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2009 Porsche Cayenne GTS (photos)

The GTS is Porsche's street-oriented Cayenne, a model with more horsepower and a lower suspension of the standard version. It delivers on a promise of sports car handling in an SUV.

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Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET
The Porsche Cayenne embodies many of the virtues of Porsche cars in an SUV body. Porsche also finds the Cayenne a more reliable seller than its sports cars. The GTS model, intended for street use, sits lower than the standard Cayenne.
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The Cayenne's styling is very unique for an SUV, incorporating design language borrowed from Porsche's sports cars.
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The Cayenne GTS uses the same 4.8-liter V-8 as the standard Cayenne, but Porsche tweaks it for an extra 20 horsepower, up to 405. Fuel economy is poor, though, at 11 mpg city and 17 mpg highway.
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Typical for an SUV, the Cayenne GTS seats five with ample cargo area in back.
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The GTS uses big six piston brake calipers in front, painted red and sporting the Porsche name.
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All Cayennes use an air suspension, including the GTS. We noticed plenty of lean in hard cornering, but that can be corrected with an optional dynamic handling package.
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The rear cargo area is sized appropriately for a five-seater SUV. There is no third row seat option.
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Along with its sport reputation, Porsche also maintains a high level of luxury. The interior of the Cayenne reflects that luxury with fine materials throughout.
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The steering wheel's triangular hub hold buttons along the lower two sides for audio and phone control.
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For a sport-oriented SUV, the tachometer is surprisingly small in the instrument cluster. The center display shows information about trip, music, and navigation.
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It is rare to see a manual transmission in an SUV. This one has very close ratios, but the shifter itself is too long for fast gear changes.
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Porsche fitted the 2009 Cayenne with a whole new cabin tech suite, called the Porsche Communication Manager (PCM). This one uses a hard drive for maps and music.
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The new PCM integrates traffic information with the navigation system, dynamically avoiding trouble spots.
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This new PCM uses a touchscreen, making destination entry easy.
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A Bluetooth phone system is part of the new PCM. It downloads phone contact lists to display on the LCD.
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This optional interface lets you connect iPods, USB drives, and 1/8th inch audio jacks to the stereo.
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The Bose audio system produces a well-balanced sound, although bass is under emphasized.

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