Porsche Cayenne Off Road Capabilities
It’s a common misconception that the Porsche Cayenne is more about looks and straight-line performance than off-road capability. I recently had a demonstration of just how capable the Cayenne is off-road and I will personally vouch for the fact that it definitely more than just straight-line performance. It is as capable as any Land Rover or Jeep I have seen off-road, and that’s coming from a Range Rover owner as well. Read on to see what kind of obstacles the Cayenne conquered.
1:1 Inclines and Descents
I was taken out by a professional driver in the Cayenne to learn about and experience its capabilities, the first obstacle we took on was a 1:1 incline and descent.
It’s quite difficult to show how steep the hill actually was, but to give you an idea of what the approach to the hill looked like, take a look at this picture. It pretty much looked like we were driving into a near vertical wall.
The Cayenne went straight up the incline with no problems, and certainly from my back seat perspective you were left just looking straight up to the sky with no visual of the road, it’s a very strange feeling.
On the way down the 1:1 decline you are left with the opposite problem, in that you look like you are going to crash straight into the floor, which is equally as alarming. But the Cayenne, just gently went down the hill using its hill decline technology (Porsche Hill Descent, PHD) and smoothly levelled off back onto the path in front. At this stage the only off-road capability we have used is raising the ride height and the Porsche Hill Descent.
Next we took the Cayennne over to a selection of manufactured boulders that are designed to force the car onto 3 wheels multiple times to demonstrate the locking differentials and clever Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) on the car.
Entering the area the driver locked the differential on the car using Porsche Traction Management (PTM) so that when one wheel goes up the air and has no traction it will limit the spin for that wheel and allow the power to be used by the matching wheel on the opposite side of the car. This enables the car to use maximum traction for the wheels that have grip and not just spin out the wheel that is in the air.
Slowly moving over the obstacles the Cayenne was rocked side to side at a significant height, but this doesn’t stop the vehicle moving. The driver was slow and steady, so to bring the wheels back down to the surface gently, but none the less, he was able to drive straight over the boulders by simply enabling the Porsche Traction Management with the touch of a button.
Here you can see the Cayenne in motion as it works its way back over the boulders. Keep a close eye on the wheel in the air and watch how it stops spinning when the car notices it has lost traction.
38 Degree Side Tilt
Next we moved on to some side tilt action on the car, we drove along a sloped embankment to demonstrate the side tilt capabilities. I was told the car was at its maximum side tilt, which is around 38 degrees. Take a look at the horizon in through the windscreen to get an understanding of how extreme the slope is, and the car didn’t struggle in the slightest.
Tight Corner Descents
We moved on to see how well the Cayenne could deal with tight corner descents. This meant approaching a 90 degree corner and simply taking a hard right turn down a steep slope on the other side.
The driver once again used the car’s hill decline technology and let it go, and the Cayenne just took itself down the hill at a controlled speed. As simple as that.
Here you can really see how steep the hill is, at this point the car is braking each wheel individually to maintain maximum traction whilst slowly and safely bringing the car down the hill.
This demonstration doesn’t just show how good the Porsche Hill Descent technology is, it also shows how good the ride height of the car is as it didn’t catch the bottom of the car as it turned into the slope at the top. The Cayenne bumpers have been specifically designed not to catch at the front or back, so the car has a great approach angle when taking on obstacles.
Once again from the inside it looks like we are about to drive straight into the floor. Luckily for me I had a bit of faith in both the car and our trusty driver for the event.
Up next was the boulder test again, but this time in reverse; just as much fun and even more impressive. Below you can see just how severe the boulders are, there is no way any normal car would be able to tackle this terrain. But the Porsche Cayenne made it look easy.
As the Cayenne comes back over you see just how much travel the suspension is completing to get the car over the obstacle, but it finishes the course with ease.
We completed the off-road course and to demonstrate how capable the car is on the road our driver took us on a hot lap around the car road-test circuit. On the road the 420bhp from the Cayenne S’s 3.6-litre bi-turbo V6 engine really hammers the car along well and after completing some extreme off roading the car felt very steady and firm on the road. How is that even possible?
The Porsche Cayenne S proved to me first hand that it is a very capable off-road vehicle. It managed to conquer big inclines, steep descents, extreme side tilts, and 3 wheeling over obstacles. There is no doubt that the Cayenne can compete with the best in the off-roader market, but don’t forget that this car is also pretty good on the road too, doing 0-60mph in 5.5secs and has a top speed on 160mph.
Author: Paul Hadley