The 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT holds the world record for being the fastest SUV around the Nürburgring – one of the most notoriously challenging racetracks in the world.
As the universal yardstick by which many serious performance vehicles are judged, this is a massive accomplishment for Porsche, which was ridiculed once upon a time for introducing the Cayenne in the first place.
This SUV went on to give new life to Porsche, winning over skeptics with the flawless performance and prestige the brand is known for. As the most powerful Cayenne ever, and the one that sits at the very top of Porsche’s SUV lineup, the Turbo GT model is as impressive as its Nürburgring record suggests.
The 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 powering the Cayenne Turbo GT is phenomenal, and Porsche has tuned it to have an even bigger punch than the one in the “regular” Cayenne Turbo. With 631 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque, it beats the Turbo’s already monstrous output by 90 hp and 59 lb-ft. When I drove the “slower” Cayenne Turbo Coupe, I called it “blindingly quick” and “brutally fast,” not knowing that Porsche planned to somehow improve on that, but here we are.
The Turbo GT, then, feels like it has enough brute force to slingshot you into outer space. If numbers are more your style, the sprint from zero to 100 km/h happens in a violent 3.3 seconds, which is mind-blowing if you consider that this is a huge SUV and not a tiny little electric sports car. During my week with this super SUV, I lived in constant fear of lurking speed traps, and driving it was a massive test of my self control.
And in typical Porsche fashion, the rest of the Cayenne Turbo GT’s powertrain is flawless. Its eight-speed automatic transmission fires off whip-crack shifts smoothly and intuitively. I’d often be cruising on the highway in eighth gear and would simply think about passing someone, and the transmission would drop immediately into third gear, unleashing furious sound and speed. All-wheel drive is standard, but its rear-biased setup helps it feel more like a sports car than a sport utility.
Driving Feel: 9.5/10
Once again, the crazy engineers at Porsche have worked some kind of NASA-level witchcraft to make this SUV feel like it defies the laws of physics. Hustling through corners, it feels much smaller and lighter than vehicles half its size, with its rear-axle steering putting in work to make the Cayenne extremely nimble and confident.
Whipping through corners faster than I have ever driven, the Cayenne Turbo GT still felt like it had so much more to offer and could be pushed so much harder before even breaking a sweat. The SUV stays remarkably flat and composed, except for when the rear end does a little wiggle with the traction control dialled down to remind you of its immense power. Even so, you never feel like you’re going to lose control, because the way it drives is so predictable and confident that it makes you feel like a way more skilled driver than you actually are.
While the steering feel is a highlight – it’s precise, responsive, and heavy, making you feel in full control – the sound of the exhaust is what kept me acting like a ghoul. There’s almost nothing in the automotive world that sounds better than a twin-turbo V8, and the way the exhaust burbles, howls, and pops will be the biggest test of your self control. Behind the wheel of the Cayenne Turbo GT with the titanium exhaust wide open, I felt like I became possessed by Satan himself, barking at other drivers to get out of my way and laughing maniacally every time I stabbed the throttle to unleash the Turbo GT’s apoplectic-sounding war call.
Porsche’s world-class ceramic composite brakes are standard, and they provide immense and consistent stopping power without being too grabby. Some performance brakes are squeaky before you warm them up, but these are perfect from the start.
Despite all of this, some Porsche purists still aren’t sold on the Cayenne, and while I do understand where they’re coming from, I don’t think their hesitation is fair. No, even at this level, the Cayenne Turbo GT does not feel anything close to a 911 or a 718 Cayman – there’s a level of visceral engagement that’s missing in the Cayenne because those sports cars allow you to feel everything in a way a huge SUV simply isn’t able to.
As a performance car, the Cayenne needs to make some sacrifices because it still has to be an SUV, but Porsche people can rest easy because the Cayenne Turbo GT overcomes most of those compromises to the point that it has its Nürburgring record, which is, I repeat, an immense accomplishment. (Fun fact: the last-generation 911 GT2 RS holds the record currently for being the fastest production car around the ‘Ring, so Porsche holds two important records.)
The Cayenne Turbo GT is not just impressive as a performance SUV; it’s impressive as a performance vehicle, period. Even if it doesn’t feel as involving as a traditional sports car, it still has the credentials and performance to impress.
Most SUV coupes look entirely awkward, but Porsche’s Cayenne Coupe is the rare exception because it looks correct. This tester’s gorgeous custom metallic green paint colour looks expensive because it is expensive (Porsche charges $13,050 for custom paint). Combined with generous amounts of carbon fibre bodywork and the matte gold 22-inch wheels that are exclusive to the Cayenne Turbo GT, this SUV looks like money.
The interior is rather serious, but painstakingly built and lavishly covered in synthetic suede. The only part that annoys me is how quickly and obviously the black shiny panel for the touch-capacitive buttons gets unbearably dusty.
