It’s a time of SUV giants. Giant claims match giant performance, supported by giant prices. The 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is more giant than most, but how does ‘the world’s fastest SUV on a road measured with corners’ translate into the real world?
- Organ-mashing performance at your feet
- Comfortable and well-presented Alcantara cabin
- Surprisingly well-priced amongst its competitive set…
- … But no spreadsheet in Australia will justify the $140k step up from the already excellent Cayenne GTS
- PCM usability design could use a tweak
- Three-ball Charlie mouthguard face not all that elegant
Is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT a good car?
So, look. The 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT isn’t a very sensible car.
It is really fast though. Plus it sounds great and has a bunch of carbon fibre bits and snazzy gold wheels, and it serves as a real-world example of what engineers can do with a two-tonne SUV, when armed with decades of experience and a blank cheque.
If you’re wanting an everyday Cayenne, I’d suggest saving a hefty $134,100 from the Turbo GT’s current $336,100 (before options and on-roads) sticker and grabbing a Cayenne GTS Coupe ($202,000).
It’s not as fast, but it will be a lot easier to live with, and for a cheeky $56,070 extra, you can option it up so that it has all the nifty tech goodies and looks the same when parked outside the Botanical on a Sunday morning.
And while this may signify the end of the review if you’re looking for the ‘smart’ Cayenne purchase, I’d wager most of you aren’t and so we forge on for the good of the community and take a look at the fastest SUV that Porsche has ever devised.
As noted, the Turbo GT is priced from $336,100 (until it jumps $16,600 to $352,700 when the clock strikes FY23), before options and on-road costs.
Being a Porsche, there will always be a few options, with our Artic Grey example popping an additional $30,640 on the invoice. If you’re feeling box-ticky, you can always push this higher through some extreme personalisation, including my favourite, the $3470 choice of having the air-vent slats trimmed in leather.
The Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is available exclusively in the Coupe body style and is positioned $36,800 above the Cayenne Turbo S e-Hybrid Coupe or $73,900 over the ‘regular’ Cayenne Turbo Coupe ($262,200).
For that spend though, you get the most technically capable lump of four-seat family Porsche ever to roll out of Zuffenhausen.
The gang is all here. Retuned engine, revamped turbos and induction system, revised suspension damping so it is lower, stiffer and more nimble, not to mention a full scrabble board of Porsche acronyms including torque vectoring, chassis control and even four-wheel steering.
It’s a record-setter too. The Turbo GT is the fastest SUV to ever lap the Nürburgring, with a 7m 38.9sec time recorded for a full lap, and 7m 33.9sec bridge-to-gantry.
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For context, this is four seconds quicker than the previous champion, the Audi RS Q8 (7m 42s).
It’s brutal, expensive, and utterly pointless around the suburbs. What’s not to like!
|Key details||2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT|
|Colour of test car||Arctic Grey|
|Options||Metallic paint – $5000|
Lightweight Sports Package Carbon- $23,920
– Heated steering wheel
– Carbon-fibre trim inserts
– Carbon-fibre mirrors
– Suede-look headlining
– Carbon-fibre roof
Porsche Ceramic Brakes with black calipers – $1720
|Price as tested||$366,740|
|Rivals||Lamborghini Urus | Aston Martin DBX 707|
Is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT a good-looking car?
The Porsche Cayenne is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, which is an impressive milestone, but also means we’ve had a lot of subjective discussions about the Cayenne’s design for two-whole decades now.
The big SUV has never been a universal style favourite, but we should all agree that it has improved over each subsequent facelift and generation change.
The current third-generation car (classified as 9Y0 for the wagon and 9Y3 for the coupe) is the most handsome it has been, but there are still some sticking points.
From front-on, the Cayenne Turbo GT’s blacked-out grille assembly gives an impression somewhere between ‘Three-Ball Charlie’ from the Rolling Stones Exile On Main Street album cover and an athlete sporting a mouthguard and goofy grin.
As wide as the car, and in stark contrast to all but black paint, it’s clearly there to let the hungry Cayenne breathe better, but it’s not helping the Cayenne’s design defence.
Giant 22-inch wheels, which are finished in ‘Satin Neodyme’ rather than ‘gold’, again make the Turbo GT flex a little harder than most. The black, rather than body colour, wheel arches add the right amount of contrast to the side of the car and make the wheels seem well proportioned, which isn’t easy at that diameter.
Throw in a carbon-fibre roof and high-mount rear spoiler with aerodynamic ears, and we’re all but spent on transforming the sleek Cayenne coupe into a GT racer until you get to the back of the car that is.
In my opinion, the rear quarter view of the Porsche Cayenne, with that full-width LED light strip, is its best angle. I think the coupe-style does the big Porsche big favours and it works much better than BMW’s X6 and X4 do.
That said, the large rear diffuser and twin, titanium, central exhaust tips remove any hint of subtlety that you could possibly try to have with the Turbo GT.
It’s a premium family wagon wearing a baseball cap backwards, and I feel this is as far as you could push the Cayenne’s styling without it becoming a parody of itself.
