Skellefteå, Sweden -- With the Porsche Cayenne getting a mid-cycle update for 2015, the company had to leave no trim levels behind. So, for 2016, we get fresh new GTS and Turbo S versions of the popular German SUV.
Porsche invited a group of auto journalists to northern Sweden to test drive these new Cayenne GTS and Turbo S vehicles in cold, rough conditions. And we had a blast! In fact, the event also included a technical driving program at the Skellefteå Drive Center just 140 kilometres from the Arctic Circle.
Subtle visual distinctions
In typical Porsche fashion, the 2016 Cayenne GTS and Turbo S didn't get a radical makeover. Up front, the thinner grille found on the Turbo model makes a return and beautifully integrates the LED daytime running lights. The headlight clusters and their visual signature were revised, while the widened hood beefs up the Cayenne's presence.
In the rear, you'll notice redesigned taillights and a slightly tweaked bumper with a pair of dual exhaust tips piercing through a new diffuser. The Cayenne GTS obviously gets a few extras including flared fenders and black badges. Only a keen eye will spot the 20mm difference in ride height (courtesy of a lowered suspension), but other than that, styling remains true to the rest of the Cayenne family.
A driver's cabin
It goes without saying that the 2016 Porsche Cayenne GTS and Turbo S are aimed at driving enthusiasts. Inside the all-German cockpit, the sport seats are more generously bolstered and the steering wheel is inspired by the 918 Spyder supercar. Material selection and build quality deserve serious praise, as well. After all, we're talking about 6-figure SUVs, here.
The rest of the interior is pretty much in line with the design introduced by the current generation back in 2011 -- if it ain't broke, why fix it?
More power and fuel economy
Beyond their sporty looks, the 2016 Porsche Cayenne GTS and Turbo S feature wicked powertrains designed to turn any winter drive into a big drift fest. The latter remains the king of the lineup with a 4.8L twin-turbo V8 that now generates 570 horsepower (+20) and 590 lb-ft of torque, which should be ample enough to satisfy the most demanding Cayenne owner. Porsche claims a time of just 4.1 seconds to complete the 0-100km/hr sprint, along with a top speed of 284 km/hr -- incredible numbers for a vehicle that weighs more than 2,300kg!
Meanwhile, the 2016 Cayenne GTS gets a boost of 20+ horsepower thanks to an all-new 3.6L twin-turbo V6 (which replaces the naturally aspirated V8). In addition to being more fuel-efficient, this 440-horsepower engine improves performance as evidenced by its 0-100km/hr acceleration in 5.2 seconds (5.1 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package) and top speed of 262 km/hr.
The 8-speed automatic transmission is carried over and still offers manual shift capability through paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
All these tweaks and upgrades are nice, but do the 2016 Porsche Cayenne GTS and Turbo S have what it takes to put a smile on the driver's face? The answer is a resounding yes!
In the case of the Turbo S, the engine alone justifies the hype. Each thrust is like a volcanic eruption. The sound of the V8, the weight of the steering, and the sharpness of the transmission are just some of the many attributes that make this Cayenne a joy to drive both in a typical urban setting and on an icy track in the north of Sweden.
As for the Cayenne GTS, which normally caters to true driving aficionados, it may have lost the growl of the V8 but gained a loud, raspy enough V6 that makes things interesting. With its 20mm lower ride height, the air suspension (standard on North American models) gives the GTS superior agility compared to the Turbo S. The reduced weight also makes a notable difference.
Planning to buy a new Cayenne yet?
The new 2016 Porsche Cayenne GTS arrived in dealerships last month, while the 2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S will join us in the third quarter of this year. Porsche Canada expects them to account for 10% and 1% of total Cayenne sales in the country, respectively.