An opportunity arose to drive the Porsche Cayenne GTS in North Yorkshire and I felt duty bound to drive this Swabian beauty for the benefit of my readers. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Like many family men, I have owned a few four wheel drive vehicles. The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) has become de rigueur for any self-respecting, middle-class, urban resident.
Those with green credentials may well grimace at the perceived “gas guzzlers”. Indeed, and the term “Chelsea tractor” has joined the modern day lexicon. However, there is a counter argument.
If you are a family man the SUV will accommodate your extended family in comfort. The load compartment is sufficiently commodious to house the proverbial kitchen sink and all the other paraphernalia that we need to port in the pursuit of pleasure. Indeed, it seems any father of two can expect to morph into a Pickford’s delivery driver every time they take the children to a friend’s house for “a sleep-over”.
Not only is the modern day SUV a brilliant tool for transporting your brood and chatels, it also has the ability to “go anywhere”. I have owned several rear wheel drive executive cars, but with just the slightest hint of snow on the ground, the rear of the car wags more frantically than the tail of an amorous labrador. There is wisdom in driving a four wheel drive SUV during the winter months when you reside in the fine county of Lancashire.
There are potential downsides to SUV ownership, the increased frontal surface area increases the all important Cd figure and by default, can result in more trips to the petrol station. The higher centre of gravity often means the car lacks the nimbleness of a super mini. Twists and turns are often executed with more care so as not to induce feelings of nausea in passengers or, worse stil,l roll over. However, the latest generation of SUVs have come a long way, mitigating the aforementioned disadvantages whilst enhancing the notable virtues their ownership confers.
A new generation of SUVs
The Porsche Cayenne is a wonderful example of how much progress has been made with this genre of vehicle. The styling of the first Cayenne model was not to my taste but the latest incarnation of this, state-of-the-art, SUV is stunningly gorgeous. Its sculpted form is beautiful to behold.
I cannot deny it was love at first sight.
I have driven the hugely impressive Cayenne diesel and was very taken by the civility of its ride comfort. Wind noise is minimal and the engine sublimely refined. Moreover, with a parsimonious thirst, averaging 39.2 mpg on a combined cycle, it is far removed from the SUVs of the 1980s.
Driving the Porsche Cayenne GTS in North Yorkshire
An opportunity arose to drive the Porsche Cayenne GTS in North Yorkshire and I felt duty bound to drive this Swabian beauty for the benefit of my readers. It is a tough job, opening the substantial door of a Porsche and sitting on a luxurious leather seat in a cocoon of cosseting luxury, but someone has to do it.
The GTS is powered by a 4.8 litre V8 engine which delivers 420 Bhp at 6,500 rpm. Whilst the diesel engined Cayenne is no slouch, this particular variant delivers eye-wateringly rapid acceleration. Assuming road conditions allow, the unladen car weighing 2085 Kg, will hurtle towards the horizon from 0-62 mph in 5.7 seconds. That is spellbindingly quick and usurped only by one other model in the range, the Cayenne Turbo. However, despite the awe-inspiring performance, the combined fuel consumption is still a respectable 26.4 mpg. This is not bad bearing in mind a few years ago, driving an SUV with less than 200 Bhp would gutsily consume diesel at a far more alarming rate.
The biggest revelation with the GTS is how it handles.
Approach a bend, apply the brakes, turn the wheel and whilst looking through the bend, aim for the apex and power out of the corner. This is typical track day technique, but what is remarkable is how the car responds. The steering attentively accepts the driver’s wishes and obligingly clings to the road with tenacious grip. It guides the car with matchless accuracy, belying its size and elevated driving position. At 169cm in height, the car should not behave like this, it seems to defy the laws of physics and handles with exceptional aplomb.
To complement the impressive power and handling is the prodigious stopping power courtesy of the sophisticated braking system. The GTS has 6-piston monobloc aluminium fixed callipers at the front, 4-piston monobloc aluminium brakes at the rear and of course ABS braking. The resultant ensemble of talents imparts driver confidence and confers a sense of safety which is difficult to argue with.
Porsche have not eschewed luxury with the GTS. Indeed, the creature comforts are ubiquitous. A high-end sound system, satellite navigation and numerous other driver aids make long journeys seem less of a chore and negate the impact of squabbling children on the parent’s tympanic membranes. Furthermore, the sonorous sound of the V8 Cayenne GTS would induce slumber in the most fractious baby.
I make no secret of my adoration for the Cayenne GTS. Would it be my Cayenne of choice? That is difficult to answer. There are several appealing models in the range that require further investigation. For example, the Cayenne S Hybrid offers impressive performance, equally impressive fuel consumption and a CO2 figure which should please every tree hugger. Perhaps another test drive beckons? A tough job but someone has to do it.