Style, power, capability, and a seemingly endless gamut of personalization options.
The trend of crossover coupés is no new thing, as most luxury manufacturers have dipped their toes into the segment. We tested Porsche’s example last summer, but this model is something much more engaging. This is the 2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe, and while the design and body style may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s a very special crossover. Sporting the iconic Carmine Red paint and heavily optioned, our Cayenne GTS tester was the subject of many envious eyes throughout our test.
In standard form, the Cayenne starts at $79,200, while opting for the Cayenne Coupé will set buyers back $88,900. The GTS Coupé starts at $127,800, and is available with the comprehensive options suite that Porsche is known for. Our particular unit was equipped with gorgeous houndstooth inserts in the seats, Alcantara steering wheel, and carbon fiber bits inside and out. At $156,420, it’s heavily optioned, but the $18,160 Premium Plus Sport Package contributes to a good amount of this.
Price aside, the Cayenne GTS is an incredibly satisfying vehicle to drive. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 offers a staggering 453 horsepower between 6,000 and 6,500RPM and 457 lb-ft. of torque at 1,800RPM. While the Cayenne Turbo is more powerful, the GTS is the perfect balance between enthusiast fun and practicality. Despite its five thousand pound curb weight, the Cayenne GTS Coupe hits 100km/h in just four seconds, an entire second quicker than the base Cayenne.
The eight-speed automatic is not the PDK gearbox that most Porsches are equipped with, but it snaps off shifts extremely quickly. The sports exhaust system equipped here produces a throaty roar, and makes shifts and acceleration that much more rewarding. It’s not just fast; even more impressive is how the Cayenne GTS Coupe handles your average highway run. Settle down at an acceptable cruising speed, and the Cayenne simmers down considerably. Put the rotary drive mode selector in its “normal” setting and the exhaust quiets down, the transmission sits in eighth, and your surroundings simply vanish.
Once you’re off the highway and on the region’s best twisty back roads, one flick of the drive mode selector and Dr. Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde. The GTS’ steering has considerable heft to it, and the heavy crossover becomes seriously rewarding. The air suspension equipped on our tester speaks almost magically with the rear-axle steering system, and causes this big boy to handle like no crossover should be able to. The 22-inch GT Design wheels mean ride quality is a bit harsher than it could be – plenty of other, softer riding wheel options are available.
We observed 14.2L/100km in combined driving, which is perfectly acceptable for a heavy crossover with a boosted V8 under the hood. If fuel economy is a massive concern, Porsche will happily sell buyers multiple variants of the Cayenne E-Hybrid, which is a plug-in hybrid model that can do short stints on solely electric power. The GTS is aimed to be a balance between practicality and performance – it makes no promises of being green, and that’s just fine with us.
The Cayenne’s interior is a busy affair, though the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system has gotten much better over the years. The touchscreen’s matte finish means it’s resistant to fingerprints and glare, and it’s responsive as well. The previous Cayenne’s plethora of buttons has been replaced with a piano black panel that isn’t quite as aesthetically pleasing and definitely more prone to looking messy. Some ergonomic improvements would go the extra mile to making this a perfect cockpit.
Ergonomics aside, the 18-way houndstooth seats are plenty comfortable, and despite the Cayenne Coupe’s raked roofline, there is plenty of headroom for taller adults in the rear. This seat material will definitely garner comments, however it’s worth mentioning that in order to have ventilated seats, leather must be checked off on the spec sheet. The driving position is ideal, and it’s blatantly obvious that the Cayenne is more of a focused driver’s crossover than its rivals. It can hold 498 liters of cargo behind the seats, down from 770 in the regular Cayenne SUV.
Rivalry in this class of crossover is fierce, between the BMW X6 M50i, Maserati Levante GTS, and even the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Step it up and the Audi RSQ8, Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX begin to enter the realm of possibility. While pricing is all over the place depending on trim level and options, the Cayenne still manages to hold its own with consistent sales all around.
The 2021 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe offers plenty to buyers, with style, power, capability, and a seemingly endless gamut of personalization options. Those absolutely needing that extra bit of cargo space can get the same performance out of a regular Cayenne GTS in SUV form, while buyers craving the style factor or with small families will find a daring drive partner in the GTS Coupe. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong, because this thing is massive amounts of intoxicating fun.