Easy to forget how capable it is.
When the Porsche Cayenne was launched in 2002, it redefined what an SUV could be capable of. It looked like a big, lumbering, top-heavy beast of a thing, and yet the handling wasn’t that far off what you’d expect from a good sports sedan.
The Cayenne Turbo added a huge dose of speed to the mix, too. With a pair of blowers strapped to the 4.5-liter V8 motor, it mustered 450 horsepower (331 kilowatts) and 460 pound-feet of torque (620 Newton meters), enough for a 0 to 60 miles-per-hour time of around five seconds (0 to 100 kilometers-per-hour in 5.3 seconds) and a top speed of 165 mph (265 km/h).
Despite Porsche purists being greatly offended by it, the Cayenne was an immediate success. Rightly or wrongly (probably rightly) it soon acquired a reputation as being a favorite of well-to-do suburban soccer moms. Even the Turbo. And so, like the Mazda Miata before it, the people who bought the Cayenne kind of obscured how capable a car it is. Not just on road, but off road, too.
While it’s not unstoppable as a Range Rover is when the going gets muddy, the Cayenne is nevertheless highly proficient on off-road trails. It’s got a low-range gearbox, locking differentials, and plenty of ground clearance - the air suspension can raise it up by a foot (30 centimeters). Everything you need to go exploring the wilderness, in other words. Even the Turbo.
So, here we have a demonstration of the early Cayenne Turbo’s off-road prowess as Grant from Spectro Racing takes a ride with his buddy Ash along some Florida trails. Ash’s Cayenne is relatively stock, just running off-road tires and a rear-mounted winch.
They don’t exactly find the toughest trails in the world and, quite frankly, it looks like a walk in the park for the Cayenne. But that serves to underline the point, I think. There really isn’t much the Cayenne can’t do.