2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S and Cayenne GTS: Stuttgart's fastest SUVs

By James Tate on May 22, 2015 9:48 AM

What better way is there to enjoy cold weather than in a 570-horse 4-door sleigh?

Should you ever find yourself 500 miles north of Stockholm, Sweden in winter, there are a couple things you should be aware of: There is a lot of snow and ice, and the scenery is unbelievably picturesque-like a Bob Ross winter scene come to life, with happy little snow-covered trees everywhere. Oh, and there are few finer vehicles for this wintry splendor than the 2016 Porsche Cayenne GTS and Turbo S. To quote the immortal Ferris Bueller, "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."

Having fun in the land of the ice and snow

The moment our boots hit the ground in Sweden, we were taken to a sprawling runway on a former airbase to test the pair of monster SUVs. Well, less a "runway" than "a very long sheet of ice with some snow on it." Even shod with Michelin's fantastic Pilot Alpin tires and equipped with state-of-the-industry all-wheel drive, there just wasn't much traction to be found on the ice. Nevertheless, we were able to glean some impression of the character of the high-horsepower Cayennes-and set loose on the snowy roads between the course and base camp (okay, it was a hotel), we found a greater opportunity to get to know them better still.

Not that it's inexpensive, but between the two the Cayenne GTS is the bargain. There's a lot to love here: the 2016's newly designed 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6 replaces the V8 in the previous Cayenne GTS, but adds 20 horsepower for a total of 440 at 6,000 rpm. The GTS sits lower than the S or Turbo S, and comes with Porsche's Sport Design Package and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system standard-all in an effort to make the GTS the most agile of the Cayenne models, according to Porsche.

The 2016 Cayenne GTS is the product you're supposed to want if you're a true Porsche enthusiast. Should you choose not to opt for leather -- and we strongly advise not opting for leather -- you'll have Alcantara seats as stock. An optional "GTS" package adds deviated stitching, even more Alcantara and -- should you so choose -- red seatbelts. The black headlight innards (in place of chrome) and tinted taillights tell the casual observer that the 2016 Cayenne GTS is different -- and very cool.

We love these GTS-specific features and came away impressed, but to a Porsche fanatic the GTS name means something more than "cool" -- a GTS should have an addictive quality that makes you want to keep driving. The name is a hand-me-down from the 904 Carrera GTS racers of the 1960s, after all. How that connects to a 4,652-pound SUV -- even a really good 4,652-lb SUV -- is a mystery to us. Lastly, as good as the 2016 Cayenne GTS is, the Turbo S simply overshadows it. You can't say the same for a 911 GTS and a 911 Turbo S. They're different animals entirely. As a disclaimer, though, it may very well be that the slippery conditions didn't allow us to toss the GTS around and feel the nuances of its specially tuned suspension.

Hammer of the Gods

As we've implied, the 2016 Cayenne Turbo S is the top of the range. A 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 gives the Turbo S 570 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque from 2,500-4,000 rpm; it'll do 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds; carbon ceramic brakes provide top-notch stopping power; it'll lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in under eight minutes. For an SUV clocking in at just under 5,000 pounds, its performance figures are over the top.

That over-the-top approach carries into the interior of the 2016 Turbo S we drove, which featured Garnet Red leather and Garnet Red seatbelts to match, a Burmester surround sound stereo, and soft-close doors to boot. Quad-zone climate control and heated/vented seats in the rear complete the over-the-top appeal. It's over the top in all the right ways. If you're looking at leaping over the $100,000 threshold for your performance SUV, why not go all out?

Cayenne and the Competition

The 2016 Cayenne GTS and Turbo S may not be the right high-performance luxury SUV for everyone, but there are other choices out there. See how Porsche's newest Cayennes stack up against the competition.


2016 Porsche Cayenne GTS

2016 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Expensive, but Full of Value

If you're looking for a high-performance SUV without going into the extreme upper echelons of the category, the 2016 Cayenne GTS gives you everything you can handle and then some wrapped in a slick, properly aggressive package. It's not the monster the Turbo S is, but few vehicles in its class can touch its combination of performance and feel. The MSRP for a Cayenne GTS starts at about $96,000. Check out this week's Fair Purchase Price, plus 5-Year Cost to Own and more right here.

Engine: 3.6-liter turbocharged V6
Transmission: 8-speed
Tiptronic S automatic
Horsepower: 440 hp
Torque: 443 lb-ft
Curb weight: 4,652 lb
Fuel economy (city/hwy/combined): 16/23/19 mpg
0-60 mph: 4.9 seconds (4.8 with Sport Chrono Package)
Top speed: 163 mph
2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Over-the-Top Performance

Let's get down to it -- if you're shopping for a new Porsche or any of the other luxury SUVs here you're not afraid to go big, pricewise. In that case, the Cayenne Turbo S isn't the classic SUV others in its class are, but if you want performance capabilities approaching supercar range in the form of an all-wheel-drive SUV with every luxury touch you can find, this is it. The MSRP for a Cayenne Turbo S starts at about $158,000. Check out this week's Fair Purchase Price, plus the 5-Year Cost to Own and more right here.

Engine: 4.8-liter turbocharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic S automatic
Horsepower: 570 hp
Torque: 590 lb-ft
Curb weight: 4,927 lb
Fuel economy (city/hwy/combined): 14/21/17 mpg
0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds
Top speed: 176 mph
2015 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG

2015 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG

Part Family Truckster, Part Drag Racer

The GL63 AMG has a raucous 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 of its own, but creates 20 less horsepower than the Cayenne Turbo S. The largeness of the GL63 and its harsher angles may appeal to those looking for a traditional SUV with more than a touch of hot-rod. The MSRP for a Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG starts at about $120,000. Check out this week's Fair Purchase Price, plus the 5-Year Cost to Own and more right here.

Engine: 5.5-liter turbocharged V8
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Horsepower: 550 hp
Torque: 560 lb-ft
Curb weight: 5,754 lb
Fuel economy (city/hwy/combined): 13/17/14 mpg
0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
Top speed: N/A

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged

2015 Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged

Ready for the Trail, the Town and the Track

More than 600 pounds lighter than the GL63 AMG, the Range Rover Supercharged may not have the level of sports car-like performance of the Cayenne Turbo S, but it fits the luxury SUV standard with a noticeable kick thanks to its supercharged 5.0-liter V8. The MSRP for a Land Rover Range Rover Supercharged starts at about $103,000. Check out this week's Fair Purchase Price, plus the 5-Year Cost to Own and more right here.

Engine: 5.0-liter supercharged V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Horsepower: 510 hp
Torque: 461 lb-ft
Curb weight: 5,137 lb
Fuel economy (city/hwy/combined): 14/19/16 mpg
0-60 mph: 5.1 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph

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