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The Porsche Cayenne Once Came With a Stick Shift and a V8

There was a time, many years ago, when Porsche did crazy things. Bright colors. Ridiculous interiors. Giant wings, back when you only heard about giant wings when your kid left a toy pterodactyl on the kitchen floor. See the used Porsche Cayenne models for sale near you

Now that Porsche is part of the Volkswagen Group, it seems like many of its wild-child days are over, but the last vestige of crazy will always be the first-generation Porsche Cayenne GTS. That’s because it was a 405-horsepower, V8-powered, all-wheel-drive luxury SUV –with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Here’s how it went down: The Cayenne came out in 2003, offered in Turbo and S guise — both of which were only sold with an automatic transmission. In 2004, a base-level V6 model came out and it offered three pedals for the real driving enthusiast. Unfortunately, it also only offered 240 hp, for the real nerve-wracking highway merging enthusiast.

And so, the GTS came to the rescue. It debuted in 2008, and it offered big wheels, and suede seat inserts, and a giant, growling, 405-hp V8 and — yes — a 6-speed manual transmission. Crazier than this is the fact that some people actually bought this vehicle. In fact, as I write this now, there are currently nine of these stick-shift Porsche Cayenne GTS models listed on Autotrader, with an average price of $33,800.

Interestingly, I’ve actually driven this vehicle, and it was surprisingly fun to pilot — mainly because you dive into a corner, foot on the clutch, downshifting, revving up the engine to prepare for the exit, and then you look in the mirror and realize: I could have a ficus in here. Find a used Porsche Cayenne for sale


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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. I have a 2009 GTS 6-speed. It’s stupid fast and corners pretty well for something so massive. But, it has some quirks. It’s not a good manual. The shifter is not ideally located, requiring me to hunch my right shoulder because it’s a little too close and a little too far aft. You cannot have anything in the cupholders and shift well. 1st gear is useless unless you’re towing. It’s way oversprung, so that “comfort” mode is uncontrolled bouncy and sport mode is kidney shattering. Tires are crazy expensive and not easy to find locally in a jam even in a major metropolitan area. It gets 14 mpg, highway.

    But, it looks great and goes like stink.
    • E46 M3 sellers seem to be the worst at this.  They will even describe the SMG as some sort of extra amazing manual option.

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