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The new Cayenne GTS, which Porsche designers say is the most “emotional” car ever to come from the German automaker, is set to arrive in Doha next month.

Porsche’s engineers say that the emotional label is particularly apt, as the raw growling note from the V8 engine, hurling over 2000 kg around sharp bends at incredible speeds is enough to make even the most stoic German engineer teary eyed. Having shed 160kg from its predecessor and with more power, improvements to the transmission and a better “breathing” engine, there may indeed be something to get emotional about.

Speaking to a gathering of international journalists, Markus Schieritz, Project Manager of the Porsche Cayenne chassis, said that the “principle underlying the increased power output is the idea of breathing more freely. Optimised valve control means that even more air is able to flow faster and freely into the combustion chambers, but what sets the eight cylinder engine of the GTS apart is not the sheer power in itself but it’s the way in which it’s delivered. It responds more directly to the throttle thanks to even faster torque buildup. In sport mode the Cayenne GTS acknowledges this with an engine sound compared to a race engine. When the foot is taken off the accelerator the eight-cylinder engine responds with a low frequency rumble.”

Porsche provided Gulf Times with an opportunity to test drive the new GTS through the Austrian Alps to see what emotions the car evoked. While breathtaking mountain roads are long way from the desertscape of Qatar, they are ideal for demonstrating the incredible handling, comfort and power of the SUV. As we watched a Toyota Yaris struggle with the step assents, the GTS literally roared past with ease, strangely making it an ideal choice for driving on narrow mountain roads. The winding drive through forests and quaint Alpine villages demonstrated the obvious advantages of having a standard and comfort setting, allowing us to enjoy the view as well as the car. However, this being a GTS, the real test came on the track.

Schieritz assured us that enhanced driving was the main focus in the new model, while the 5.8 litre V-8 engine is the most powerful in the Cayenne model line. Compared to the last GTS, power output has been increased by 20 hp to 420 hp with 50 more Newton-metres of torque, and crankshafts delivering a maximum power of 550 N-m at 3500 RPM.

Even though Porsche “trained” the car on the Nürburgring, their team brought us to a road-test track to show us the car’s ability to take sharp turns and roundabouts at normally illegal speeds. As expected, the car did not fail to be fast, although road limitations prevented us from reaching the top speed of 260 km/h. Nevertheless, in a car that can do 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds, .8 seconds faster than the previous model, one can reach a high speed in a short amount of time, requiring rather impressive brakes.

And the brakes were the one major area of complaint. On such a heavy and powerful car that is designed for sportiness, one expects the brakes to be incredibly responsive. Obviously, the brakes work as this reporter is still alive, but one could not help but feel that they were a little soft for a GTS, which is geared towards high performance. The brakes do well to reduce the high speed of a two-tonne car, but they felt as if the car was more at home driving on a highway or city road rather than on a track. With a top speed of 260km/h, a less spongy feel provides reassurance that the brakes are indeed working rather than having to keep putting the foot down and hoping for the best.

However, the other complaints from the test drive are relatively minor. During our trip through the Alps, the gentle but insistent voice of the GPS navigation sent is us in the wrong direction, and for at least 20 minutes was adamant that we do several u-turns while driving through a large blank grey section on the map.

Driving through the mountains, the radio struggled to find a signal, but was at least polite enough to simply turn off instead of intruding with harsh static. However, one could never tell when it was going to come back on. It remained silent for a while after we left the mountains, and mysteriously came back on during the third lap around the test track.

In all, the new GTS does seem to provide a comfortable ride with a sporty option. Steel spring suspension comes as standard, making it 24mm lower than the Cayenne S. There is also optional air suspension allowing five different height levels which are tailored to the performance of the Cayenne GTS, making the car 20 mm lower than the Cayenne S. The car reassuringly lowers automatically at higher speeds ensuring safety and performance regardless of whether the driver switched to sport mode.

The eight-speed tiptronic transmission also comes as standard, with “better acceleration and shorter and sportier gear changing process in automatic with improved performance and decreased fuel consumption.”

Comfortable bucket seats hold you firmly in position in the lusciously furbished interior. The red brake calipers and black trim are also a nice touch. While Porsche have chosen some colour options especially for the GTS’ exterior, the best news is that it comes in black.

Expected to arrive in Qatar this August, the basic retail price starts at QR334,400.

Gulf Times ? Qatar?s top-selling English daily newspaper - Qatar
 
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