Porsche’s Cayenne GTS returns with V-8 grunt for 2021

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When you imagine shopping among Stuttgart’s finest, five seats and eight cylinders may not be at the top of your list. However, the market for high-powered, luxury-spec SUVs is ripe for the harvest and, for the most part, doesn’t include those who imagine weekend trips in a rattle-can project car are particularly charming.

Porsche’s sights are set on well-endowed urban families who’d like their grocery-getter to pack five kids and give lesser-equipped 911s a run for their money—not to mention the status symbol of the Porsche crest. Enter the 2020 Cayenne GTS and its raked-roof Coupe sibling.

For those counting, there are now twelve different configurations of Porsche’s largest SUV. Porsche’s offered the GTS trim on the Cayenne across all three generations now, but the big news for the 2021 Cayenne GTS is the return of a V-8. The V-8 in question is neither naturally aspirated (twin-turbochargers force-feed the 4.0-liter mill) nor available with a manual gearbox, as was the first-gen GTS, but it does replace the 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V-6 the previous GTS used. Of course, this newest GTS ups the horsepower ante with 453 hp over its predecessor’s 434, and funnels all that power through an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic.

The GTS isn’t the only V-8-powered Cayenne you can buy; it shares the powerplant with its bigger, more luxe brother, the Cayenne Turbo. However, the GTS trim historically hits the sweet spot in a given Porsche lineup between price and sportiness. You’ll get all the dark-tinted LEDs and Alcantara trim and robust exhaust you’d want for nearly twenty grand less than the Turbo—and a whole 55 grand below the top-dog Turbo S E-Hybrid.

Speaking of a robust exhaust, that’s another selling point for the 2021 GTS. Porsche’s offering an optional sports exhaust system on the GTS, which envious neighbors will discern from the twin oval tailpipes positioned in the center of your Cayenne’s rear. Center-exit oval tailpipes do not a track monster make, but it’s worth pointing out that this 4700-pound SUV can hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Whether or not you like the packaging, the GTS is a roarer.

You can announce your fine taste in motorsports-flavored SUVs via the Sport Design Package, which comes standard on all GTS models lends your Cayenne (or Cayenne Coupe) a more upright fascia and slightly wider air inlets and body color wheel arches. Red brake calipers and gigantic 21-inch wheels add to the chunky SUV’s stance, and there’s the requisite sprinkling of blacked-out script and badging. Inside, you’ll sit in eight-way adjustable sport seats unique to the GTS—unless you spec the optional Comfort seat or spring for the Sport Seats Plus. The usual bevy of heated, ventilated, and massaging packages are also optional, along with all the carbon-fiber or aluminum or wood trim you might choose to distinguish your particular Cayenne.

Five seats, eight cylinders—and six figures. The 2021 Cayenne GTS starts at $108,650 and its lower-profile sibling at $111,850 ($1350 destination included).

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