Lucky that all that pump and aero is there for a reason.
What is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT like inside?
Porsche knows how to put something together with a sense of timeless quality at every touchpoint.
The Turbo GT’s interior is lined with Alcantara as far as the eye can see, and it blends well with the modern switchgear layout and iconic Cayenne elements like the grab handles along the transmission tunnel.
Firm and supportive, the sports seats are excellent and include a combination of leather and Alcantara fabric. They are naturally heated, but ventilation is an option. The Turbo GT motif embroidered into the headrest is all part of the admission price.
You can of course make personal changes here too, like custom crests and coloured seat belts, but the standard configuration we have on our car is as good as anything, so maybe tread lightly at this point of your building journey.
There are carbon-fibre and other gloss trim elements around the cabin, but the haptic centre console is worth calling out in terms of both functionality and implementation.
A glossy-black panel is backlit by the buttons to control heating and cooling, but in the right light, you can clearly see that this is a generic panel for all Cayenne models and there are clearly features available on other models which aren’t implemented on yours.
Think of it as a modern version of the button blanking plate, and while it doesn’t feel like you’ve been cheated and are missing out, it does feel like you can tap these to activate seat ventilation or other functions.
Plus, the haptic panel never feels as well made as a proper button as the whole area tends to flex as you tap it. This isn’t limited to the Porsche, but may be an area where we see some improvement in coming years, particularly at this high end of the market.
Set up as a four-seater, the rear cabin is roomy even with the sloping roofline, with the central rear position replaced by a storage tray and handy armrest.
With a carbon-fibre roof to save weight, there’s no panoramic glass panel above you, which does make the interior ambience a little more dark and moody, but also helps with sound insulation.
Cargo volume is a very usable 549L which expands to 1464L if you need to fold the rear seats.
Who said the coupe couldn’t be practical!
|2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT|
|Boot volume||549L seats up / 1464L seats folded|
How big is the screen in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT?
If there is an area where Porsche’s commitment to capability extends over usability, it’s the PCM (Porsche Communication Management) infotainment system.
In terms of capability, it has and does everything. The 12.3-inch touch screen offers DAB radio, which in a first for me, even shows the album cover art for songs playing on the radio, there is support for wireless Apple CarPlay, and remote telemetry connection through the Porsche Connect app.
It all looks very smart, but that user interface really isn’t very friendly.
It’s hard to see where you are in terms of menu levels, and I find you just go all the way back to ‘home’ to start again or find something else. Some of the buttons are quite small and tricky to tap on the move, plus there was no wireless charger in our car which is just a bit cheeky at this price point.
Porsche regularly updates the PCM software (which can be done over the air), which is great, but the user interface and general usability could take some lessons from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT a safe car?
The current-generation Porsche Cayenne received a five star rating when tested by EuroNCAP in 2017. There is no crash-test data for the Cayenne (or any Porsche for that matter) from ANCAP.
The Cayenne Turbo GT includes the full range of driver assistance technology that Porsche has in the kitbag, and it all worked very well on our test, including the adaptive LED headlamps and lane keeping aids.
There are ten airbags (front, knee, full-length head, side for front and side for rear) as well as a pair of IOSFIX child seat mounting points.
|2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT|
|ANCAP rating||Not tested|
How much does the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT cost in Australia?
Discussing Porsche value isn’t something that generally works on an apples-to-apples comparison basis.
Is this car expensive? Yes, it is. Could you buy a Kia Picanto with the amount of money the Turbo GT is set to increase from July? Yes, you can. Would you be smarter to park a Porsche Macan, Boxster AND Taycan all in your garage for the same price you pay for a Turbo GT? Sure, but now this is getting silly.
Change the lens for a moment, and the spiciest Cayenne in the line-up almost feels ‘good’ value against the rest of the Porsche showroom. Almost.
|At a glance||2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT|
|Warranty||Three years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 15,000km|
|Servicing costs||$2690 (3 years), $4685 (5 years)|
It’s more affordable than a ‘humble’ 911 Carerra GTS Cabrio ($347,700) and a staggering $99,000 less, and more powerful, than a Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.
It’s cheaper and faster than a $391,968 Lamborghini Urus, it’s lighter in both wallet and stature than the most basic $378,600 Bentley Bentayga, and is a whole $93k more affordable than its ‘worlds fastest’ arch-nemesis, the $428,400 Aston Martin DBX 707.
But as I said earlier, none of this is in any way sensible.
The best Cayenne Coupe purchase in our opinion is the $202k GTS. Anything more is a choice you and your financial advisor make on your own.
Servicing your Cayenne costs either $695 for annual oil maintenance or $1300 for an inspection service, which applies on alternating years. This means three years will cost $2690 whereas five will run $4685.
Note too, Porsche is one of the few brands still only offering a three-year warranty, although you can purchase an extended package that can be extended up to 15-years.
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||14.1L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||16.4L/100km|
|Fuel type||Unleaded 95RON|
|Fuel tank size||90L|
What is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT like to drive?
