Driven | Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupé

Porsche revealed the new Cayenne GTS derivatives in June this year which saw the return of the V8 as well as the first-ever Cayenne GTS Coupé variant and we could not wait to get behind the wheel of the most driver-focused Cayenne offering in the lineup.

If you have been exposed to a Porsche GTS model before, you will know that they tend to be a little bit special. They are not as rapid as Turbo editions but they sit in a space just below them offering substantially more involvement to excite keen drivers more so than flat out speed freaks.

Under the hood, you will find a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 delivering 453 hp (338 kW) and 620 Nm of torque which is good for a sprint to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds with the Sport Chrono package. It’s worth noting that the Coupé comes standard with the Sport Chrono package but either way your SUV will reach a top speed of 270 km/h.

Both GTS models get a sport exhaust featuring a pair of circular outlets at each corner and a diffuser running between them. However, GTS Coupe buyers have the option of the Lightweight Sport Package that includes a pair of larger, oval-shaped pipes exiting from the center, which is even louder.

Inside you are greeted, as we have to expect from Porsche, a beautifully finished, logically laid-out cabin. Bespoke sports seats and Alcantara trim on the headliner, doors and armrests and a splash of GTS logos just to remind you what you are driving.

So what is it like to drive then? As you get behind the wheel you notice just how firm the chassis and suspension setup is and that is expected as you are behind the wheel of a car that has been designed for body control, but there is a softer edge to the ride that goes a long way to soothing the worst road imperfections. Factor in nicely weighted steering and a smooth-shifting, intelligent eight-speed automatic gearbox and you have a fine long-distance cruiser.

Pop it into Sport or Sport Plus mode and it becomes a completely different animal. The body gets tighter, the throttle response sharpens, the gears shift more rapidly and for a car this size it is rather happy being thrown from side to side through sweeping corners. This was actually one of the most impressive aspects considering it weighs 2,2 tons but just as impressive was how it gathers its speed.

Those sports exhausts are there for a reason so we barely used Normal mode and when you are giving it the beans in Sport you really hear a crisp V8 anger from the back with lots of crackles and pops on the overrun.

Getting out the car at the halfway stop we were struggling to think of other SUV’s this size that offers this level of involvement and enjoyment and couldn’t wait to hop back in for some more fast sweeping Western Cape roads.

Yes, the ride is pretty stiff but get past that and this Cayenne GTS Coupé blends style, luxury, outstanding build quality, pace and pure driving pleasure like no other. Thank you Porsche for bringing back the V8 to back up all that goodness with some spine-tingling emotion.

With a price starting from R1,839,000 in South Africa, it would be very hard to part with around R700k extra dough to get the beastly Turbo Coupé but be careful with the options list as that price can climb faster than it can accelerate.

It has multiple characters which you only find in the best performance SUVs, being able to perform as a comfortable cruiser and, with the flick of a switch, an entertainer and because of that, this is the Cayenne we would add to our garage.

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