When a company like Porsche invites you over to the racetrack and says that you will be driving its vehicles all-day long, the models which you will be expecting to get your hands on are obviously the performance based ones rather than SUVs and large sedans, which are more likely to be used as shuttle vehicles for visitors.
However, when we visited the Sepang International Circuit last month for the Porsche World Roadshow 2016, one of the exercises in which we were required to participate was an “off-road” session, which took us by surprise.
Come on, who would go to SIC for off-road lessons, right? Plus, this was Porsche of all the brands.
And then, when the time came, we headed to a purpose-built off-road course within the motocross track at the Sepang International Circuit to witness the off-road capabilities of the Cayenne – something that often goes unmentioned – first hand.
The off-road session comprised a few exercises for the Cayenne such as driving through massive inclines, on a 45-degree hill climb and hill descent, as well as through a diagonal surface.
There were six units of Cayennes comprising the Diesel, Turbo, S, and also the base variant for this exercise. However, it didnt really matter which version we drove as they were all just as capable off-road. So, after a quick briefing from the instructors, we got into our respective Cayennes and went off the beaten track.
Although it is marketed as a premium urban SUV, what the Cayenne was capable of doing off-road was nothing short of impressive. All we had to do was jump into the driver’s seat, put the SUV in Off-Road mode, and turn on the Hill Control system and let it do the rest.
Once we turned the driver aids on, we raised the Cayenne’s air suspensions by 110mm to a full 268mm (32mm shorter than the Range Rover’s 300mm) to give it maximum ground clearance. After that, the Porsche Traction Management system worked its magic by deciding how much power each tyre needed while the rear differential was locked, and off we went.
First, we drove through a series of massive inclines where only two tyres were making contact with the surface at a time. Despite the extreme wheel articulation and it looked like we were hanging on to dear life from outside, things felt unbelievably comfortable and composed in the cabin.
After that, it was time to put the Hill Control system through a steep incline. Unlike most vehicles out there where the typical Hill-Descent Control will only hold a vehicle for a few seconds before it rolls down, Porsche’s system will keep holding the vehicle until the driver intervenes.
Now, the most interesting part about the off-road exercise was that the Cayenne aced it while sporting nothing more than low-profile road tyres. Maybe they were deflated a little for grip, but the point is that they were still road tyres.
Coming back to the question – Can a Porsche Cayenne be taken off-road? – Absolutely! Thanks to the air suspensions which translate to good ground clearance, Porsche Traction Management, the PDK gearbox, and of course, the driver aid systems.
As much as we were dreading the off-road session and thought that it would be a waste of time, it actually turned out to be one of the highlights of the day as many of those who were present were surprised at how capable the Cayenne is.
And while what we saw in Sepang was just a glimpse of the Cayenne's abilities, our colleagues took things to the next level with the Cayenne and Macan during the Porsche Adventure Drive in Cambodia.
So, yes, looking at how capable the Cayenne and the Macan are, It is no surprise that they are actually the brand’s global best sellers.
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