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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Jul 21, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz


I don't know why versatile, flexible, four-door vehicles that can carry up to eight people or a sheet of 8X4 plywood ever got the name 'sport utility' vehicle. With a high center of gravity, body-on-frame construction and a solid rear axle, these utility vehicles were never built to give a sporty handling experience, no matter the price. Porsche entered the sport utility segment in 2003 with the Cayenne to bring more sport into the segment with their long heritage of building some of the world's great sports cars. While they did dial-up the power and performance level with the 500-horsepower Cayenne Turbo model, there was still room for improvement in the handling department. In 2008, Porsche offers its second-generation of Cayennes, featuring the all-new GTS. Porsche is serious because the GTS designation has not been used by Porsche since the 1963 Porsche 904 GTS.

Sharing its essential architecture and appearance with the Cayenne S and Turbo, the GTS differs in purpose. Sacrificing some of its sibling's excellent off-road capabilities, the GTS rewards the demanding enthusiast driver with increased levels of on-road performance similar to the 911 sports car. When viewed head-on, the GTS shows its purposeful, aggressive face by sharing its fascia with the awesome Cayenne Turbo. Like the Turbo, the GTS has large cooling intakes and new headlamp clusters moved to the sides behind clear lens. Like the Turbo, drivers behind the GTS are greeted by the vehicle's chrome, dual, twin tailpipes and an extended bi-plane spoiler at the roof's trailing edge. Thanks to its wider track, 20mm lower ride height, standard air suspension, and wider 21X10 wheels and tires, compared to the Turbo, the GTS provides astounding agility on pavement. . Commensurate with its place at the top of the naturally aspirated Cayenne family, the GTS sports a unique interior tailored to help you and your passengers fully appreciate the vehicle's abilities. Even with its performance enhancements, the GTS comes standard with all-wheel drive and a broad palette of traction and stability enhancing technologies so you can leave the pavement with confidence as long as you use off-road tires. At the heart of the all-new GTS is an enhanced engine and transmission.

Refinements by Porsche engineers to the naturally aspirated 4.8 liter V8 engine have resulted in a 20-horsepower increase, totaling 405 horsepower, and 369 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of whether you opt for the standard six-speed manual, or the optional six-speed Tiptronic S, you will feel the increase in acceleration. The engine's power characteristics are further enhanced by a specially created sport dual exhaust system which comes with the added bonus of a throaty, growl from its four tailpipes. As a result, Porsche test drivers were able to accelerate the GTS with the manual gearbox from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds and 6.1 seconds using the Tiptronic automatic. The sport-tuned, fully-independent air suspension features double-wishbones up front, and multi-links in the rear. The Porsche Active Suspension Management system works together with the Dynamic Chassis Control system of active front and rear anti-sway bars to cancel out any body lean when cornering. Click the Sport button and the engine, suspension and steering reacts faster to your inputs. To ensure more than adequate traction, the GTS is fitted with unique, ten-spoke, 21X10 light alloy wheels wrapped with high-performance rubber. Quickly and safely slowing the GTS down from speed are powerful four-wheel disc brakes. Up front are 13.7-inch vented rotors with 12.9-inch vented discs in the rear. The front rotors are clamped by 6-piston calipers, and 4-piston calipers in the rear. Braking control is further enhanced with ABS and Brake Assist. In the sport mode with the chassis set at its lowest setting, the GTS corners close to what you would experience at the wheel of a 911.

But this is a sport utility vehicle with all the flexibility and utility in seating and cargo hauling, plus the spaciousness, comfort, luxury and high-technology found in the world's finest SUVs. Like the exterior, the GTS's passenger cabin shows the vehicle's performance potential. You'll appreciate the newly designed leather sport seats with deep side bolsters and Alcantara centers to help keep you in place during spirited driving. Both seats are 12-way power adjustable. The instrument cluster is easy to see and mimics the 911 look. Console-mounted controls for the active handling suspension are large and easy to operate to get the most from the GTS, on or off-road. All dials, buttons and switches are within easy reach. The beefy, leather wrapped, multi-function, steering wheel features power tilt/telescope for the perfect angle for quick turns, and gear-changing buttons to blast out of a steep curve. More exclusivity inside is the unique aluminum trim and stainless-steel door entry guards with the GTS logo. You are surrounded everywhere with luxurious, hand-cut and sewn leather, including Alcantara on the entire headliner and pillars. Visibility is excellent all-around. The folding, split-back rear seat is also unique to the GTS by featuring raised bolsters and Alcantara inserts at the outer seating positions to ensure stable and comfortable seating for three adults. The cargo hold features plenty of space including tie-downs and a security shade. Standard equipment includes aluminum foot pedals, grab handles above each door, power windows/door locks, heated/retractable side mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, A/C with filter, four 12-volt plugs, dark tinted glass on rear and side windows, front/rear variable-speed wipers/washers, power liftgate, AM-FM-CD audio system with 12-speakers, cruise-control, and a multi-function trip computer. Options include HID headlamps with washers, Porsche Communications Management with GPS Navigation, front/rear heated seats, floor mats, rear parking assist, power moonroof, and a Bose Surround Audio System. If you love the spirited performance of Porsche 911 sports cars, but need the flexibility of a sport utility, you don't have to compromise - test drive the all-new Cayenne GTS.

© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT A stellar performer in almost every way - but if you have to ask about gas mileage, this probably isn't for you. For more information about Porsche products, go to More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at

SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2008 Porsche Cayenne GTS Price: $72,300.00 base $87,230.00 as tested Engine: 4.8 liter DOHC, VVT, all-aluminum V8 Horsepower: 405 at 6,500 rpm Torque: 369lb.ft. at 3,500 rpm EPA mileage specs: 13 mpg/city, 18 mpg/highway Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel-drive Transmission: 6-speed manual standard/6-speed Tiptronic automatic optional Front suspension: Independent, double-wishbones, air-springs, 3-position gas-charged shocks, active anti-roll bar Rear suspension: Independent, multi-link, air-springs, 3-position gas-charged shocks, active anti-roll bar Wheels/tires: 21X10 light alloy wheels/295/35R21 high-performance tires Brakes: Front: 13.8 in. vented rotors clamped with 6-piston calipers Rear: 13 in. vented rotors clamped with 4-piston calipers ABS, Brake Assist Overall length: 188.7 in. Overall width: 77 in. Overall height: 65.9 in. Curb weight: 4,949 lbs.

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