When Porsche first introduced the Cayenne in 2003, the company guaranteed that it would be every bit as fun as the 911 but practical enough for family use. It certainly was a decent vehicle for carrying children, but the tall ride height made it a less-than-ideal track machine. But performance SUVs are all the rage these days, and Porsche’s latest sporty crossover might just have credentials good enough to match an actual sports car on the circuit.
The Cayenne Turbo GT solves one of the original car’s shortcomings by sporting lowered suspension. It is 17mm closer to the ground compared to the Cayenne Turbo Coupe upon which it is based. As with any ultra-fast Porsche, the Turbo GT comes equipped with a myriad of acronyms that supposedly help in its cause of becoming a true track-day fighter. The adaptive dampers are controlled by Porsche Active Suspension Management, and body roll is mitigated with Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. Rear-wheel steering has also been fitted to help compensate for understeer (this is a heavy car, after all).
Porsche Torque Vectoring shuffles the distribution of power front-to-back and side-to-side to enhance cornering stability. Making good use of the sticky Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires wrapped around 22-inch wheels is a negative front-camber setting that supposedly aids in quick changes in direction. Keeping all the go-fast goodies in check is another acronym, the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake system.
Under the hood is an uprated 4.0-liter biturbo V8 packing 631hp and 850Nm. A speed of 100km/h is dispatched in a rather quick 3.3 seconds. Row through the eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox and the Turbo GT will find itself running out of breath at 300km/h. This weapons-grade powertrain is what allowed the vehicle to lap the Nordschleife in seven minutes and 38.9 seconds—making it the fastest SUV around the Green Hell. For comparison, the Turbo GT’s time is less than a minute off the 911 GT2 RS’s record of six minutes and 40.33 seconds.
Obviously, the Cayenne Turbo GT isn’t some stripped-down machine like the GT2 RS. There is plenty of room for cargo, Isofix seat anchors, and the all-new version of Porsche’s fancy infotainment system to keep the kids entertained with Baby Shark while blasting down the autobahn. But we highly suggest keeping the little ones away from crayons and markers, lest you have a hard time cleaning the Alcantara interior.
The Cayenne Turbo GT once again stirs up the performance-SUV wars with its record-breaking lap time. Brute power now comes bundled with excellent handling. Having learned its lesson almost 20 years ago, Porsche may have finally solved the problem of the fast crossover by making one that is truly capable of holding its own out on the track.