Despite its performance credentials, the Cayenne Turbo GT is still well-suited for regular life and is not at all punishing to drive during a boring commute when you aren’t racing around playing catch-me-if-you-can. Its adaptive air suspension manages to be both comfortable and smooth over rough roads and yet incredibly adept at maintaining absolute composure while blasting through corners. I appreciate that duality. The seats are also excellent and offer great support for both spirited drives and long cruises.
User Friendliness: 8/10
I’m very grateful that Android Auto is now included, even though it requires a wired connection. Apple CarPlay is wireless. While Android Auto makes great use of screen real estate, I’d love to see more thorough integration to make better use of features. For example, I’d love to be able to see navigation instructions in the head-up display when using Google Maps.
Otherwise, the touchscreen is crisp, responsive, and easy to navigate, and I appreciate shortcut buttons on the centre console, but don’t love that they’re touch capacitive.
The Cayenne Turbo GT is exclusively available as an SUV coupe, which inherently comes with less space than the conventional SUV body style. Still, the fact that this SUV holds a Nürburgring record but is also capable of carrying 482 L of cargo and 1,464 L with the seats folded is hilarious. As an SUV, it’s not super practical, but as a performance vehicle, it holds a ton more than a 911’s frunk. There’s barely any small-item storage inside, but it’s probably better because the way I was driving, stuff would be flying all over the cabin.
Most of the included features are meant for enhancing performance and not convenience or comfort, so if you’re looking for fancy tech to brag about, it’s going to cost a lot extra. At this level, there are glaring omissions from the Cayenne’s usual standard feature list like ventilated seats, a top-down parking camera, and many safety and driver assistance items.
For those same reasons, there are barely any advanced safety features included as standard, so if you want them, you have to add them on as options. I’m firm in my belief that certain safety features should be included as standard no matter a vehicle’s price or purpose.
Fuel Economy: 7/10
The Cayenne Turbo GT is officially rated to get 16.8 L/100 km in the city, 12.4 on the highway, and 14.8 combined of the best 93-octane fuel you can afford.
Over 760 km of what we’ll call vigorous testing that included an embarrassing amount of unwholesome behaviour combined with a spoonful of sensible highway travel, my final tally was 14.1 L/100 km. If you want a ridiculous twin-turbo V8 and the satanic exhaust note that comes with it, be ready to become pals with your local gas station attendant.
The 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT starts at an eye-watering $200,700 before any options or the $1,750 delivery fee and $1,750 excise tax. With all the options and fees added in, this model ends up costing nearly $240,000. You’re paying handsomely for bragging rights (the ability to talk about the Nürburgring record at dinner parties), a lot of carbon fibre, flawless performance, and undeniable prestige. If that’s important to you and you have the means, I see no reason that the high price should deter you, but the “regular” Cayenne Turbo is already so excellent and offers capability beyond most drivers’ skill levels that I’d also be totally happy with that model and saving more than $50,000 in the process.
I’m also gooped that a $200,000 vehicle doesn’t come standard with ventilated seats and certain active safety features. I understand that many features that add weight and don’t improve performance will be sacrificed in a lot of supercars and sports cars, but as an SUV (and especially one with a GT badge), comfort and daily livability must still be a consideration. I’m also clearly approaching this as a not-rich person, so maybe just ignore me because it’s possible I’m just jealous I can’t afford it.
Ever the pioneering automaker, Porsche now sets the standard for SUVs built by sports car makers. With every sports car maker from Lotus to Ferrari coming out with an SUV soon, the Cayenne Turbo GT sets the bar high, giving them lots to live up to. They have big, fat tire marks to fill.
Even for a Porsche purist, the Cayenne Turbo GT checks all the boxes: as a daily driver, it’s fabulous; as a performance vehicle, it’s exciting and impressive; and as a Porsche, it has the undeniable prestige you can be proud of. In a perfect one-car garage, if you have the money, this is a fantastic SUV to spend it on.
|Engine Cylinders||Twin-turbo V8|
|Peak Horsepower||631 hp|
|Peak Torque||626 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||16.8 / 12.4 / 14.8 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||482 / 1,464 L seats up/down|
|Model Tested||2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT|
|Price as Tested||$229,010|
$26,460 – Paint to sample, $13,050; Exclusive Design fuel cap, $190; Comfort Access, $1,080; Heatable Windscreen, $560; Lane Change Assist, $1,090; LED Headlights in Black with Dynamic Light System, $660; 4-Zone Climate Control, $1,130; Soft Close Doors, $880; Surround View, $1,360; Adaptive Cruise Control, $3,760; Remote Park Assist, $1,830; Ambient Lighting, $500; Puddle Lights, $370