Featured Rides

New to stable: 2014 Cayenne GTS

If you follow me on Instagram than chances are you’ve already seen it, but I’m proud to officially share with everyone my new ride: a 2014 Porsche Cayenne GTS!

As I mentioned in my post about selling my TTRS, the main motivator for getting a new car was needing more space for a growing family.

I picked it up with 64K miles on the clock in a spec that took several weeks to find and had to be shipped from out of state – Jet Black with a Carrera Red Leather interior. Originally stickered at $106K, I acquired it for $38,700 after some shrewd negotiation along with a healthy amount of depreciation.

I’ve included the dealer pics below, but look forward to a lot better pictures (and write-ups) to come in the next few months!

Why did I get a Cayenne?

Naturally a SUV was an obvious choice, although I also considered performance sedans and wagons.

From the performance sedan category, I also strongly considered an Audi RS7 and Alfa Romeo Guila Quadrifoglio. Both are great, exciting cars, but my wife drives a relatively small car (Ford Focus Hatchback) and I figured we would need and want at least one SUV in the family. Additionally, both are still relatively expensive used, with most examples in the mid 40K range or higher.

A performance wagon would have been my first preference, but options are sorely lacking. Audi hasn’t had a performance wagon since the B7 S4 (the current Allroad is nice, but not sporty enough IMO), and I didn’t want something that old. The E63 AMG wagon was a top contender, but finding one 2014 or newer was largely out of my budget unless I considered one with very high miles. Lastly a CTS-V wagon would be great, but again due to rarity of performance wagons there are few used examples available and those that are for sale command quite a premium over their sedan counterparts.

Alas, SUV time it was.

Instead of fighting it, I embraced the idea of SUV life.

Coming from a two door sports car with a laughable back seat, I am enjoying all of the extra space a SUV comes with.

So I set a budget of $40K (about what my TTRS is worth) and began my search for the ultimate performance-oriented SUV that fit my priorities of sportiness, space, and nice interior.

Best SUV Options under $40K

When choosing an SUV, I considered a handful of rivals:

  • Audi SQ5 or Q7: I was looking for something larger than the SQ5, but there isn’t really a sport variant of the Q7. If Audi sold the RSQ5 or even an SQ7 in America, I may have stuck with the brand – but nothing really fit the bill for me of performance & value.
  • Mercedes GLE/ML63 or G55: While I love both of these choices, the G wagon is still too slow and clunky coming from a 500 whp TTRS, and while the GLE63 is more nimble, it lacks the wow factor.
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvia Quadrifoglio: Honestly this was my favorite SUV I drove, but the most expensive. Used examples are very rare, and with reliability concerns a plenty, buying used was also a bigger risk.
  • BMW X3M or X5M: These were great choices, but after being an Audi guy for so long I just couldn’t bring myself to try them out. Surprisingly the X5M is more expensive than the Cayenne GTS/Turbo when they are similar years/miles.

After spending a few months watching the market, I settled on the Porsche Cayenne. The next question was which one?

958 Cayenne GTS vs Turbo (S)

With a budget of $40K or less, it meant I was most likely getting a 958.1 (2011-2014) Cayenne. If I wanted a newer model, that meant I had to sacrifice a lot of the options and added HP and going to a base model V6, and that was just something I wasn’t prepared to do.

If you don’t want the base, that leaves you with three trim levels: the GTS, Turbo, and Turbo S.

Naturally I did what any reasonable car person would do and drove all three, and then scoured the internet to confirm or disprove my opinions.

The GTS won out, and here’s why:

The Turbo costs roughly the same amount (or very close) and has more horsepower. With a tune, you can dial up the power even more, making it seem like the natural choice for me; however, after driving both the GTS and Turbo the power difference felt negligible at best, and the GTS had a much more complete package – better exterior appearance (including paint matched wheel arches, extended side skirts, special rear bumper), much sportier interior, better sounding exhaust, lowered suspension, and many other special features. Most automotive journalists who did a similar comparison came to the same conclusion; the GTS was the one to get.

The Turbo S was also briefly considered, but it offers a mere 40-50 hp more than the the Turbo (which could be achieved by simply tuning a regular Turbo with an aftermarket chip) but costs an extra $10-15K more. The extra cost is primarily due to rarity and prestige, and that wasn’t something I was wiling to pay such a premium for.

