In the world of luxury performance SUVs, Porsche has got something for everyone with the Cayenne. You can start with the $49,000 base Cayenne, to a diesel variation, to the 380-horse hybrid version, all the way to the Turbo S with a base price of $146,000. This week’s evaluation vehicle is the 2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS, which falls in line 3rd from the top in horsepower and cost.
This SUV has an outstanding physical appearance, with a beautiful silver paint job, and 21” wheels. The front end and hood are classic Porsche all the way, and the rear spoiler not only serves the function of reducing drag, it looks cool too. From behind, GTS exclusive matte black exhaust tips add a different look from other Cayenne models, even the more expensive ones.
Under the hood, there is a 420-horse 4.8-liter V8 that is naturally aspirated with no turbochargers. It comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and together this combo will give you a top speed of 162 miles per hour, and it hits 120 in short order. All Cayenne models are all-wheel drive, which adds to the performance car feel of this SUV.
The Cayenne has a very spacious interior, both for front seat occupants as well as rear seat passengers. There are special GTS seats with memory; Alcantara trims the seat inserts, console, and door panels; and a standard Alcantara headliner, which is beautiful. The seats help hold you in place when you are testing the GTS in tight corners. The steering wheel is awesome, and has shift paddles on them to better control the GTS during heavy acceleration.
At first glance, the sheer number of buttons on the center stack is overwhelming, but in short order, you realize everything is intelligently laid out and easy to operate. The dash is attractive and even though the interior is a dark color, the stitching is lime green. That probably would not work for me, except the seatbelts are lime green as well…yes lime or maybe neon green. Somehow it works and somehow it actually looks good.
As expected, the Cayenne GTS comes completely loaded, yet my tester has over $40,000 worth of options including adaptive cruise control, a Burmester upgraded stereo system, navigation system, heated front seats, and much more. Standard equipment includes power moonroof, Bluetooth connectivity, all power equipment, and power liftgate. Turn on a switch, or go to Sport mode, and a symphony of exhaust sound fills the cabin and causes an immediate adrenalin rush.
The SportChrono system comes standard, representing the first time the stopwatch and lap timer feature has been offered on the Cayenne. Also standard on the GTS is Porsche Active Suspension Management, which automatically varies the firmness of each shock absorber to balance ride quality and handling, and it works like a charm.
This beast is rated to tow 7700 pounds and has a curb weight of a hefty 4600 pounds, but if feels and handles lighter. The Cayenne GTS is a ton of fun to drive. It is not a 911, but that’s OK, it’s not supposed to be and it has a lot more room. Cargo area is really good and it has a sliding cargo management system that is as slick as any I have seen.
Now, for the problems: let’s start with the price. For $123,000 I expect it to have a power tilt wheel, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure protection. It has none of those.
Next problem, just a few days ago, I took delivery of a new 2013 Range Rover HSE Supercharged. It has 510-horsepower, it is larger, it has a nicer interior, and it has all the items missing from the Cayenne. It is also $8000 less expensive. That does not bode well for the Cayenne GTS.
What I liked most: Interior sound and handling.
What I would change: Add the missing items I noted above.
Fuel Economy: 15 City/21 Highway. 17 Combined
2013 Porsche Cayenne GTS in a few words: Tons of fun to drive, but too pricey.
Car Pro Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.