15 years ago, Porsche shocked fans and the rest of the world by unveiling its first ever SUV, the Cayenne. 12 years later, the Macan joined the Cayenne on the roads, becoming the second SUV to bear the Porsche badge.
However, in India, the Cayenne and Macan are treated as a pair of glass slippers. Whether it's the Porsche badge or the price tag, owners don't seem to like taking the luxury SUV duo from Stuttgart off-road.
So that begs the question, just how good are the crore crunching Porsche duo off the beaten path where mother nature rules the roost?
Powering the Cayenne is a 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine producing 242bhp and 550Nm of torque. The Macan that we also drove used a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 248.5bhp and 350Nm of torque.
Both SUVs feature active all-wheel drive systems and feature and off-road mode. Activated by pressing a button (Macan) or by flicking a switch(Cayenne), the air suspension raises the ride height of both SUVs by 40mm.
The Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus and Porsche Stability Management (PSM) also adapt their setup for off-road use. In addition to this, the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system can send up to 100 percent of the torque to either axle if required.
The first obstacle challenging the Cayenne and the Macan came in the form of a rocky downward slope. The SUVs glided down without a care in the world, the rocks and ruts proving to be no bother at all.
Engaging Hill Hold function three-quarters of the way up the next obstacle, a steep climb, by sticking the brake pedal to the floor bought the SUVs to a complete halt. With thissystem on, the Macan and the Cayenne remain stationary despite the steep incline. A dab of the loud pedal and the Porsche duo strolled up, without once sliding backwards.
A rutted track lay ahead, which would live up to its name of axle breaker if any regular car passed over. However, the SUVs glided over the foot-deep ruts as if it was going over some oversized potholes, barely breaking into a sweat.
Up ahead lay a series of challenges. First a side incline with a 30 degree slope, which while uncomfortable for the humans inside proved to no bother for the Porsche SUVs. As the world tilted at an angle, the Cayenne and the Macan sent power to whichever wheel had the best grip and glided through the ache inducing incline.
Another set of short and steep inclines later, the Cayenne stood at the top of an incline which just looked too steep to descend down.
Porsche Hill Control, which limits the speed by braking all four wheels and keeps the ABS engaged to prevent wheel lock up. With the system engaged, the SUVs glided slowly down the steep descent with the grace of ballet dancer.
A short sprint and breaking session later, the SUVs entered into a series of slush pits. Though the water levels were low, the track was as slippery as it could be. The mud plugging duo from Stuttgart though, clambered out of the slippery slush pits, spattered in mud, but otherwise unharmed.
Dennis James Thinks!
Many laughed at Porsche for sticking their necks into the SUV market. While, both the Cayenne and the Macan are luxurious inside, but it is their off-road ability that brings out the Sport in SUV.
While the Macan (Rs 78.97 lakh ex-showroom Bangalore) proved itself in the tough terrain, it is the Cayenne Diesel (Rs 1.1 crore ex-showroom Bangalore) which really blows your mind away. Capable of hot-hatch-like sprints (0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds) despite its almost 2.2-tonne kerb weight, the Cayenne is in its element when the roads disappear.