2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS First Drive Review: Another tasty slice of Porsche SUV

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — There’s no company that knows how to precisely slice a product line more than Porsche. Just look at the myriad variations of the 911. And that kind of clinical categorization carries over to the 2025 Cayenne GTS. In price, it fits pretty perfectly between the Cayenne S and the Turbo E-Hybrid. Performance-wise, it falls much closer to the S. Whether it’s the right Cayenne for you really comes down to how well you know what you want and what your budget is. If this one fits your needs, it’s a damn good one. If not, well, Porsche has other extremely good versions for you.

So what makes the GTS worthy of its own trim, and not just option packages for the S? It has a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 found in the S. That includes all of the various changes made for this generation of Cayenne, such as monoscroll turbos instead of twin-scroll in a move to help the engine run cleaner, but also variable valve timing and lift, upgraded fuel injection and electric wastegates to help make up for potentially slower spooling turbos. Porsche even found it could drop cylinder deactivation on this new engine. But distinguishing the GTS version from the S is an extra 25 horsepower (493) and 44 pound-feet of torque (486). It also makes 40 more horsepower and 30 more pound-feet of torque than the previous GTS.

On top of the power, the GTS also includes a number of the S’s optional performance upgrades as standard. They include Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus and air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management. The suspension lowers the GTS by 0.39 inches compared to more affordable Cayennes, at least those without this upgraded suspension. For extra performance, customers can add rear-wheel steering, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and carbon ceramic brakes. Of course, those are available on the S, too. The Coupe version also has a unique Lightweight Sport Package on offer with less noise insulation, a carbon fiber roof and different, center-exit exhaust, all of which reduce curb weight by 55 pounds. Though with the regular SUV coming in at 4,956 pounds, and the Coupe at 5,027 pounds (yes, it’s heavier somehow), it’s not exactly a light machine.

Not available on the S are the front pivot bearings taken from the Cayenne Turbo GT, which give the GTS a bit more negative camber at the front. It also gets the Turbo GT’s water-cooling system for the transfer case.

Visually, the Cayenne GTS basically just adds a few optional extras as standard. It gets the SportDesign exterior package and 21-inch RS Spyder wheels. Inside, it does get standard eight-way adjustable sport seats that aren’t offered on the S (though the 14-way ones can be optioned on the lower model).

You’ll have probably noticed that a lot of the features of the GTS can simply be added to the S. And that obviously presents the question: Why not just option up an S? The reason is simply that you would be spending more money, and end up with a little bit less. Building out a Cayenne S with the same features the GTS gets standard, with the exception of exclusives like the transfer case cooler, front suspension bearings and extra power, you’ll end up with a price tag of $132,095. The GTS starts at $126,895. So the GTS is actually a bit of a bargain … in an obtuse way.

2024 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Or at least, comparing the most comparable versions. If all you’re worried about is power, you can get a more powerful (though slower to 60 mph) Cayenne S E-Hybrid starting at a little over $100,000. It would still end up more expensive once the other features were added, but with more power and also some electric range.

But we’re really digressing. Let’s get back to the GTS.

The one thing we haven’t really talked about is the driving experience, and gosh darn it, it’s just really stinking good. Obviously, the Cayenne is a great base to start from, and with the GTS getting a bunch of choice options, it becomes easily one of the best driving SUVs you can find at any price. Our test example was the regular-bodied SUV, but with rear-wheel steering, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and carbon brakes added. Even with the monoscroll turbos, boost still felt nearly instantaneous. Throttle response in Sport Plus is incredibly sharp and responsive, maybe too much so for street driving. Normal is soft and gentle, definitely for comfy cruising, and Sport is the sweet spot for response, but without the hard edge of Sport Plus. The suspension settings mirror the throttle response, with Normal being cushy, and Sport Plus a bit firm. Though even Sport Plus is compliant enough that you could drive in the mode on the daily.

Steering doesn’t change as much between modes, and that’s good, because it’s so superb. It’s got heft, but is still easy to helm. The precision is pinpoint, and there’s a surprising amount of feedback. The chassis itself is tight and predictable. Traction was copious, and when the rear end started to take over, it came in very smoothly and controllably. The GTS was a joy on the winding mountain roads north of Georgia, and didn’t feel at all its nearly 5,000 pounds. And the firmly bolstered seats were very welcome, keeping us in place and also providing some great general support (which my recently sprained back really appreciated). They were the standard seats, too, so don’t feel like you’d need to upgrade.

2024 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe2024 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe2024 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Like any other Cayenne, the GTS also has a somewhat conservative-looking interior, but with exquisite build quality and switchgear. The screens are vivid and software smooth. Every moving knob or switch is phenomenal. Even the slightly dinky looking automatic shifter is solid, heavy metal with the tightest action. And of course it’s all quiet inside, unless you want to hear the exhaust. The sport exhaust can add both real and synthetic rumble, plus carefully applied pops on throttle lift. Truthfully, the loud exhaust mode could afford to be a little more raucous. It still sounds restrained, like Porsche’s afraid of being too wild and crazy.

So yeah, the GTS is an excellent version of an excellent SUV. It’s got most of the performance goodies you could possibly want, along with a couple special pieces, and it all comes together to be one of the best driver’s SUVs out there. So if you have the coin, you can’t go wrong with it. And if you don’t, you’d still do well with nearly any other Cayenne.

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