So what is it like to push and push hard? The GTS has one no extra cost option that literally does transform it from a soccer-mom special to a back-road burner-a six-speed manual transmission. Granted, only one in 30 GTSs are delivered with the do-it-yourself 'box, but it's the fact that they bothered at all for the small group of enthusiasts who would consider a Porsche Cayenne with a manual. It's a tiresome bore for stop-and-go commuting but excels over the slushbox in every other category. The wind-up through the revs matches the exhaust notes and meshes in a way one would not expect. Heel-toeing while gear jamming seems an unfamiliar concept in a Cayenne, but on the right road it is agile and exhilarating, so much so that it's easy to overlook what model Porsche is making those moves. -Kerry Morse

From The Hip
+ Porsche suspension, big brakes, manual transmission
- It's still a box

2008 Porsche Cayenne GTS
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive
4.8-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve
Six-speed manual
Peak Power: 405 hp @ 6500 rpm
Peak Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 3900 rpm
0-60 mph: 5.7 sec.
Top Speed: 157 mph
Economy: 11 city/17 hwy

Price as Tested: $90,190

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