MALIBU, Calif. — I pull the upshift paddle close to redline on this 2022 Porsche Cayenne GTS, and a ripping snarl bounces again off the cliff faces, sounding as if the transmission is actively lunching on itself. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 blats out its menacing tune because the speedometer rapidly climbs with little take care of the steep mountain I’m winding my manner up. A decent, blind nook is subsequent, and my foot breathes a slight stress onto the stiff brake pedal, inflicting the Cayenne to drop pace rapidly with seemingly little or no effort. A fast flick of the well-weighted steering wheel sends the Cayenne into the nook with the feeling of one thing far lighter and shorter. Inspiring a great deal of confidence in me, I drive my foot into the throttle by way of the nook, and the Cayenne springs ahead with heaps of traction and torque to yank its manner up the subsequent uphill climb and unending collection of left-right-left-right.
These are the canyon roads north of Malibu, and so they’re one attractive approach to check how nimble and competent Porsche’s greatest SUV could be. The decision on the way it performs, because it sometimes tends to be with Porsche merchandise, is healthier than any of its rivals can obtain. This primary check is simply the start of a days lengthy check to come back, although, as after I cease taking part in within the canyons, I’m pointing the nostril north for a protracted journey up Freeway 1 from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Earlier than then, the hooning continues. Whereas the Cayenne Turbo GT would be the highest performing model of Porsche’s huge SUV now, the GTS is the second-most-serious variant cash can purchase. For the Cayenne’s present technology, Porsche put a V8 again below the GTS’ hood (the earlier one had a V6), guaranteeing that the fans who go for one can be handled to the perfect soundtrack potential. It comes customary with Porsche’s Sport Exhaust, nevertheless it’s been uniquely tuned for the GTS mannequin to be much more emotive. Energy is greater than adequate at 453 horses and 457 pound-feet of torque. That’s loads to by no means make you need for extra, however not an excessive amount of that it’s unusable on enjoyable roads — Porsche claims a 0-60 mph dash of 4.2 seconds when geared up with the Sport Chrono Package deal, as this one is.
The choices sheet on this Carmine Pink tester lists each potential efficiency further you will get, which isn’t lengthy contemplating Porsche consists of various extras as customary with the GTS, like PASM (Porsche Energetic Suspension Administration), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, a 30-millimeter decrease trip peak versus an S and massive 21-inch RS Spyder wheels. After all, this Cayenne GTS can also be geared up with Porsche’s Ceramic Composite brakes, rear-axle steering and the electromechanical roll stabilization system termed PDCC.
That lowered, roll-stabilized chassis stays flat while you’re scything by way of corners — the air suspension routinely lowers while you put it into Sport Plus mode. I can bodily really feel the rear-axle steering serving to this huge automotive pivot round tighter corners, and, my god, these brakes. I don’t discover a lot pleasure in barreling down a canyon street downhill, however this Cayenne GTS has all of the braking energy to facilitate such an endeavor. The GTS is heavy at 4,954 kilos, however these large brakes don’t even start to sweat after fixed beating.
The fantastic thing about having a Cayenne up right here within the mountains is that it’s simply as comfortable to tug off onto a rocky outcropping to soak up the ocean views as it’s to maintain up with sports activities automobiles while you need to. Even with a 911’s nostril carry, there’s no manner it might’ve facilitated the type of inclines or drop-offs I subjected the Cayenne to.
As soon as the enjoyable is over, I get an opportunity to see how the Cayenne does as a mile-muncher on the freeway. Whereas fitted with adaptive cruise management, this GTS lacked any form of lane-following tech, for Porsche makes most of its driver help options elective. If you need a characteristic, you may seemingly afford it, although, because the lowest bar for entry on a Cayenne GTS is $110,350 — this explicit instance totals $143,320. Fortunately for me, the type of driving forward is essentially winding ocean-viewing roads that I’d relatively be in full management of the steering wheel for anyway.
Dialed again to “Regular,” the Cayenne’s trip turns into compliant and forgiving, nearly forgetting that it’s a critical GTS mannequin. I can’t say the identical for the 911 GTS, which by no means appears to cool down from being a couple of steps away from a GT3 in trip high quality. I’ll thank the Cayenne’s air suspension for this breadth of operation and suitability in a number of environments. No, you don’t really feel each crack within the street by way of the seat of your pants within the Cayenne as you do in a 911 GT3, however the flexibility is simply appropriately for an on a regular basis SUV. The racket of an exhaust is toned down in Regular, besides, the GTS all the time rumbles about like a efficiency V8 ought to. It’s nearly as if Porsche needs to be sure to keep in mind you selected the GTS over an S, and it does so with sound. The one time it actually shuts up is while you’re cruising alongside at a gradual price on the freeway with solely whispers of wind to disturb the luxurious peace contained in the automobile.
