2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS First Drive Review: An SUV Moonlighting As a Sports Car

When Porsche launched the Cayenne SUV 20 years ago, the sports car community collectively feigned shock, loudly bemoaning the death of the beloved Porsche brand that had single-handedly been the poster child for the mid-life crisis set. Now that enthusiasts are done dying on that hill, as editor-in-chief Kyle Chermocha wrote when the Cayenne won The Drive’s Best SUV of 2023, the once-unwanted stepchild that so embittered Porsche lovers has become the sweet spot for those who want an SUV that moonlights as a performance vehicle and comes with 493 horses.  Enter the 2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS with more power, sportier suspension borrowed from the even sportier (and pricier) Cayenne Turbo GT, and some new styling cues (hello, Spyder Design wheels). It’s the Goldilocks Cayenne that will make even the most die-hard Porsche dads sit up and take notice.  The Basics According to Porsche, those well-heeled men make up a significant portion of Cayenne GTS buyers. Around 10% of Porsche Cayenne buyers opt for the GTS, and the souped-up SUV brings a male, slightly younger customer to the brand. The average age of a Cayenne buyer is 52, while the Cayenne GTS buyer is 50, and according to Porsche, most of them are married, with multiple cars in their garages already. The GTS, which stands for Gran Turismo Sport, sits below the beefiest and most expensive ​​591-hp Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid and Turbo GT. Abigail Bassett There’s no denying that the Cayenne, in general, is the enthusiast-family-friendly choice, and the Porsche formula—blending power and handling with design and interior space—is a winning one. The GTS punches that up just enough to turn heads.  Outside, the GTS looks muscular and capable, with blacked-out badging on the side sills and rear, a GTS-specific front fascia with larger air intakes, tinted head- and taillights, and on those without the special ceramic composite brakes, red brake calipers. Buyers get the Sport Design Package, which adds high-gloss black rocker panels, window surrounds, wheel arch extensions, and inlays in the front fascia, as standard. Prior GTS models got those bits in the same color as the exterior. At the back of the GTS, the tips of the standard Sport Exhaust System, which were previously black, are now a lovely dark bronze. Rounding out that muscularity and striking curb appeal are 21-inch RS Spyder Design wheels in anthracite gray. Abigail Bassett The interior of the GTS is nearly identical to the interior of the Cayenne S–but with a slightly smaller steering wheel wrapped in Porsche Race-Tex, Porsche’s Alcantara-like material that’s made of recycled plastic, as standard. Our German-spec tester had both the 12.3-inch center infotainment screen and 10.9-inch touchscreen on the front passenger side. The passenger touchscreen is optional and unseeable from the driver’s side and allows passengers to access navigation and infotainment functions, as well as streaming functions like Spotify,  Apple Music and podcasts, SiriusXM, and online radio. There’s a cockpit tile that allows passenger princes and princesses to keep an eye on speed, g-forces, route guidance, and more. Further back, the two-row SUV gets plenty of space for cargo and passengers and envelopes all five occupants in a combination of that Race-Tex material and leather, as standard. You can opt for red or gray stitching, logos, and seatbelts for additional cost or swap it all out for understated leather. Rear seats fold down in a 40/20/40 configuration to accommodate bigger items.  Abigail Bassett Where the real magic happens, however, is all under the skin. For 2025, the GTS’ twin-turbo V8 will deliver 493 hp, 40 more than before, and torque gets a bump to 487 lb-ft—30 more than the 2024 model. Those dads who want to go fast will still get the eight-speed automatic transmission that gets remarkably quicker and more aggressive as you toggle through this car’s Sport and Sport Plus drive modes.  