On the Road or off the road, Porsche lets their customers decide
Text: Hani Mustafa Photos: Various Sources
The Automotive brand, Porsche is well known around the world for their iconic sports cars, – The Carrera, Boxster, Cayman et al. But when they decided to make a Sports Utility Vehicle to cater to growing demands globally, everybody got curious. How can a sports car manufacturer build SUV’s? It’s just not their “Pint of Beer”, pun intended. But, then the Cayenne was born and all those voices have been silenced long since then. The Cayenne was then later followed by the Porsche Macan, which too has proved successful for the Automotive marquee. Both these SUVs defy gravity and has been proving Physics wrong when it comes to their driving dynamics. But its Off-road capabilities were unknown to their customers and the world. So Porsche India conducts off-road programs around the country to showcase the off-road capabilities of their SUVs. The Porsche off-road experience program was conducted in Kochi, Kerala in front of an excited crowd.
Offroad Training Simplified
As we walked onto the course, we were briefed extensively on how we should tackle this course. A detailed briefing, conducted by Porsche India Officials was exemplary. As the drive started, we had to make some changes to the settings. Primarily, there is an off-road button on the centre console which automatically adjusts the vehicle dynamics specific for the terrain we were driving. The air-suspension electronically changes to its maximum height setting. Then putting the car into Drive mode and releasing the brakes was all that was left.
Luxury – Why Not Off Road Too?
Begin Stage 1, the Pot-Hole section, designed to test the suspension setup and comfort levels of the SUV, the Cayenne felt like a hot knife through butter, however the four wheel drive was what we wanted to know more and the was the Axle Articulation stage. The Four-wheel drive setup on the Cayenne helps it maintain traction even when two wheels are airborne. The four wheel drive system cleverly transfers power to the wheel which has maximum grip. It all depends on how we provide the throttle inputs, as we have to be very light footed to maintain the correct momentum to keep going forward. It was a truly powerful experience for both the driver and co-passengers.
Confidence All Around
The Slip Slope Stage, with the car at a sideways gradient to the road was in store for us as we entered Stage 3, which had two obstacles in itself. Slip Slope (positive) was easy for the Cayenne as we have to give the throttle inputs slowly. At the maximum slope we can feel that the Cayenne is rock solid and it can be pushed a little bit more. Exit this and Slip Slope (Negative) was awaiting this beast. The right side of the car is going over an incline and this one is a curve. Once you start driving over the initial slope it gets pretty easy. We can’t see the road so we have to follow the instruction of the Marshals over a Walkie-talkie.
The Cayenne Knows It All
Amazed by the ease with which the Cayenne handled the last 4, the Hill Descent hurdle looked like a piece of cake to us. This specific test was created mainly to flaunt the exemplary control of the SUV. The principle is that the vehicle maintains required braking as we go down the incline and I don’t need to use the brake. Very easy, Right? I just had to hold on to the wheel. The Cayenne simply rolls down at a pre set speed limit. That was fun!! Initially it was tough for me to give full control to the system as it is wired and they told me not to use brake pedal going down the hill. But the system proved that it knows best & took the vehicle down without any fuss whatsoever.
Four Wheel or Three
I was enjoying this so much that I didn’t realize we had reached the last few stages. The Axle twister, as the name suggests is quite a challenge in itself, hence put second to the last. Here, one wheel would be going into a dip while the other wheel remains airborne. This one was also piece of cake for the mighty Cayenne. I had to just give proper steering inputs and follow the Marshals guidelines. The Grand Finale was the tough one, codenamed – The Side Trench, put my driving skill to the test. Challenge: – Drive down a dip at an angle. As we go in, the right rear wheel will be in the air and we come out, the only thing we see is the blue open Sky as the angle was pretty steep. The throttle and steering inputs need to be precise, or you can’t exit properly from the ditch. After completing the course, I was totally blown away by the capabilities of the Cayenne. It can match any sports car on the track and also be truly fun off the tarmac. The versatility is simply great and it’s a good alternative for people who are looking for great performance on-road and also weekend fun by going off-road.
After the Cayenne, it was time for me to tackle the course with the Macan, the smaller of two SUVs. The Macan was compact in size compared to Cayenne and we could feel that the obstacles were easier for the Macan. The feel from both cars are almost similar. Just like in the Cayenne, we just need to press the off-road mode button to ready the Macan. Compared to Cayenne, the Macan feels more light and nimble when going over obstacles especially over Axle articulation and Axle twister. The clever off-road system works just like on Cayenne. Even though the Porsche Macan is not as powerful as the Cayenne it was not felt on the track and the power was always enough as the torque was always there to pull you out of any situation. Overall, it was a fun-filled day as I got to do some off-roading with two pretty expensive cars. When we compare the both, the Cayenne is better as it’s a much bigger SUV and comes loaded with lots more features and powerful engines, but at a premium price-tag.
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