Jaguar and Porsche prove that an elevated center of gravity and a mainstream mission need not preclude a serious sense of fun.
In an industry that lives and dies by the sales of Camrys and pickup trucks, advocating for enthusiasts sometimes feels like standing in a raging river and shouting at it to reverse course. Manual transmissions are slipping toward oblivion. Fuel-economy regulations are driving diversity from manufacturers’ engine portfolios, replacing it with efficient homogeneity. And perhaps most worrying is the proliferation of crossovers. They’re like an algal bloom threatening to choke out all other life-forms in the interest of easy ingress and a commanding driver’s position.
But a few shafts of light have started to pierce the heavy blanket of crossover conformity. Porsche’s first glimmer of hope, the Cayenne, dates to before most people realized the market potential of a high-performance crossover. In its first year on the market, the Cayenne became Porsche’s best-selling model. The creators of the Pink Pig learned lessons from their new 5000-pound supersow, and the smaller, Audi Q5–based Macan has already dethroned the Cayenne as the brand’s sales leader. The example tested here is the new-for-2017 GTS, which splits the difference between the $55,450, 340-hp S model and the $77,050, 400-horse Turbo.
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