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When You Take The New Cayenne Off-Road

First Taste of The New Cayenne at PWRS 2018

​Being the only female driver on the track at Porsche World Road Show 2018 (PWRS 2018) is a lot of pressure considering it was only my second time on the track at Sepang. Thankfully, Porsche put us up at Sama-Sama Hotel the night before and this allowed me to calm myself down because the next morning, we were going to be putting a range of Porsches through a series of exercises. In total, I got to spend 10 hours with all of Porsche's models, except for the legendary 911 GT3 which was used only by instructors. I had the chance ​to experience some high performance driving activities, and this included the rare chance to push the limits of the German marque's iconic 911s, 718 Cayman and Boxter, the new Panamera, Macan and the new third-gen Cayenne, which was the main reason I was sent to attend PWRS 2018.

I started out first with the Cayenne Turbo S, and the first thing that struck me about the new Cayenne, is the accentuated new interior. The new interior is far more spacious than what it seemed from the outside. The leather upholstery appointment has certainly been enhanced, providing a more highlighted luxury feel. It is definitely the classiest interior I've seen in an SUV, and a very fresh take on Porsche's new SUV interior. 

Prior to sampling the Cayenne, "Classy" and "Vintage" were the words that come to mind in how I perceived the previous Cayenne's interior to be. This new Cayenne, has successfully shattered my old perception. It's now very modern and progressive with a highly intuitive infotainment system that to me, raises the cabin experience of the new Cayenne. It was quite an experience to be in this polished interior and take the Cayenne off-road as the day's proceedings progressed.

​It's a short distance from the track to the designated off-road testing terrain, and this gave me a chance to experience the Cayenne in a laidback, leisurely manner. This is where I realised that it has been designed with a higher seating position, even before some adjustments. I appreciated the cooling seats which made the hot weather that day all the more bearable. Immediately at that point, I couldn't picture any other better option to ferry a family out in because quite frankly, I can assure you there will be no complaints from the passengers at the back. It's extremely comfortable and legroom is extremely good too, unlike the previous Cayenne which might have been a little stingy with its space.

Once at the makeshift off-road test terrain, I was excited to really see what this new Cayenne was capable of. It was interesting to see some hesitancy from the Cayenne's ahead of me, as each driver seemed to be finding their wheels to take on the first hurdle of gravel and mud. In no time however, everyone was on their way across the terrain, and it was in this setting that I became even more impressed with the new Cayenne. This third-gen of the Cayenne comes with rear-axle steering, the first time ever for Porsche's big SUV range. The way the Cayenne crawled over the twists and turns out on the gravel was very impressive, its suspension and damper settings are all on point in an off-road setting. I can only imagine how well this machine handles on open roads.  

After traversing the gravel, our next task was to tilt the Cayenne to a 45-degree angle to further demonstrate it's four-wheel capabilities. I have to admit though, trying this exercise for the first time gave me the shivers, because of the awkward driving position. I was quite concerned about the cart flipping over at some point, but as we went along with the exercise, I realised that the Cayenne is such a stable SUV, even at this tilted angel. This is down to a host of settings and features in the new Cayenne: Porsche's 4D Chassis Control, three-chamber air suspension, the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) electronic roll stabilisation system, and the newly developed high-performance Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB). In fact, all of these working in tandem even allowed me to tilt the Cayenne slightly passed the 45-degree angle... until my car partner, a Mr Ong, shrieked a little. Nonetheless, it was so agile and stable on such an uneven surface.

I also got to put the Cayenne through a hill-climb exercise, where I had to fully rely on the vehicle's panorama camera to get a good 360-degree view of the surroundings. If you've experienced it before, at some hills, it is rather impossible to see what's in front from the windshield screen vantage, as the vehicle is facing up at almost 90-degrees. Here, we were instructed to switch on the Porsche Hill Control as we ascended. The cameras give you a good indication of what's in front, but I only realised how steep it was when I finally brought the Cayenne up to the peak of the makeshift hill, and my goodness, it was so steep!

From the peak, just as I was thinking of how to control the throttle properly to begin the descent, I hear the voice of my instructor from the walkie-talkie telling me to make sure that the Porsche Hill Control system is activated. He then told us to apply very little throttle and to take my feet off once the SUV started rolling down. To my surprise, the Cayenne descended the hill in a fairly slow and steady speed, all automatically. A red signal then notified me that it was safe to step on the throttle to a more even ground afterwards. 

By the end of my time with the third-gen Cayenne, I was completely impressed by its off-road capabilities, something I did not expect at all from a luxury SUV model range. In fact, all I've ever heard and read about the Cayenne prior to this sampling at PWRS 2018, is that, out on urban roads, it has always been the best-handling SUV in its class. I would definitely need more test time with this new Cayenne to see if that's true, but at least on an off-road obstacle course, it handles rather well. It is confident, agile and very intelligent in distributing its power to manage the SUV's weight via its all-wheel driving setup. 

​Overall though, this new generation Cayenne does not disappoint at all and it was thrilling to have the chance to sample it out on an off-road terrain. Thank you so much Porsche Malaysia for the opportunity, and to you dear reader, stick around, we'll be taking this baby out on a more in-depth review soon.