By on May 2, 2008

gts_action_2.jpgSam Adams Light. Porsche Cayenne GTS. Same deal. Both the American light beer and the German "sport truck" are fundamentally flawed concepts– made palatable by knowledge, passion and invention. Did I say palatable? I meant enjoyable. You can quaff copious quantities of Sam Adams' 124-calorie-per-bottle beverage without thirsting for "real" beer. By the same token, you can drive the snot out of the 405hp GTS without asking your companion "Dude, where's my Boxster?" In both cases, if you didn't know better, you wouldn't, and you wouldn't care. But if you do, will you?

To placate the purists, the Sultans of Stuttgart have made the GTS a mucho macho machine. Wheel arches that once sheltered Bambi's friends are now stuffed with 21" tires. The GTS shares its nose with the range-topping Turbo– continuing to prove that you can't make a silk purse out of sow's snout. Yes, well, the GTS' no-cost optional rear spoiler is pure Porsche: stylish, slick and sick. The quad pipes, not so much.

gts-interior.jpgInside, there's nothing to remind GTS drivers that they're the something wicked that this way cometh. A meaty steering wheel pretty much completes the list. I was expecting Porsche to go the whole hog (so to speak) and fit some honest-to-Gott racing seats. Perhaps that's where the keepers of the flame drew the line; the chairs offer nothing more than a little extra bolstering (front and back) and Alcantara inserts, just waiting for juice box dribbles and Diet Coke debacles. 

Kick-over the GTS' V8 and the next time you do so you'll be channeling the WWE's announcer. Initially, it's not so much a rumble as a whole lot of noise– which had me wondering if the GTS was firing on all cylinders. And then the vario-cam plus powerplant settled into the "outer space is really big" sub-woofer special effect, ready for a couple of infantile brap, braps on the go-pedal.

gts_engine.jpgObviously enough, the Cayenne GTS is quick. Should you wish to blast the beast from zero to sixty miles per hour (hey, you're paying for it), the German SUV will oblige your accelerative aspirations in 5.7 (manual) or 6.1 (auto) seconds. That's either a half second faster than the Cayenne S or, according to Car and Driver, not. Anyway, talk about motor authority; in full kick-down, the GTS' mill issues an entirely purposely growl, winding out to the redline with unrelenting determination. Followed by a tiny upshift beep. Oh, please.

Journalists have seized on the fact that the GTS comes with a stick (as does the base V6). Our GTS didn't; the Porsche guy says his store sells fewer manuals than an iPod dealer. Although reports indicate that the Porsche's six-speed self-shifter is a sloppy cog swapper, I was left lusting for an oar to row. Yes, once again, the Cayenne's gearing sucks.

gts-interior-2.jpgDespite [new] direct injection technology, the GTS remains insensitive to anything but major inputs. It might be OK for a Saturn slushbox to rethink on the fly, but when you're shelling out $70k (and the rest), you don't want a vehicle that shifts down a gear, then shifts down again. You can use the Porsche truck's Tiptronic buttons to manage the problem, but the GTS is supposed to be a luxury sport SUV. [Note to self: did I just say that?]

The problem is, still, weight. The GTS tips the scales at a kaffe und kuchen-loving 4949 lbs. With Porsche unable or unwilling to ditch the SUV's phenomenal off-road capability, the boffins had no choice but to gear the GTS for mileage. While Car and Driver hails the Porker's "400 mile fuel range," the EPA reckons the GTS (auto) gets 13/18 mpg. Yeah right. Mix gas and air like you just don't care and you're looking at single digits. To achieve S-Class throttle response, well, how low can you go?

gts_action_4.jpgAt least the brute handles impeccably, in a "747 doing a barrel roll" kinda way (true story). As long as you keep the GTS' handling Nannies on duty, you'll only run out of grip if you're stupid enough not to change over to winter tires (special order, big ticket). And although my lack of "ass calibration" (Porsche guy's term) prevented me from discerning any difference in any of the GTS' three suspension modes, no matter. The ride quality on those jumbo donuts is fully commuter compatible.  

