First Drive: 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
The 631-hp sport-utility was bred for the race circuit, but for buyers who plan to keep it off-track, it makes a pretty good luxury car, too
But what its buyers can do is lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7:38.9 minutes. Assuming they’re riding shotgun and Porsche test driver Lars Kern is at the wheel.
Yep, this 631-horspower, 626 lb-ft Cayenne set the new official SUV record at that track, blasting around the ‘Ring in a time that only a few years ago was solely the purview of exotic sports cars.
As such, I’m happy to report that the Cayenne Turbo GT makes for a mighty convincing luxury SUV. The eight-way seats find a terrific blend of comfort and sporty support, and like all Cayennes it imparts a sense of impermeable solidity. The Turbo GT gets the new Porsche Communication Management 6.0 software with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.
Granted, those aggressive summer tires do transmit a bit of road information, but it is far from intrusive. The cabin is quiet, the eight-speed Tiptronic obediently slurs the gears, and the immaculately crafted cabin, here in lovely burgundy/black leather and Alcantara, sports all the expected luxuries and driver’s aids. Being a Porsche, much of these trappings are optional, ‘natch. Price as tested: CDN$230,495.
Arriving late 2021, the 2022 Cayenne Turbo GT comes only in fastback Coupe guise, and receives every bit of Porsche dynamic techno-trickery. Looking at it from the front, we see the GT-specific front apron, and the 22-inch GT Design Gloss Black wheels sport an obvious negative camber. Now there’s something you don’t see on an SUV. The rear spoiler with carbon side blades and an adaptively extendable rear lip generates up to 40 kilograms of downforce at speed. Standard are ceramic composite brakes with front discs the size of manhole covers in the grip of ten-piston calipers. The rear discs get four-piston calipers.
The GT sits 18 mm lower than the Cayenne Turbo Coupe, and below decks we find specifically tuned air suspension (15 per cent stiffer); Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (active stabilizer bars); rear-axle steering; Power Steering Plus; and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus. The rear-biased all-wheel-drive system gets a Turbo GT-specific liquid-cooled transfer case designed to handle track abuse.
This Porsche-developed 4.0L twin-turbo V8 makes its way into several Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini vehicles, in various states of tune. Here it generates 631 horsepower at 6,000 rpm; and 626 lb-ft of torque from 2,300 to 4,500 rpm — the most potent in the Porsche stable. Seems the VW Group wants to the Lambo Urus SUV to have top bragging rites — it ekes out ten more horses and one more torque. Whatever. The Cayenne Turbo GT blows past the 100-km/h mark in 3.3 seconds and tops out at 300 km/h.
But I’m still stuck in traffic. Oh, wait. The freeway is opening up. Spinning the steering-wheel-mounted drive mode selector to Sport + puts the GT in full attack mode. What was a serene cruise suddenly morphs into something a bit more sinister. The titanium exhaust barks, the suspension stiffens, and the tach needle swings to 4,000 rpm, waiting for instructions to charge. My foot hits the floor and the Turbo GT hits 177 km/h faster than I can blurt “WTF.” Not wanting to spend any time in a Georgia lock-up, I hit the binders and blend back into the traffic flow.