The newly-tuned engine gets better emissions, too, according to Porsche, thanks in part to an electrically activated wastegate and exhaust capture that boosts torque. The new GTS also gets a 10-mm-lower ride height, the upgraded water-cooled all-wheel-drive transfer case from the Turbo GT, different tuning for the adaptive air dampers, and optional active roll bars. Other upgrades inherited from the Turbo GT include the pivot bearings at the front axle, which increase the negative camber of the wheels to give a more direct steering feel. Driving Experience Driving for just three hours on surprisingly smooth and winding roads about an hour and a half north of Alpharetta, Georgia, and up to a small Bavarian (yes, really) town called Helen, the German-spec Cayenne GTS felt precise, responsive, and utterly joyous. The rich burble from that sonorous V8 (partially piped through the stereo speakers) made it difficult to keep the surprisingly lithe and nimble five-passenger SUV at the speed limit. Porsche In Normal mode, the ride was firm but comfortable, and the steering was precise but not aggressive. That firmness and directness might be a deal breaker for those who are prone to motion sickness, but if you’re looking for something nimble and fun to drive, the GTS is the ticket. Toggle the manettino-style knob to the right for Sport and Sport Plus, and that adaptive air suspension firms up even more while the responsiveness of the accelerator and steering increase. Your passengers will definitely know when you’ve put the GTS into a new mode as the engine note becomes audibly louder and the ride becomes noticeably stiffer. At low speeds, the optional rear-wheel steering helps usher the back end around tight curves, and the GTS feels and sounds like just another mall crawler with a special secret under the hood.  One of the two minor quibbles I had with the new Cayenne GTS, however, stemmed from my experience with a Cayenne S on the Rebelle Rally, an all-women’s off-road navigational rally that I competed in back in 2021. When you off-road, you want to have as much throttle control as possible from tip-in to dip-out. Because the GTS has more performance and road-going focus than the base Cayenne and Cayenne S and improved emissions, tip-in on the throttle felt a bit more laggy than I like–especially in Normal mode. A quick toggle to Sport or Sport Plus, however, and that issue is resolved. Abigail Bassett The other quibble I had stemmed from the fact that the vehicles we drove were German-spec and got the optional Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCBs). Grabby and aggressive even after they were warm, there was almost no way to gently modulate the brake in stop-and-go traffic through Helen, and I found myself repeatedly apologizing to my passenger for tossing her ever so slightly forward at every stop. PCCBs are great for Porsche’s sports cars but too aggressive on the SUV.  Porsche Cayenne GTS Features, Options, and Competition Some more mildly bad news: while the GTS is phenomenal on the road and probably very capable off it, it comes at the hefty base price of $126,895. That’s nearly a 30% premium over the Cayenne S—and pricier than competitors like the Audi SQ8, on par with the BMW X5 M which makes more than 124 whole hp more. Abigail Bassett And if you know anything about Porsche, you know that it offers a bevy of color combinations, details, and options that can quickly take prices into the stratosphere. While it’s a choose-your-own-adventure in terms of cosmetics, it’s a bit more constrained on the tech front. There are just two packages to choose from: one that adds adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping features and one that adds ADAS plus a sunroof and rear heated seats for full leather interiors only.  On the slopey-roofed Cayenne GTS Coupe, there are more performance options, including a lightweight package that Porsche says can cut as much as 55 pounds from the Coupe’s 5,027-pound curb weight. The regular-shaped Cayenne GTS weighs 4,956 pounds, but there isn’t a Lightweight Sports Package option for it. Porsche The Early Verdict  The 2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS is perfect for the well-heeled who want an SUV that has a side job as a track workhorse. It’s powerful, lithe, responsive, fun to drive, and comfortable—a bit more sports car-like than the S, thanks to all the work that Porsche did under the skin. With the right options, it can be a veritable beast on a winding road or closed course. It truly is the throaty-burble Goldilocks SUV for parents who aren’t quite done heading out for spirited drives after they’ve dropped the kids off at school.  2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS SpecsBase Price$126,895Powertrain4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 | 8-speed automatic transmission | all-wheel driveHorsepower493 @ 6,000 rpmTorque486 lb-ft @ 2,100-4,500 rpmSeating Capacity5Cargo Volume27.3 cubic feet behind second row | 60.3 cubic feet behind first rowCurb Weight4,856 pounds0-60 mph4.4 secondsTop Speed171 mphEPA Fuel EconomyTBDQuick TakeInside the Cayenne GTS, there are two wolves. And they’re both magnificent at their jobs.Score9/10 Porsche Got tips? Send ’em to