Trying to work as a 4×4 and a sports car might be a step too far
Engine: 4.8 litres, eight cylinders, normally aspirated
Power: 420bhp @6500rpm
Torque: 380lb ft @3500rpm
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Top Speed: 162mhp
Could be wrong, but I think the first time Porsche used the ‘GTS’ term was for the 1964 Carrera GTS, better known to you and me as the 904. Quite what parallels can be drawn between that 700kg, mid-engined, rear-drive and heart-breakingly beautiful racing car and this two-tonne, front-engined, all-wheel-drive pugnacious SUV are hard to see. They don’t even have a badge in common because, so far as I know, 904s were delivered without the shield of Stuttgart, presumably in a typically Porsche attempt to save another few nanograms of weight.
But a GTS it is and that makes it if not the quickest Cayenne, then certainly the most sporting. It is also the only off-roader I can think of that comes with a suede-rimmed steering wheel.
It offers a bizarre driving experience. On the one hand you can feel the Alcantara wheel and a seat that hugs you like a race bucket, yet the fact that you’re sitting an entire storey higher than usual is unavoidable. Fire up the 420bhp, 4.8-litre V8 and the whole car rocks in approval. Point it at some corners and it’ll grip harder than any SUV in history.
The only question it struggles to answer is what’s the point? The stiff ride means it’s compromised as a family hold-all and if you drive it the way it begs to be driven, it’ll do 12mpg. And for all the novelty value of an SUV sounding like a NASCAR and
generating 1g of lateral acceleration, it’s too high, heavy and compromised to be any kind of sensible sporting car.
It’s the type of car for which the phrase ‘novelty value’ could have been invented. At first it’s hilarious in the way of any car that can do things its type is not supposed to be able to do. But after a couple of hundred miles I found myself thinking how much better a simple Cayenne diesel would be at absolutely everything I require of that kind of car. And it would leave a little more than £20,000 spare to spend on a real sports car and not a pantomime dame like this one.