The Turbo GT is, in short, a beast. It’s the car that recently set a new SUV lap record of 7:38.9 seconds at the Nürburgring before anyone knew what Porsche was going to shoot at it. Porsche also says that the Turbo GT can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, one-tenth faster than the Porsche 911 GT3 and just one-tenth more diminutive than the 911 GT3 RS. Apology
We admit that closed-road superlatives don’t have much real-world relevance aside from bragging rights, but they’re not kidding. The Cayenne Turbo GT demonstrated an astonishing abundance of speed, balance, and excellent grip in another blast of the week along the Angeles Crest Highway. This mountain road is essentially a cut and open “straight” Nürburgring circuit, but more than twice as long, with ramps on the sides and circular skid marks instead of the cheeky graffiti painted on the asphalt. The point is, the Turbo GT was also a perfectly suited daily driver for city living on less-than-ideal roads close to home.
Before we go too far, the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT will only be available in the Cayenne Coupe when it hits showrooms early next year. We are told that this is precisely why the word “coupe” does not appear in the car’s name. If they had a coupe in the name, they would ask people to order a Turbo GT with a square-back body shape, and there isn’t one.
It would be an exaggeration to say that a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 powers the Turbo GT. With 631 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque, this engine is the most powerful V8 in the Porsche lineup. They did this by installing new turbos with larger compressor wheels, reducing the V8’s compression ratio from 10.1 to 9.7 to 1, and increasing the boost from 21 to 23 psi. In addition, there are revised intake and intercooler systems that can handle more air and new injectors that can provide additional fuel. Finally, they installed a new crankshaft on the lower decks, connecting rods, pistons, and a timing chain to withstand the added stress.
On paper, the changes are 90 horsepower and 59 pound-feet in the Biturbo V8 that powers the Cayenne Turbo. Sure, the Turbo S E-hybrid is rated at 670 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, but that’s when the electric side can kick in on a fully charged battery. It runs on the same 541-hp, 567-pound-foot V8 engine as the regular Cayenne Turbo on pure gasoline. On top of that, the Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe weighs 673 pounds more than the Turbo GT, and that extra bulk limits its 0-60 mph maximum throttle effort to 3.6 seconds, not to mention its overall dynamics.
The result is a big bump that you can feel when you’re lying on the throttle, but it’s also trackable, accurate, and ultimately responsive when you turn it around corners due to the effort that goes into keeping the turbines rolled up. Not in a rush? Penalty fee. High power driving attributes do not appear in normal mode. However, if you’re slowing down and anticipating a sudden need to accelerate on the go, the GT’s Sports Chrono dial has a red sport response button that acts as a push to overtake. Pressing it sets the transmission in the lowest gear most appropriate for your current speed and improves all other systems. You have 20 seconds to work, after which the previous settings are resumed.
Immense power and torque gains don’t mean much if you can’t put it on the ground or make corners, and that’s where Porsche paid a lot of attention to the Turbo GT’s tires and suspension. The Turbo GT is also based on specially developed 22-inch Pirelli P-Zero Corsa tires with a wear index of just 80. GT tires share a 285mm front tread and a rear tread width of 315mm for the Cayenne’s 21-inch Turbo setup, but the profiles here are five points lower (285/35 and 315/30) due to the larger wheels. And the wheels themselves are wider: 10.5 inches instead of 9.5 at the front and 11.5 inches instead of 11 at the rear. In addition, the negative front camber has been increased by 0.45 degrees to take advantage of the other stick.
Other changes include a 17mm reduction in ride height compared to the Turbo, equating to a 7mm drop for the GTS because it is 10mm lower than the Turbo. They also increased the effective spring rate of the three-chamber air suspension by about 15% and recalibrated the PASM adaptive damping to suit. Finally, in a less obvious step, they developed a unique hydro cooling system.
All of Porsche’s performance options are here, but to limit your exposure to the Porsche Abbreviated Alphabet Soup (PAAS), we’ll focus on the non-standard Turbo Coupe options. Most have been similarly recalibrated to account for the added strength and grip. These will be rear-axle steering (RAS), additional torque vectoring (PTV +), dynamic chassis control system (PDDC) for active anti-roll bars, and solid carbon-ceramic (PCCB) brake discs mounted with ten front pistons and rear piston calipers.
It all comes together when you hit the Turbo GT in a corner. Brake action is instantaneous but fully controllable, and the steering arches are precisely deflected. The PDCC nearly neutralizes the body’s rocking sensation while building and strengthening the Corsa’s grip. Go in very hot, and your line will bend precisely when you feel comfortable. The Turbo GT seems to shrink around you, and it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you’re in an SUV. It was so good that we assumed it would be excruciatingly rough around the city, but it wasn’t. The standard rear-wheel steering is an advantage even in tight spaces.
Much of that feel comes from the massive grip and power, but at 5,000 pounds, the Turbo GT is also relatively light. Not only is it 673 pounds lighter than the Turbo S E-hybrid, but it’s also 24 pounds lighter than the Cayenne Turbo Coupe. It might not sound like much, but consider the additional standard parts:
- Taller and wider wheels
- Larger intercoolers
- Water-cooled AWD
- All the traditional P shortened chassis systems
There are also bodywork changes, such as a sculpted nose, more prominent wheel arch moldings, standard end panels on the roof spoiler, and a taller Gurney Flap on the adaptive rear wing.
Some counterweight loss comes from the standard carbon-ceramic brakes, but a large part comes from the standard (and Turbo GT exclusive) titanium tailpipes, rear silencers, and tailpipes. In addition, the steel section upstream from the center part of the car forward is lighter because the GT lacks cross tubes and center silencers. The additional savings are far more significant as the standard Lightweight Sport package offers a carbon-fiber roof and a carbon fiber rear diffuser.
There are some negatives, but if you ask us, many are positives if you want a Turbo GT for what it can do. You cannot choose with a panoramic glass roof—penalty fee. Too much weight is high. You cannot select fund deposits. Good. See “Please wait” in the logo above. You can’t tow a trailer or even have a bike rack hitch. Meh. Don’t get a Cayenne coupe if you want to.
Some of the downsides are real downsides or at least worth thinking about before you withdraw your wallet. The adaptive spoiler is very long when it is on, and it is always on when you are driving on the highway. Since the roof spoiler also intrudes from above, the rearview through the center mirror is horrible. You probably don’t need maximum downforce at 75 mph, but we haven’t found an easy way to lower it.
Porsche 911 GT2 customers may intuitively know the next customer, but SUV buyers can be busy. The P-Zero Corsas is impressive, but its 80 rating means you can replace it every time you change your oil. And don’t even think about bad weather. The Terriac classifies the Corsa as a “racetrack” tire and even suggests caution in calm waters. They went on to say, “The Pirelli warranty does not cover tires that cause compound cracking due to use in ambient temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.” So you may need a second set of wheels and some winter tires. Porsche says its 21-inch winter setup for the Cayenne Turbo will fit oversized PCCB brakes, so that’s it.
Now you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the base price is QAR 66,3026, including destination. That includes a lot, and there are no performance options. Our test car had $ 26,700 in various other options that brought the price up to $ 208,850. Most were finish and color improvements, including $ 1,500 to paint the wheels and calipers gloss black. The Burmeister stereo cost $ 5,810, and the quartet of high-end security options cost another $ 8,950.
If you can buy a 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, you won’t be disappointed at all. It is a legitimate killer among SUVs, a vehicle that has been optimized from top to bottom to deliver incredible performance.