I also appreciate the fact the GTS' elevated seating position allows you do things on the highway that no low-slung sports car could/should do. But I'm still left wondering if the forthcoming four-door Porsche Panamera wasn't the family car Porsche should have built in the first place.

gts_action_3.jpgAnd I still prefer the Infinit FX45 for high-end SUV fast-driving fun. [Note to self: read previous note to self.] But the Porsche Cayenne GTS is easily the best fully off-road capable sport truck money can buy– including the less dramatically styled, lag-afflicted Cayenne Turbo. Put another way, the Porsche Cayenne GTS is the world's most-fire-resistant-paper-hat-on-wheels. Now that's saying something; although I'm not exactly sure what.

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46 Comments on “2008 Porsche Cayenne GTS Review...”


  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    These trucks are all over the place around here, the V8 humming happily while stopped in rush hour traffic, going just as fast as me in my 12 year old VW Golf. How sad. To spend all that money on such a fast car, then go nowhere.

    But then, I’m not sure that these are really cars, they seem to be wheeled thrones, much like the popemobile, to let passers by know how important you are.

    I’m not bitter, tho.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Wow, interesting. The review seems more like a 2 r * review, not a 4 * one, ….nnless * inflation is matching the dollar.

    jerseydevil> Even worse is to spend all that money on a crappy automatic. That has to be a sin in itself!

  • avatar

    Nice one, RF. I’d like to think my ass is pretty well calibrated. But I’ve also encountered trick shocks where I could not tell the difference between the modes.

    The Cayenne is perhaps the vehicle I’ve been told most often I should take for a test drive, but still have not. The people who own them seem to love them. But I’ve always had trouble seeing past:

    1. the idea of a Porsche SUV

    2. the styling of the actual execution

    With the GTS six-speed, though, I’m tempted. But then if I did drop by a dealer wanting to test drive one, it sounds like they’re unlikely to have it.

    If a bunch of you happen to have these, and want to help provide some better reliability info on the beast, head here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Jeremy Clarkson had the last word on this flying turd. “This really is a car that drowned in Lake Ugly.”

  • avatar
    AKM

    Aaah yes. But if you think that regular Sam adams packs 160 calories (http://www.beer100.com/beercalories.htm), that’s a difference of 29%. And even though Sam Adams Light is the only light beer that doesn’t make me feel like drinking donkey urine instead, it’s still not quite a good as regular. Will I take an extra 29% caloric hit? Why, yes sure, considering that I won’t drink more than 4-5 anyway.

    Same with cars. No matter how well executed it is, it remains a stupid concept. I recognize the engineering talent, and the marketing talent in selling a vehicle like this (which, in its automatic iteration mostly goes to people who drive with a cellphone stuck to the ear), but I refuse to give any love to this ungainly behemoth, who never goes off-road nor carries more than 3 persons…which is admittedly more than a Cayman can carry.

    May I also point out that the best sport truck remains the jeep wrangler? A vehicle with a single purpose, that doesn’t try to mix marathon with basketball with boxing…

  • avatar
    Juniper

    The rich and pampered children will Never EVER be late for a soccer game.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Hmmmm… I really wonder how one of these would compete with a Mercedes R500. They both seem to be oddball machinery and I still don’t understand the need of having one unless you’ve got 5+ in the nuclear family and ‘must’ have the name.

    Even then you could get a loaded Odyssey, a customized MX-5 for the personal drives, and enough money for a very nice Hawaiian cruise for the family. The cache and speed may not be there (as much). But the value quotient, fuel economy and arguably even the driving experience would be far better given your task at hand.

  • avatar
    turbosaab

    There are 152 Cayennes on eBay right now. 150 automatic, 2 manual. Wow.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    the German SUV will oblige your accelerative aspirations in 5.7 (manual) or 6.1 (auto) seconds.