I’m going to say it now. Anything competing for the ‘fastest SUV in the world’ record title has no real place on current Australian roads.
Everything this car can do well, is basically illegal. As, aside from an eager rumble from that titanium exhaust, tootling around at 60km/h is utterly pointless and hugely frustrating in a car like this.
This is why we took it for a run where we were self-governed by corners stacked on top of each other, preventing the Cayenne Turbo GT from really unleashing the full capability of its thermonuclear drive train.
Under the bonnet is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, which has been treated to a new crankshaft, fuel delivery system, turbos and induction plumbing to give it 471kW and 850Nm output, a significant rise over the 404kW/770Nm Cayenne Turbo, yet under the 500kW/900Nm petrol-electric combo of the Turbo S E-Hybrid.
At 2200kg it’s 400kg lighter than the S E-Hybrid, thanks to the more generous use of carbon fibre and aluminium.
For a fun note, trying to attach a magnetic camera mount to this car is impossible, with no exterior panels exhibiting any ferrous behaviour whatsoever.
The car still uses the multi-chamber air suspension setup from the less-ballistic Cayenne family, but these too have been retuned for a 17mm lower ride height and a 15 per cent increase in damping stiffness.
The eight-speed automatic transmission has been tweaked, as has the rear-wheel steering system and torque-vectoring function, to give this car a far more nimble approach to corner-carving than you would ever expect from a vehicle of this size.
You can adjust the drive modes using a rotary dial on the steering wheel, and while the car is muscular and purposeful regardless of setting, the gap from request to result when driving in the ‘normal’ setting is perhaps a little less dramatic that expected.
Think of Clark Kent taking the time to enter a phone booth to transform his attire into the blue and red garb of Superman. The result, is undeniably faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, but one would argue that the theatrical delay of change is a little long. Especially when Jimmy Olsen has got himself into another life-or-death pickle.
Change things up to Sport-Plus though, and hoooo-baby. There’s no delay here.
The big Cayenne twitches and surges on every input, the slightest wiggle of a foot muscle translating into a gulp of fuel and air and a change in the space-time continuum.
Put all of this on a winding country road, and it’s like taming a comet.
The sheer force required to shift this 2200kg beast from 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds, each and every time you need to do it, is immense.
But it’s the balance and dynamic prowess which really shines, even in the leashed environment of Australian speed limits.
Tip it in, gauge the exit point and wind on the power, and the car feels almost Macan-sized in its ability to manage direction changes. It’s only by looking at our video footage where you can see the right wheels on the centre line and the left dipping into the soft verge that you understand the sheer footprint of the Cayenne, and how all of this dynamic ability is all the more impressive.
Adhesion is governed by huge 315mm rubber at the rear and 285mm up front, giving the car an enormous contact patch and near-endless grip.
We were keeping within legal realms, but there was no hint of traction loss at any stage of our time with the car, regardless of surface.
Brakes are a massive 17.3-inch carbon-ceramic setup at the front and 16.1-inch at the rear, which when up to temperature, wash off speed in a way that tries to squeeze your brain through your nostrils.
It really is a monstrously impressive and entertaining beast. As well it should be.
Fuel use is a hearty 16.4L on our run, a little up on Porsche’s combined 14.1L/100km claim, but who cares.
The car’s induction noises are audible over the barking exhaust, and interestingly the fans will continue to run for long-minutes after you stop, cooling and preparing the Turbo GT for its next assault on your chosen A-Road, B-Road or Woolworths carpark.
Pootle around town though, and you’ll long for your next flowing country adventure, almost as much as you want a little more tyre profile and less aggressive transmission and throttle tune.
This is a free-range car, not one to be kept in urban captivity, no matter how much you like the flex on the school run.
|Key details||2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT|
|Engine||4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol|
|Power||471kW @ 6000rpm|
|Torque||850Nm @ 2300-4500rpm|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Eight-speed torque converter automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||217.9kW/t|
Should I buy a Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT?
Very simply, this car is an exercise in ‘because we can’, not ‘because we should’. Other than bragging rights, there is no reason to choose the Turbo GT over a lesser Cayenne or even a high-output Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW.
What this car can do, especially here, is fundamentally an engineering exercise to prove a point. Sure, the Aston 707 may have the standing sprint bragging rights of ‘fastest SUV in the world’ when accelerating, but Porsche is happier to claim the title when their fine print throws corners and elevation changes into the mix.
I said a few years ago, in reference to the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S, that future generations will likely look back on the time of hulking, big power SUVs with scathing judgement, as our generation often does of the muscle-car wars of the 1960s.
But we are here, and we are now, and we know that these machines are only a finite proposition as we gradually translate to an electric or alternative power future, and so I think we should enjoy them for what they bring – infinite power combined with infinite practicality.
No, the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT isn’t sensible, it isn’t smart, it isn’t even the best Cayenne you can buy, but at the end of the day it isn’t supposed to be.
So mark this day as a reminder that you lived in the time of hyper-brutal rhinoceros-sized (and coloured) SUVs and look forward to telling the tale to generations forward, that they were real, and they were pretty damn awesome.