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2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS First Drive: More Than a Middle Child

The GTS is a real standout in a crowded lineup

2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS
  • The Cayenne GTS trim returns for 2025.
  • The updated twin-turbo V8 makes nearly 500 horsepower.
  • It's available in Cayenne SUV and Cayenne Coupe body styles.
  • Pricing starts at $126,895.

There's really not a version of the Porsche Cayenne we wouldn't call sporty, but some models are more performance-minded than others. Porsche updated the Cayenne significantly in 2024, with revised styling, new tech, and a slightly better layout for the interior. Notably missing was the GTS model, historically one of the best-driving versions of the Cayenne (or just about any Porsche model for that matter). The Cayenne GTS is back for 2025, and while it's not all that much different from the previous model, a handful of small updates make Porsche's biggest SUV even better to drive.

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2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS rear, on the road

Updated, but not all new

Think of the Cayenne GTS as a Cayenne S with a handful of performance options included as standard equipment for less money than it would take to order them à la carte. That includes things like an adaptive air suspension, 21-inch wheels, sport seats up front, torque vectoring for the all-wheel-drive system, and a sport exhaust. Additionally, the GTS offers a few things that aren't available at all on the Cayenne S like extra horsepower and some parts borrowed from other Cayenne models.

The list of mechanical changes for the 2025 GTS is small. The Cayenne GTS continues to offer V8 power, with the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 in the 2025 model making 493 hp and 486 lb-ft of torque, a bump of 40 hp and 29 lb-ft over the previous GTS and 25 hp and 44 lb-ft more than the current Cayenne S. There have been a handful of changes to the engine to get this bump in power, notably a switch from twin-scroll to mono-scroll turbochargers and the use of electric wastegates. Porsche says this was done in part for better efficiency, an increasingly strict goal for all gas engines these days.

2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS V8 engine

In addition to a bit of extra power, the 2025 Cayenne GTS features revisions to its suspension and steering. An air suspension is standard, but the GTS sits 10 millimeters lower than most other Cayennes. The air suspension's adaptive dampers are new, but the GTS still uses the same springs as before. The suspension, along with the traction control and optional active anti-roll bars, has been tuned specifically for the GTS. The torque-vectoring system has more of a rear torque bias than before. The steering benefits from components off the Cayenne Turbo GT, the highest-performing version of the Cayenne available. The end result is more negative camber for the wheels.

The V8 is paired with an eight-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is standard. My test vehicle was fitted with the optional carbon-ceramic brake system and active anti-roll bars, the latter of which is called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, or PDCC.

2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe

Nearer a Cayenne Turbo GT than a Cayenne S

The GTS' engine doesn't feel vastly different from the V8s available in the Cayenne S and Turbo GT. There's plenty of power whenever you need it, and the transmission is quick to respond when you need to downshift. There's very little turbo lag down low, and the transmission is geared well enough that you're never out of the powerband while moving. While the Turbo GT is certainly more powerful, on the street the difference in output is less noticeable.

The steering feel is fantastic and among the best you'll find in an SUV. It's quick and direct, offering decent feedback from the road surface. It's not as tactile as a sports car like the Porsche 911, but it doesn't get much better than this in a sport-ute. The Turbo GT steering components, as well as the lowered ride height, make the GTS feel more agile and lightfooted than a Cayenne S. That's especially true in Sport and Sport Plus drive modes, where the adaptive suspension and torque vectoring get more aggressive and sporty. The Cayenne turns in sharp and quick, and the steering is firm but not so heavy that driving the GTS becomes work.

2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS Coupe profile

Body roll is minimal, at least on the street. I can see where there would be more pronounced lean on a closed course, but during spirited street driving, the Cayenne GTS feels stable and composed. Body control and overall feel are closer to what you get in the Cayenne Turbo GT than the Cayenne S. Traction isn't much of an issue either, thanks to that slick all-wheel-drive system and available summer performance tires. All-seasons are standard, but I highly suggest going with the summers if your climate permits.

Firm when you need it, compliant when you don't

While so much of Porsche's focus with the Cayenne GTS is on performance, the company's engineers put plenty of thought into ride quality and overall comfort. The air suspension and adaptive dampers work just as well at tuning out bumps and imperfections in the pavement as they do at keeping body roll in check. It doesn't float over bumps like some other luxury SUVs, but at no point would I call the ride harsh or backbreaking.

The Cayenne lineup as a whole was updated for 2024 with features like a new digital instrument cluster, a redesigned center console with more storage, and easier access to the controls for the media or climate system. The GTS is available as both a Cayenne SUV and a Cayenne Coupe. The two are largely the same, with the Coupe's sleek roofline cutting into cargo and rear seat headroom, though passengers in the rear should still be plenty comfortable.

2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS interior

Still more on the table

There are a handful of performance luxury SUVs that compete against the Cayenne. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, Audi RS Q8 and BMW X5 M Competition all have similar base prices to the Porsche. It's notable that those are the top-of-the-line trims for the Mercedes, BMW and Audi, and all three make a bit more power and are a bit quicker to 60 mph. The Cayenne is relatively expensive, and you'll need to step up to the nearly $160,000 Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid if you want equivalent straight-line performance.

But in terms of overall feel, ride and handling, none of those rivals can match the Porsche. The Cayenne still offers peerless steering feel, a wonderful eight-cylinder engine, and the best balance of performance and comfort when it comes to chassis and suspension tuning.

2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS

Edmunds says

Porsche's GTS models have always represented a sweet spot in the lineup, offering excellent on-road performance without the exceedingly high price tag commanded by Turbo models. The new Cayenne GTS is quicker, more engaging and more comfortable than ever. You can get more performance for the money in another automaker's showroom, but none will engage you quite like the Porsche.