    That’s at least 0.3 seconds slower than TTAC’s reported 0-60 time of a Forrester XT. Imagine a Porsche being beaten out of the stop lights by an equally ugly Subaru costing 1/3 as much.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    This is the only Porsche that I don’t like but the rest of the fleet is exceptional.

    I love the 911 and the 928. Porsche is the only German car manufacturer that I really adore and respect.

    Why? I don’t see them a lot on the road and if you see one you are hypnotized by it’s looks.

    BMW are very common. I am just tired of looking at them just like the Honda and Toyota.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Was für ein Düsentraktor!

    On the subject of Sam Adams Light. Low-alcohol and low-calorie beer gives me gas. One wonders whether the Porsche also induces flatulence.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Anyone else curious about the GTS going heads up with an X6?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    “BEAT: Why? I don’t see them a lot on the road and if you see one you are hypnotized by it’s looks.”

    Ergh…I won’t dispute the performance, but Porsche makes the ugliest cars by far compared to its German counterparts. Again, I won’t dispute its performance,track prowess, or racing pedigree.

    And here in the SF Bay Area, they’re a dime a dozen. Probably just as many Porsches as Bimmers.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Teekay there is no Why.

    You see a lot of them on the road in SF Bay?

    Now I should ask you Why you see them a lot on SF Bay if the Porsche don’t sell a lot of their cars in America.

    So you are saying majority of Porsche sold in the United States are sold in SF Bay. You must be seeing the same Car everyday. I live near the richest town in America Chestnuthill and Wellesley Massachusetts and I’ve seen only 4 of them for the past year with a different plate numbers on them FYI.

    Bimmers You can see them from SF Bay to Bean Town and the Ghettos of New York city.

    I counted 150 BMW since that TTAC review 2 weeks ago. Ugliest car excuse me. Just looking at the Porsche emblem will explain to you that the car is one of a kind

    I guess that car with a Olympic Emblem (Audi)is not so ugly.

    On 2011 the 928 is coming back (cross my finger)and I will buy it even though the car is higher than my salary.

  • avatar
    JJ

    Anyone else curious about the GTS going heads up with an X6?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

    Yes, but I’m more curious about how the X6 would do against the Cayenne Turbo.

    The Cayenne GTS is a strange concept…Even moreso if your still going to have the automatic gearbox and air suspension. By the way all US versions have air suspension, base European GTS models haven’t, but you’re not missing anything because apparently, without the air suspension yet still with the 21s, it’s just unbelievably crashy and harsh riding.

    If you’re going to have a Cayenne, have it for what it is and take the Cayenne S or Cayenne Turbo version. Or the Turbo S version if you’re a rapper. Or the Cayenne V6 if you’re only going to take the kids to soccer (they’ll still be on time) and do your grocery shopping with it.

    I like the exterior changes they made to the GTS, otherwise, not so much…

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Porsche + SUV + Automatic = What’s the point.

    Take away the auto, and at least it’s an entertaining thought. Wasn’t the purpose of buying a Porsche to experience driving?

    My old boss had a 911 in his younger, wilder days, and described it as automotive sex. I guess that would make the Cayenne harpooning a heavy honey with beer goggles on.

  • avatar

    I was talking to someone who owned a Cayenne and had swapped it for a Ferrari because the Ferrari was going to be cheaper to run!

  • avatar
    BEAT

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=porsche+versus+bmw&search_type=

    Pick your car and decide?

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Comparison:

    Just look at 1984 model of Porsche against the 1984 BMW model.

    what car will you buy?

  • avatar
    salhany

    This vehicle is the answer to a question that never should have been asked. A true abomination.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Where does this leave the VW Toureg? Is this Porsche truck still based on the same platform?

  • avatar
    BEAT

    SunnyvaleCA.

    I have been asking the same question they almost look the same and sound the same.

