2013 Porsche Cayenne GTSPosted on January 28th, 2013
High-performance SUV for driving enthusiasts
By Nina Russin
I have a hard time thinking of the Porsche Cayenne GTS as a sport-utility vehicle: a term that typically favors function over performance. The Cayenne GTS is a sports car, with a 420 horsepower V-8 engine that accelerates from zero-to-sixty is 5.4 seconds. Unlike other sports cars, the Cayenne has a pretty big cargo bay and room for five passengers, attributes that make it as functional as it is beautiful.
Because of its versatility, the Cayenne GTS could be the dream car for buyers with active lifestyles. Standard all-wheel drive gives it all-terrain capability, while the two-box architecture offers the cargo capability cyclists need.
The car’s only downside is its $82,050 MSRP, which prevents drivers who might give an eyetooth to own one from getting behind the wheel.
The test car is equipped with numerous options, including special exterior paint and interior trim, a sport chronometer on the dash, XM radio, trailer hitch, heated front and rear seats, a rearview camera, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control, premium audio system, LED interior lighting, 21-inch wheels, door sill guards and an aluminum gearshift lever. Adding in the $975 destination charge, final MSRP is $123,265.
Test drive in Arizona
This week, I drove the Cayenne GTS between Phoenix and the mountain town of Oracle, Arizona, located north of Tucson. The route included a large section of high-speed freeway as well as some surface roads north of Tucson. Elevation gain between Phoenix and Oracle is 2300 feet.
To call the GTS’ performance exhilarating is no exaggeration. As with other models in the Porsche line-up, the Cayenne GTS offers driving enthusiasts far more than engine power. It is the Swiss watch-like precision that pervades every aspect of the rolling chassis that makes the car so special.
The direct injection aluminum V-8 engine provides exceptional throttle response, with 381 foot-pounds of peak torque available from 3500 rpm. The aluminum block minimizes weight gain in the front of the vehicle, for excellent front-to-rear weight balance.
The 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission enhances fuel economy during cruising with large overdrive gears, while offering exceptional low-end acceleration. Standard all-wheel drive not only enhances performance on wet roads, but also during aggressive driving by automatically sending engine power to the wheel(s) with the best traction.
Steering response is excellent at all speeds, with exceptional on-center response on the highway. Drivers will have no problems performing quick lane changes or emergency evasive maneuvers. Because of the car’s long wheelbase and large rims, the turning circle is 39 feet, which somewhat limits drivers’ abilities to perform U-turns.
Settings on the center console enable the driver to adjust the suspension for a more compliant or sportier ride. A ‘normal’ setting provides a nice compromise between the two. The double wishbone setup in front is both light and compact, while a multi-link rear design keeps second-row passengers comfortable.
Visibility around the perimeter is good. Side mirrors do a good job of compensating for blind spots created by the car’s D pillars. The rearview camera projects a wide-angle view to the back when the driver shifts into reverse, allowing him to see objects below the rear glass and to the sides.
Porsches are known for their exceptional brake performance. The Cayenne GTS follows suit, with six-piston rotors in front and four in the rear. Despite its 4597-pound curb weight, the car will stop on a dime. The large brakes also give the driver additional control when towing a trailer. The Cayenne’s 7716-pound towing capacity is twice the ALV 3500-pound standard.
Keyless entry and start enables the driver to enter the car and fire the ignition without removing the key fob from his pocket. Inside, the Cayenne GTS holds up to five adults with the rear seats in place. While I expect the front seats of a SUV to be comfortable, I was surprised by how nice second-row seats are as well. Even the center passenger gets quite a bit of leg and headroom.
Alcantara seating surfaces hold all passengers in place on winding roads, and don’t get as hot as traditional leather in the summer. The sport steering wheel has a similar surface to give the driver maximum grip. Seat heaters keep both rows of passengers comfortable in cold weather.
The optional panorama sunroof extends over both rows of seating, to bring an abundance of ambient light inside the car.
Designers were mindful of the needs of buyers with active lifestyles, providing bottle holders in all four doors, with an abundance of 12-volt power outlets for recharging electronic devices. A locking glovebox provides secure storage inside the car.
I do take issue with Porsche for not including features such as satellite radio and the rearview camera as standard equipment on such an expensive car. The Cayenne’s high MSRP should not exclude a focus on value.
The rear cargo organizer allows the owner to divide the bay into smaller sections to keep items from sliding around. The Cayenne GTS easily meets our bicycle-friendly standards.
The Porsche Cayenne GTS comes with front, side, side curtain and knee airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control and tire pressure monitoring.
The 2013 Cayenne GTS is on display at Porsche dealerships nationwide.
Like: A sport-utility vehicle with the performance of a sports car. The Cayenne GTS could be the dream car for buyers with active lifestyles.
Dislike: Options on the test car add almost 50 percent to the final MSRP, including features such as satellite radio and a rearview camera that this writer believes should be included as standard equipment.
Model: Cayenne GTS
Base price: $82,050
As tested: $123,265
Horsepower: 420 Hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 381 lbs.-ft. @ 3500 rpm
Zero-to-sixty: 5.4 seconds
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 15/21 mpg city/highway2013, Luxury 2013, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, performance, Porsche, pricing, standard safety
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