Walter Röhrl has been putting a still lightly camouflaged prototype of a powerful new Cayenne model through its paces in a tough test of its capabilities. The two-time World Rally Champion and Porsche Brand Ambassador completed numerous test laps in the high-performance SUV on the Grand Prix circuit of the Hockenheimring. In his assessment of its driving dynamics, he described the new Cayenne as a “great leap forward compared to everything that has gone before. This car redefines the meaning of the term SUV”.
The sort of performance you expect in a Porsche combined with a high degree of everyday usability and variability – these are the things that the Cayenne has stood for ever since it made its debut in 2002. Especially dynamic highlights in the model’s initial years included the first Cayenne Turbo S, which had an outstanding power output for 2006 of 383 kW (521 PS), and the GTS models, which were specifically tuned for sportiness from 2007. “They were off-road vehicles that could be driven like sports cars – a real sensation at the time,” says Röhrl, when looking back at the first Cayenne generation, which had the internal designation ‘E1’. With the new model, which is currently undergoing final testing and optimisation as part of development to series production maturity, Porsche aims to underline its claim to best-in-class performance once again. The focus for this derivative has been on exceptional on-road performance without neglecting driving comfort and everyday usability. It is based on the current Cayenne Turbo Coupé, but has been designed and developed even more single-mindedly to provide the ultimate in terms of longitudinal and lateral dynamics.
All chassis and control systems tuned for performance
Alongside a host of other enhancements for all chassis and control systems, the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control active roll stabilisation system makes a major contribution to the stable handling of the new Cayenne model with a new, performance-oriented set-up. “The PDCC always keeps the body balanced and level even during very spirited cornering,” explains Porsche test driver Lars Kern, who has accompanied development of the high-performance model right from the start. Its handling is also improved by its comprehensively revamped front axle: “Compared with the Cayenne Turbo Coupé, the front rims are now half an inch wider, and negative camber has been increased by 0.45 degrees in order to provide a larger contact area for the 22-inch sports tyres newly developed especially for this model,” says Kern, who recently invited Walter Röhrl to Hockenheim for the test drives.
While the visual highlights of the new Cayenne were still largely hidden under black camouflage, Röhrl was already able to gain an in-depth impression of the outstanding driving dynamics potential of the new Cayenne model. Accompanied by the emotive sound of the new titanium exhaust system, which is equipped with centrally positioned tailpipes, the brand ambassador drove lap after lap on the Hockenheimring and was very impressed afterwards: “The car remains incredibly stable even in fast corners, and its turn-in behaviour is extremely precise. More than ever, you have the feeling that you are sitting in a compact sports car rather than in a large SUV.”