTS otherworldly resistance to body roll. This is one SUV that feels alive and fully in control.
We don’t know how many people want the world’s best-handling ute, one that is not any faster than a version that’s about $16,000 less expensive but looks like the turbo version that costs almost $27,000 more. But we might be one of them. View Photo Gallery
2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS Test – Review – Car and Driver