    They are I THINK the same platform.
    the two companies both design the Toureg.

    correct me if I am wrong.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Re: Lots of Porsches in SF Bay Area

    I’ll stand with BEAT on this one. I live in SF Bay Area as well, and yes, you do see a fair number of Boxters, but certainly nowhere near that the number of 911, and both are dwarfed by the crowd of Bimmers everywhere. In fact, Bimmers (some in pretty lousy shape) must be almost as popular in some parts of Bay Area as Honda Civic, and just as distinctive. Seriously, Civic-beat_up_Bimmer seems to be pretty much the same market and attract the same sinfully ugly aftermarket mods.

  • avatar
    losgatosCa

    I, for one, would be interested in a comparison test between the GTS and the X6. Jonny? I owned a Cayenne S in ’04. A wonderful vehicle for my needs at the time. I loved beating the snot out of the weekend corner carvers in the Ca hills and seeing their expressions. Anytime TTAC doesn a SUV review, I count the posts until the ‘cell phone, pampered rich, soccer mom etc’ posts start. Sometimes people make a choice based on needs(or wants)and this doesn’t make them planet killers. Yes?

  • avatar

    The Cayenne GTS seems like an engine in desperate need of a car.

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    BEAT –

    Your second post is confusing. Maybe we’re talking past each other.

    The 1st paragraph on my initial post quoted YOUR own words, not mine. The next two paragraphs responded to those words.

    My point: Porsches are quite ugly, albeit good performance vehicles. You mentioned that you don’t see a lot of them on the roads, so I refer you to my neck of the woods, where there seems to be plenty. I work downtown, and on the floor of the garage where I park alone, there are roughly 6 Boxsters, 10 911 convertibles, and about 5 911 hardtops on any given day. (The majority are autos though. Yup, lots of lawyers and financial analysts.)

    In fact, as I finished my last sentence and looked out the window, two 911 covertibles just passed by!

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Teekay

    You have your own taste of cars.

    Please check the 1984 Porsche and 1984 Bimmer models and tell me which one is ugly?

    And also check the classic Porsche from the 1960’s.

    Trivia Question:
    If you are Mazda lover which Mazda car almost look like a Porsche 944?

  • avatar
    TeeKay

    To me, except for the muscle cars, the majority of classic cars look better than their modern counterparts, Porsches and Bimmers included.

    I’m not sure I love all Mazdas, but I like the Miata, FD RX7, and current Mazdaspeed3.

    As for your trivia, probably the 80s FC RX-7 looks the most like the 80s 944.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Smart Man…

    Welcome to the world of Street trivia questions
    More to Come and be prepared.

    1985 RX-7 (street name Rex) almost the same with 944.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    losgatosCa:

    Hey man — I’ll defend the Cayenne Turbo to the death. Cause not only can it do what it does on road, but it’s just as capable off. More so, actually.

    Ugly? Completely. Planet killer? More like part of the disease.

    Back to this guy and the X6… in 20 years, how will people look at them? I’m thinking they’ll both hold up quite well.

    Unlike, say…. a Navigator.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Somehow, I believe if i actually had the money I would end up purchasing a Cayenne before any of those even silly “super sedans” on the market today.

    The Cayenne can be considered the Swiss Army knife of high-end vehicles. It does do so many things well! It is AWD and VERY off-road capable. It can be fitted with a tow hitch and pull a considerable load. It is a 5 door wagon design so it does hold some large odd shaped objects, plus the rearseats do fold down. In addtion to its utility traits it is also a good performance vehicle, it handles well and when equiped with a v8 is pretty fast.
    In all honest my first choice in a high-end German car would be a 535xi Touring but considering just how beat up the roads are around here I bet the Cayenne would feel a bit more study.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Americans *DESERVE* to pay $4/gal. for gas.

  • avatar
    86er

    Truck?

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    I take my driver’s license test in 45 minutes! I’m nervous, but reading this review is very calming. Anyways, wasn’t the point of this vehicle the high seating position? Why would you lower the ride height, then charge more money? Strange to me!

  • avatar
    rpenna

    I think the Cayenne is sharp looking. A friend of mine has an S. It’s comfy and fast, and probably the most satisfying drive I’ve had out of a large SUV, and I hate large SUVs. I’d do a cross country trip in this thing in a heartbeat.

