A V-8 and a manual: Has Porsche finally perfected the Cayenne?
Our relationship with the Porsche Cayenne has been love/hate from the beginning. First, the idea—let alone the execution—of a big, heavy Porsche ute was something not everyone loved. But Porsche gave all Cayenne models a serious power upgrade for ’08, which we all loved. Then it announced the Cayenne hybrid, which put some of us off again. But Porsche is roping us back in at the Frankfurt auto show with this tasty dish: the 2009 Cayenne GTS.
Powered by an enhanced version of the Cayenne S’s naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V-8 with a tidy 400 horsepower, the GTS is a distinctly sport-flavored model that slots in nicely between the mid-level 385-hp S and the top-dog 500-hp Cayenne Turbo. Even better, the GTS will be available with—get this—a true six-speed manual transmission as a no-cost option. We’re, um, sorta looking forward to trying out that combo.
Other changes include a tightened chassis, which gets all kinds of techie stuff like electronic dampers, an air suspension, and Porsche’s excellent stability-control system as standard. Gorgeous multispoke 21-inch wheels and 295/35 tires reside under slight fender flares. Much more aggressive lower-body addenda, new fascias, a more aggressive rear spoiler, and cool quad tailpipes are among the rest of the revisions. Sport seats and two new available colors—Nordic Gold and GTS Red—round out the GTS-specific features.
Now, if only Porsche could put the big girl on a weight-loss program, we might consider it perfected. In the meantime, the GTS looks darn close. We’ll see the 2009 Cayenne GTS here next March at an expected price of $69,300.