SINCE its global debut in 2002, the Porsche Cayenne has yet again continued its success as a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Sime Darby Auto Performance, the authorised distributor of the brand in Malaysia, organised a drive for members of the automotive fraternity to Ipoh, Perak in the latest locally-assembled facelifted Cayenne (E3).
Priced at RM599,999 and accompanied by a two-year warranty, the Cayenne boasts of an up-rated 3.0-litre (2,995cc) turbocharged V6 engine producing 353PS (+13PS) and 500Nm (+50Nm) of torque.
Managing power delivery is a smooth operating eight-speed automatic transmission that sends the twist to all four 20-inch Cayenne Design wheels to catapult this SUV from 0 to 100kph in 5.7 seconds.
Aside from the added power, there are also upgrades to the chassis system in the form of a dual-channel, dual-valve air suspension system.
Unlike most brands that attempt to provide comfort and sports, it usually emerges as a slightly softer version of the latter.
Here, the disparity is far larger, allowing the Cayenne to provide a plushness all by itself, far away from anything that would be deemed stiff.
Although the cabin is a familiar one to behold, those with a keen eye and/or fans of the brand will point out that the crisp graphics accorded by the curved 12.6-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment system hails from the Porsche Taycan.
Also included are a heads-up-display and a girthier steering wheel.
Additionally, the gear lever has been relocated to the dashboard just behind the left side of the steering wheel and making way for a dedicated climate control panel that sits just aft of the 15W wireless charger.
Doing so means that the Cayenne now places comfort above all else with such controls in easy reach.
Even if the suspension might be deemed soft when in Comfort Mode, there was no wallowing when soaking up undulations and taking in the bumps with very few infractions entering the cabin while on highways.
Opting for Sport/Sport+ mode will stiffen up the experience and sharpen the Cayenne’s steering feel and effectively swinging it to the other extreme of things and emerge as more communicative and engaging.
Perfect when faced with those moments of long twisted B-road stretches as we encountered.
There was also an opportunity to manhandle the Cayenne through some unpaved dirt roads and after elevating the air suspension to its highest setting, it couldn’t have been be more fun.
Considered to be more of a light off-road experience, the suspension simply takes in all the bumps without any adverse retorts from occupants.
On the contrary, it heralded more awe and astonishment.
Traditionally, a plush experience would usually be a harbinger of bounce.
Instead, the suspension provides added control and communicates itself rather well when inducing and correcting tail-happy moments while kicking up the dust through tight bends.
Even in such conditions, the front four- and rear two-piston callipers that bite the 350mm (front) and 330mm (rear) discs suggest that the driver can push the Cayenne to its limits on such surfaces and bleed speed effectively.
Little can seem to fault this particular SUV that’s keen on delivering a high dose of smiles per mile with its smooth operating transmission and copious amounts of comfort - yet still retain much of its sporty inheritance.
As the third model series to emerge after the venerable 911 and Boxster series, the Cayenne is as the brand claims as a serious all-rounder.
This SUV seems eager and competent on delivering what the driver demands through its versatility and capability, be it on tarmac or off-road.
Combined with a 772-litre boot (expandable to 1,708 litres), a 90-litre fuel tank, a 100kg load-bearing roof and a level of premium luxury that is infused with a strong sense of durability and reliability, there doesn’t seem to be a limit to where this Cayenne can venture.
With such high levels of abilities as a performance luxury SUV, it’ll bring forth pride for owners, admiration from bystanders and envy from the competition.
And while it emerges from the assembly line in Kulim, Kedah as the first Porsche to be built outside of Europe, the latest iteration of the Cayenne (E3) should be seen more as a rebirth than a revamp.
The Cayenne is also built in Porsche’s hometown of Stuttgart, Germany, as well as in the city of Leipzig and in Slovakia.