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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS puts the sport back in sport utility vehicle


2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS
                         2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS

While its carefully curated sports cars are what made Porsche a household name over the last six decades, it’s the SUVs—the Cayenne, specifically—that have been buttering Porsche’s bread in recent years. Naturally, then, Porsche is making as many permutations as possible of its popular performance lux-o-ute, which was produced in seven different flavors before its 2015 model refresh was introduced over the summer.

 Now, Porsche has announced the return of its entry-level Cayenne V-6 as well as the sport-tuned Cayenne GTS as mid-2015 models.

If you didn’t miss ‘em, that’s okay. They weren’t gone long, having been dropped from the lineup only for a few months as the rollout of the refreshed 2015 Cayenne commenced during late summer. Now, they re-join the Cayenne family, which currently includes the Cayenne Diesel, Cayenne S, Cayenne Turbo, and the new Cayenne S Plug-In Hybrid; the only model we haven’t seen come back in the new 2015 duds is the over-the-top Cayenne Turbo S.

The Cayenne V-6 is powered by the same 300-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 as before, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift paddles on a new, 918-inspired multifunction steering wheel. Zero to 60 mph acceleration drops from 7.9 seconds to 7.7 seconds, Porsche says, or 7.6 seconds when the optional Sport Chrono package is ordered.

 The Cayenne also comes with a more comprehensive list of standard goodies, including bi-xenon headlamps with Porsche’s signature four-point LED daytime running lamps.

2015 Porsche Cayenne GTS

As in prior years, the Cayenne GTS promises a more visceral experience than other Cayenne models, thanks to a suite of performance-themed upgrades including a sport exhaust system, a performance air suspension with Porsche’s impressive PASM active damping system, a 20-mm drop in ride height, and huge brakes from the Cayenne Turbo (with calipers painted red, of course).

 Powering the GTS this time around is the same twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 found under the hood of the Cayenne S, only with 20 more horsepower and 39 more lb-ft of torque, bringing the total output to 440 hp and 445 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to achieve mile-a-minute speeds in just 5.2 seconds, according to Porsche.
While we’re a little sad that the sonorous, naturally aspirated, 420-hp V-8 from its predecessor is no longer part of the package, who are we to complain about more power, especially when it is accompanied by improved fuel efficiency? We’ll have to drive it to see if it’s the GTS exhibits the same rowdy character as the previous model; for its part, Porsche says the exhaust system “provides the characteristically GTS sound.”
At least it looks the part. The GTS is visually distinguished from lesser Cayennes on account of its sportified styling elements, such as the aggressive front fascia from the Cayenne Turbo, extended wheel arches, contoured side sills, a rear spoiler, and quad exhaust tips poking through a body-color rear valence. Head- and taillamps are darkened for a sinister look, and black is the chosen color for its lettering, window trim, and sexy 20-inch wheels.
The 2015 Cayenne and Cayenne GTS will make their first appearance later this month at the L.A. auto show before making their triumphant return to U.S. Porsche showrooms starting in February of next year.

 Better start saving now: prices for the base Cayenne start at $59,295, which is $3,400 cheaper than the next cheapest Cayenne, the Cayenne Diesel, and a whopping $15,800 cheaper than the next cheapest gas-powered model, the $75,095 Cayenne S. At $96,495, the Cayenne GTS more or less splits the difference between the Cayenne S and the $114,595 Cayenne Turbo. That German butter ain’t cheap.