    It’s 2008 guys. Porsche has SUVs now. Subarus are no longer only rally cars. Corvettes sell more automatics than manuals. Wranglers now have 4 doors. Let’s try to get over it.

  • avatar
    tms1999

    Americans *DESERVE* to pay $4/gal. for gas.

    We do indeed.

    For the first time in a long time, demand for oil is lower than the year before. Consistent high gas prices is the only way to curb overconsumption. Europeans have known, and applied, this principle forever.

    In the US, we just “let the market take care of it”.

    Take that, CAFE!

    More on topic, every time I see a Porsche Cayenne on the road, it’s driven by a 30 something fake blonde or a 40 something tanned salesguy looking guy. They are in the right lane doing 58 mph. And I pass them in my tiny tin car.

    File this “truck” in the “poser” category — along with a long list of other “my metal is better because I cost more” type cars.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    It is refreshing finally to see some reviews of jumbo SUV’s on TTAC. Not really.

  • avatar
    losgatosCa

    Jonny:

    Well, I tested a Turbo when I bought the Cayenne (gas not an issue) and after I got back my thought was…..WTF was THAT! I’m from Az., was married to an archeologist, lived in a Discovery and lusted after a Defender, so I know off-road. The Turbo was scary but the ‘S’ was just right – go anywhere, anytime. Real fast. I like your point about ‘part of the disease’. Rational analysis. The X6? Hell, in 20 years it will be a cult car and worth a fortune. Both of ‘em. People then will wonder WTF?

  • avatar
    Howler

    Hello ugly, Goodbye respect. What a turd! Unfortunately Porsche has always had a bit of negativity associated with it by the idiots who often buy their products. I can only imagine how bad it must be now. Porsche is just some lame luxo brand. Well at least the people at Lotus still have some backbone. No pun intended. =D
    I really hope the new Esprit sheds some light on how far Porsche has strayed. Why is it that every time I see or think about a porsche I feel nothing, when I see an Elise I can barely contain my enthusiasm? It’s the Cayenne, thats why.

    And one more thing. Porsche could you get over the 911 and build something that looks original! Your designs are boring me to death.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    Beautiful vehicle. I love the Cayenne, it’s my second favorite SUV behind the G-Class, and despite the new Cayenne Turbo S having been recently announced as the highest priced and most powerful Cayenne available, this is probably still my favorite iteration of the model due to it being just more of a driver focused machine, especially w/ that manual. So cool.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    Howler: rumors say the new Esprit will have a Toyota V6 and a sequential gearbox. Meh.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    If you have to drink a light beer, Sam Adams Light is indeed the most enjoyable – it actually tastes of beer.

    For one extra calorie per serving you could have a Guinness instead.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    This vehicle is basically Porsche’s answer to S-class. Posh, luxurious, expensive, and may be even somewhat more practical and drive better than its competitors.

  • avatar

    UPDATE: I just received a Porsche brochure (via Christophorus): "Porsche and the Environment." Turns out there's a reason a freshly fired-up GTS doesn't immediate settle into a burble (as if there wouldn't be): "Faster catalytic warm-up DFI [Direct Fuel Injection] can do even more than that, however. When starting the engine, for example, some combustion takes place in the catalytic converter to warm up faster. This lowers exhaust emissions while using less fuel and boosting performance." Editorial on Porsche's greenwashing next week.

  • avatar
    Captain Neek

    FUGLY. That’s all.

  • avatar
    grifonik

    Building this disgustingly pathetic piece of everyday drivability for upper middle class soccer moms has got to be tops of the “how to destroy your brand reputation in 3.6 seconds flat”. Are they taking queues from Detroit?

    Second worst Porche decision ever… making the second one of these vehicles.

    Third worst Porche decision ever… making the third… etc.. etc.

    #51,498 (and counting) on the list has got to be waging class warfare against the poor Cayman. One turbo short of purchase decision for almost everybody that looked at it.


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