This Cayenne’s inside is well-suited to each canyon runs and long-haul drives. These signature seize handles in each the entrance and rear permits passengers a simple place to brace themselves while you’re driving enthusiastically, and the GTS’ Sport Seats have all of the bolstering that you must keep planted — Porsche’s Race-Tex goes within the seat facilities on the GTS and is exceptionally grippy. When the time got here to sprawl and chill out, it was simply as straightforward to loosen the adjustable bolsters up and benefit from the extremely customizable 18-way adjustable lounge chairs. Between a variety of steering wheel and seat adjustment, should you can’t discover a snug place in these buckets, it should be an anomaly.
A pair hundred miles of boring driving will ultimately dump you out onto the nice a part of California’s famed Freeway 1. For those who’re in it for the views, there’s little or no street within the U.S. that may high it. Don’t go for driving enjoyable, nevertheless, as these having fun with the views will all the time pack the roads. The Cayenne slot in with the surroundings completely. Its crimson paint gleams within the daylight, and all of the GTS-specific black-painted accents give it the aggressive distinction look we’d anticipate from any Porsche GTS product.
Visibility out of the automotive is significant to any Pacific Coast Freeway journey, and Porsche is aware of this high quality effectively — the 911 is probably the simplest to see out of sports activities automotive on the planet. The Cayenne isn’t notably particular in its visibility versus different SUVs, however that is one time I used to be grateful to be within the conventional Cayenne and never the Cayenne Coupe.
Porsche tends to excel at making ergonomically glorious automobiles, too, and that’s simply what you get with the infotainment system and mostly-digital instrument cluster. This Cayenne is rocking Porsche’s newest PCM software program (that features Android Auto lastly!), and it was foolproof all through the journey all whereas being straightforward to function. Apple CarPlay masses up wirelessly instantly, and also you’re by no means removed from smacking that “Sport Exhaust” button within the Automobile menu. This method is straightforward, fast and doesn’t overwhelm with wild graphics or pointless frills. You’ll hit massive swaths of street with no cell sign on Freeway 1, and whereas I sometimes by no means must depend on in-car navigation to get locations lately, street journeys like this one make me grateful for the continued existence of pre-programmed maps. The identical goes for touring excessive up within the canyons, which simply isn’t a state of affairs I ever encounter within the regular course of testing automobiles from dwelling base in Michigan.
Finally, the scenic a part of Freeway 1 fades away, and it’s time for the final boring stretch as much as San Francisco. Regardless of the route seeming boring on the GPS, this GTS helps make the mundane a great bit extra thrilling with loud rips onto the freeway from entrance ramps, made all that extra accessible by the helpful “Sport Response” button. Extra efficiency automobiles may gain advantage from this helpful button that immediately plops the automotive into its most aggressive settings for set durations of time. Typically, that’s precisely what you’re in search of, whether or not it’s to cross a gradual driver or to rapidly rise up to hurry on the freeway.
The town of San Francisco as soon as once more makes me comfortable to be piloting an SUV with its large grade modifications and breakover angles all over the place — various years earlier to this journey, I scraped my lowered Integra’s exhaust everywhere in the metropolis on these excessive roads. This time, no drawback.
Spending over every week on this Cayenne GTS drives dwelling the sensation that there actually isn’t a extra satisfying SUV that’ll do all of it on sale at the moment for driving fans. Positive, the AMG and M choices could also be cheaper and have extra tech for much less cash, however not one of the competitors is as hilariously enjoyable and interesting on a fantastic street. The argument for the Cayenne GTS is just like that for a 911 and the rest in Porsche’s lineup. There are a ton of different choices which can be actually distinctive, however should you merely need the perfect driving expertise potential in an SUV, you’re not going to do higher than a Cayenne. It’s basically what’s been stated for the final 20 years — sure, we’re 20 years on from the Cayenne’s introduction this yr — and it’s no much less true at the moment than it’s ever been.