Cool Options & Specs for the GTS

Alas, I confirmed the GTS was for me and spent a few months finding the perfect example.

Sadly most GTSs are black or white and few have an interesting exterior finish. There was a color called Peridot Green but they are hard to find and pretty polarizing, and there are a handful of paint to sample or custom ordered Cayennes in the US, but by and large they are near impossible to find in any other color but shades of grey.

I settled on having a boring exterior color, but seeking out a Carrera Red interior to make it more unique – I simply love how this looks.

Other options that were must haves in my book were:

  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Porsche Entry & Drive (keyless entry)
  • Lane Change Assist
  • 21″ SportDesign wheels in Black with silver lip/ring
  • PCM / Navigation

Nice to haves include Adaptive Cruise Control and ventilated seats.

With all of these requirements in mind, it narrowed down my search to just two cars in the US, neither of which were remotely near me…but I didn’t let that stop me and purchased a car site unseen after a little haggling and a PPI, then had the car shipped to me here in San Diego.

I immediately called my friend to take it out for a dinner and cruise through La Jolla, elated at the experience of having a German V8 back in my garage after a long hiatus since the B7 S4 left.

First Impressions of the 958 Cayenne GTS

Just two days after receiving the car my wife and I embarked upon a road trip up the California coast that covered over 1,000 miles of driving within a week – and I can’t think of a better car for it.

What I love most about the car is how versatile it is. The factory air suspension is surprisingly good and you can lower or raise the car as well as change the firmness from comfort, normal, or sport. Likewise you can adjust the ECU tune to be normal or sport, and separately open up up the exhaust flaps.

So far I’ve found my favorite setting is comfort suspension, open exhaust flap, but normal tune for daily driving.

The interior is super nice and comfortable, and I love all of the extra features like heated and cooled seats, the panoramic sunroof, and even that quirky little sport chrono clock that tells me what second it is.

On the outside it still has wow factor, especially with the 21″ wheels, and I enjoy looking back at it every time I park. The only downside is the ride is definitely harsher with the 21″ wheels, and the car would benefit from bigger sidewalls.

I got an impressive 20 mpg during the trip and that included some spirited driving as well as plenty of stops along the way.

Reliability wise the car has been fine too, with just one minor issue with the HVAC plug being clogged and causing the carpets to get wet.

Initial Mods to the GTS?

I said I wouldn’t mod this car as I need to keep it family friendly (and I have a tendency to get carried away on past cars!)…but in just over a month I’ve already done a few items, which you’ll see blogged about soon:

  • OEM Rubber Floor mats
  • Bumper Plugs for front plate delete
  • Wheel touch-up paint
  • Magnetic phone mount
  • Paint correction & ceramic coating
  • Replacement painted key surround on Amazon
  • CA Heritage Plates (Black license plates)

There are a few other mods I have in mind including secondary cat bypass to enhance the sound (and free up a little HP) as well as lowering links to lower the ride height some.

Unfortunately, a tune doesn’t produce much for the naturally aspirated (non-turbo) GTS, and doesn’t seem worth the money for a negligible power increase and possible reliability issues downstream.

I’m also on the hunt for new brake pads that are ceramic based and produce less dust, as I’ve noticed the OE pads are both higher dust and lower bite than I’m accustomed to, which is consistent with Audi’s OEM brake pads too.

The GTS already comes with a lot of factory enhancements so I don’t foresee a lot of additional mods out the gate, but I’m excited to learn about the platform and see what else there is!

What about the TTRS?

It’s still for sale, but with the economy and current Coronavirus scare, the market for two door sports cars as has really slowed down. I will likely be keeping it until market conditions improve, and potentially parting out my modifications down the road. I’ve already sold my rare Euro Recaro Sportbacks and OSIR front splitter, but many other parts are still available.

If you are interested or know anyone who is, a finder’s fee is available. Have them email me at cars @ nickroshon.com.

Nick Roshon

Nick has been an Audi owner and fanatic for the last 10 years, and started Nick's Car Blog in 2009 to share DIYs and pictures of his A4. Currently he drives a 2012 Audi TT-RS, and has previously owned a B7 S4, B7 A4, and an 82 Audi Coupe (GT) LeMons race car. In his day job, Nick is a digital marketer and lives in San Diego, CA, USA.

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