Did the world need a 450 horsepower Porsche off-roader? Maybe not. Is it cool that one exists? Certainly. Porsche came to the SUV party a little later than Mercedes-Benz, BMW and even corporate partner Volkswagen, but when it did it came in with some serious motivation. Alongside the VR6 and V8 models – already fairly potent engines – came a twin-turbocharged 4.5 liter unit. With 450 horsepower and 460 lb. ft of torque mated to a six-speed Tiptronic transmission, acceleration was blistering. The 5,700lb heavyweight hit 60 in a sports car embarrassing 5.3 seconds and was capable of topping 170 mph. Massive six piston Brembo brakes provided 911-like braking capability, too, and while in default the car had a 60 percent power bias to the rear, Porsche Traction Management system could transfer up to 100 percent of the power to whichever axle needed it most – or, more properly, was using it best.
That hinted that this was more than just a tall on-roader like the X5. No, the Cayenne was a serious off-roader. With lockable center and rear differentials, a low-range box with planetary gearing and height adjustable air suspension, it was more than competent when the going got rough. And with short overhangs both front and rear, it could actually conquer big elements. Pushed, it could also head through nearly 2-foot deep water, as well.
For most Cayenne (and especially Cayenne Turbo models), these features were about as useful for most owners as the top speed of the entire 911 range in the U.S. is. Nevertheless, it pointed towards Porsche’s careful engineering of the Cayenne to be a true all-around performer. And that unique focus on performance has inspired some individuals to capitalize on the model’s prowess: