By: Jesse Adams

Porsche has added a sixth model to its Cayenne range in South Africa, with a shouty new GTS version that falls into the line-up between the Cayenne S and the current range-topping Turbo.

In fact, the GTS is a sort of mash-up of the two, with a heavy-breathing V8 engine for power but with mean, look-at-me aesthetics based on the beastly Turbo’s. In this trim, the 4.8-litre engine’s been tuned up to 309kW and 515Nm – from the Cayenne S’s 294 and 500 – and along with the output upgrade comes a device that amplifies its exhaust note from soft rock to Megadeth at the push of a button.

The GTS trumpets fairly loudly to begin with, but by pressing a Sport button in the console, a new Sound Symposer system is activated that frees up breathing by opening movable flaps in the airbox and exhaust pipes. The induction noise is also accentuated with acoustic piping inside the A-pillars along the windscreen that brings the noise right up to ear level.

ONE HECK OF A BARK

At full throttle, this SUV will scare the quills off a porcupine two provinces away, and while I don’t normally carry decibel meters in my back pocket, I’d say this is easily the loudest of all Cayennes.

At the GTS’s media launch in Cape Town last week, I found the roar most enjoyable over Franschoek and other passes, but was impressed with how subdued its vocals can be around town with Sport mode deactivated.

Porsche has also given the GTS a very specific and quite noticeable chassis set-up over its S sibling. Ride height is lowered by 24 millimetres (or by 20 with optional air suspension), and the track is 13mm wider at the front and 17 at the back.

The squat stance looks great but also translates to lateral grip that’s scarily good for a relatively top-heavy SUV. I was confident enough to chuck the GTS from left to right and back again at speeds that would embarrass many a sports car. Of course, all test units at launch were fitted with the biggest and prettiest wheel options, which in the GTS’s case are 21-inch with low-profile tyres.

The GTS’s front bumper is similar, but not identical to that on the flagship Turbo, with a huge grille and side intakes that will suck up wayward guinea fowl without flinching.

The hovering LED light bars are also borrowed from the Turbo, but special side skirts, wheel arch extenders and the rear wing are all GTS-specific. This model also gets unique black accents around the windows, tail pipes and headlight bezels.

The GTS’s sporty nature carries on inside too, with standard leather seats with racing car-like suede centre pieces. The Alcantara finish covers the centre armrest, bits of the door panels, the entire headliner and each interior pillar. Porsche will also do Alcantara on the steering wheel as an option – which is a must-have, if you ask me.

The Cayenne GTS is available at Porsche Centres in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town at a price of R1 033 000, which includes a five-year/90 000km Porsche Drive Plan. This can be shortened to three years at a savings of R50 000. -Star Motoring

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