I’m usually not a very skeptical guy. Give me an SUV with four driven wheels and I won’t hesitate to kick up some dirt, but with a pair of fancy wheels from Stuttgart, I was a little hesitant. That kind of shiny metal in rough conditions can only mean two things – either I’d leave with some mud on the SUVs or with some paint on the rocks, and I was petrified of the latter happening before I exited the obstacle course.
Well, Porsche India organised an Off-road experience drive for their customers in Pune and for the first time and invited us to get muddy as well. The luxury SUVs were going to be put through their paces on a specially designed off-road obstacle course designed by Team Moto Dreamz.
Porsche as a brand are known for their performance oriented cars, especially when one talks about tarmac or the track. It is the off-roading capabilities of the SUV, which most customers have not experienced (and you cannot blame them). The main objective of the drive was to give customers a taste of the thrill of off-roading and at the same time showcase the Cayenne’s and Macan’s off-road specific assistance systems, features and capabilities.
A quick briefing session on the 101’s of off-roading, after which we were taken for a recce of the track. Sitting behind the wheel of the Cayenne, a SUV that costs over Rs 1 crore, has 295 horses under the hood, I controlled my nerves and geared up for my turn to tackle the first obstacle – the chicken holes, it did feel a little weird. Nevertheless, nervously feathering the throttle I got through the chicken holes, without scraping the underbelly of the Cayenne. The next obstacle was the rumble strips. Set in ‘off-road mode’ and combined with Porsche’s Active Stability Management System (PASM), the Cayenne had the ability to iron out all the bumps with ease.
Most of my off-roading has been in the Thar, and while tackling inclines, all of the Thar’s reserves are called to duty and during descends, engine braking is the way to go. But in the Cayenne, climbing up the 60 degree incline, the 295bhp was quick to get it to the top and the steep drop was handled by the Porsche Hill Control (PHC), I just had to make sure the steering was straight, that’s all. After driving over a few boulders, the last obstacle was the slush pit. I wanted to slide the Cayenne through the slush (who dosen’t?). But the Porsche Traction Management System (PTM), the Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) and Porsche Stability Management (PSM) made sure I was not up to any antics.
Driving a Porsche off-road is a different experience altogether. This was the first time I took a luxury, sporty SUV off-roading and even though I did not do much (electronics played most of the part), I was surprised at how capable the Porsche SUVs are. From chicken holes, to articulation pits, to steep inclines and descends, it conquered it all with ease.