Swoopy Cayenne blends style, luxury and pace — but at a steep price
Iknew something was afoot when first viewing the 2021 Porsche Cayenne Coupe GTS’s head-up display.
Proudly presented in my line of sight as I peered over the Cashmere Beige Metallic hood was a tachometer and G-force meter — ready to measure my anti-social behaviour in real time. Hmm.
Some will argue a snarling SUV with fastback bodywork and sports car aspirations is nothing more than a wacky, rolling contradiction.
But no one can dispute the fact that Porsche is awfully good at this game — namely kicking poor old Isaac Newton right where he lives when it comes to giving unlikely behemoths the moves of a gazelle. Granted, a 2.5-tonne gazelle, in the case of this third-generation 2021 Cayenne GTS that debuts in both “regular” and Coupe form in the fall of this year. But dang, this thing does handle.
This 2021 remake returns to V8 glory with a detuned version of the Cayenne Turbo’s 4.0-L twin-turbo unit that kicks out a healthy 453 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. While this isn’t a huge gain over the old GTS’s turbo V6, with its 434 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, it certainly is an exponential boot up the emotional ladder.
The V8 sounds the business, especially with this tester’s extra vocal Sport Exhaust II with its central tailpipes — part of the $10,110 Lightweight Sport Package that also adds carbon-fibre roof and interior bits, a heated Alcantara steering wheel, and 22-inch wheels. Transmission duties are handled by a ZF eight-speed automatic.
So, what gives the Cayenne Coupe GTS its moves? Traditionally, GTS versions of any Porsche — be they sports car, sedan or SUV — have been dubbed the sportiest. Not the fastest, not the most luxurious, but the iteration that puts you closest to the pointy end of the driving experience.
And generally a value proposition, although in this case “value” is entirely relative.
The 2021 Cayenne GTS runs with three-chamber air-suspension which sees a 30-millimetre drop in ride height, and the all-wheeldrive system gets more rear torque bias than the other Cayennes in the stable.
The Coupe GTS comes standard with the Sport Chrono Package that bestows launch control, a dashmounted lap timer, and a steering wheel-mounted rotary drive selector with Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual settings. Further, this tester raids the option list for more go-fast bits: the 48-volt active PDCC Sport anti-roll bars and torque vectoring ($4,090), and rear-axle steering ($1,840).
It’s Porsche’s masterful blending of all this tech that gives the GTS its uncanny athleticism. Factor in the alert and tactile steering, tireless brakes, and that eight-speed automatic transmission that works with nearly the brains and alacrity of Porsche’s excellent PDK twin-clutch unit, and you’ve got a family hauler that will have your kids and dog puking faster than you can say Nürburgring Nordschleife. The 2021 Cayenne Coupe comes across as handsome and cohesive — not the victim of some unfortunate surgery as some competitors are wont to do. Being a GTS, it gets blacked-out trim, and this new-for-2021 Cashmere Beige Metallic is lovely.
Inside we see optional seats trimmed in uber-cool houndstooth fabric. They are supremely comfortable and supportive, but adopting this retro vibe requires sacrificing seat ventilation. Consolation can be found in the truly spectacular $7,980 Burmester audio system whose rich, well balanced, and astoundingly clear sound nearly justifies the price tag.
Ah, the price. Didn’t I say earlier that Porsche’s GTS models were a value proposition? The 2021 Porsche Cayenne Coupe GTS starts at $126,500, putting it right between the V6-powered Cayenne S and ballistic Cayenne Turbo. However, this German-spec tester that is doing press duties in Canada runs a heady $180,495 before freight and taxes.
While that has us mere mortals up in arms, those who frequent Porsche dealers with real intent to buy apparently aren’t bothered by the fact they still have to shell out for heated seating, ambient lighting, adaptive cruise control, proximity key entry, lane-change assist, auto-dimming mirrors, and so on.
Beside the eye-watering price, there’s not much to complain about here. Yes, the ride is pretty stiff-legged on the blighted Toronto roads even in Normal mode — the standard 21-inch wheels would probably help here — but get past that and this swoopy ute blends style, luxury, outstanding build quality, pace and pure driving pleasure like no other.
And now that it belts out a V8 symphony, the Cayenne Coupe GTS backs up all that goodness with some spine-tingling emotion.
While many vehicles of its ilk can get messy when pushed, the 2021 Porsche Cayenne Coupe GTS gets up on its toes and asks for more.
The Cayenne Coupe GTS returns to V8 glory with a 4.0-L twin-turbo unit that kicks out 453 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque.
The display in the Porsche Cayenne Coupe GTS includes a G-force meter.
The 2021 Porsche Cayenne Coupe GTS starts at $126,500, putting it right between the V6-powered Cayenne S and ballistic Cayenne Turbo.
Optional seats trimmed in uber-cool houndstooth fabric are supremely comfortable.
The Cayenne Coupe GTS is more than a pretty face — it also has plenty of cargo space.