New engines, new chassis, innovative control concept and more connectivity mark just a few highlights of Porsche’s new third-generation Cayenne. The 250-kW (340 hp), threelitre turbo engine delivers 29 kW (40 hp) more than the previous model. The 2.9-litre V6 biturbo engine in the Cayenne S, which reaches speeds of up to 265 km/h, brings it up to 324 kW (440 hp) – an increase of 15 kW (20 hp). Equipped with the optional Sport Chrono Package, the new Cayenne S accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in less than five seconds.

So, all looks good on paper, and we’ve been huge fans of the Cayenne since it was first introduced back in 2002. Looking at those performance figures it sounds more like a sportscar than an SUV, right? Right. And there’s a reason for that – every car Porsche has ever produced throughout its history is, first and foremost, a sportscar. If it has any additional capabilities after that, they’re a happy bonus.

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Invited, as a guest of the Porsche Centre Kuwait, to put the new Cayenne to the test on the rugged trails of Fujairah, Men’s Passion’s Zeina Mokaddam (above) jumped at the chance.

Sporty and precise with a clear design – new and yet familiar, the appearance of the Cayenne has been enhanced in the style that runs through the Porsche Design DNA. The enlarged air intakes at the front are clear indicators of the increased performance. The new horizontal light edges mean that the SUV now appears wider and more athletic, even when stationary.

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The Cayenne is based heavily on the iconic 911 sports car: The third edition of the SUV, which has also been enhanced visually, now has mixed tyres and rear-axle steering for the first time. In addition to these typical sports car features, the on-road capabilities are further improved by active all-wheel drive as standard, Porsche 4D Chassis Control, three-chamber air suspension and the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) electronic roll stabilisation system. Despite its significantly extended standard equipment, the Cayenne weighs up to 65 kilograms less than its predecessor and remains perfectly suited to off-road use.

The Cayenne’s expanded performance range, improving both sportiness and comfort, is due in no small part to the new eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox. Shorter response times and sportier ratios in the lower gears enhance both on-road performance and off-road capability. At the other end of the expanded spread between comfort and sportiness, the long-transmission eighth gear ensures low torques, optimised fuel consumption and relaxed driving.

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The new Cayenne combines three chassis concepts in one new design: sports car, off-roader and touring car. This involved developing a new lightweight chassis base with a front axle featuring a separated link design and a multi-link rear axle.

In practice, what does this all add up to? Porsche have, once again, delivered a sportscar with genuine SUV credentials. On or off-road, the new Cayenne has impeccable manners and exceptional capabilities. Consistently eager for more, we’d point to the optional adaptive air suspension with its new three-chamber technology as a key highlight – it significantly increases the spread between a sporty, firm connection and the driving comfort expected of a touring car.

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Essentially, the new Cayenne adapts more than ever to the terrain (urban jungle or real one), as much as to the driver’s moods. The only question you’ll need to ask of yourself as you slide behind the wheel of your new third-generation Porsche Cayenne is – “What do I want it to be today?”.

However you answer, you’ll know you’re driving a superlative sportscar with supreme SUV prowess.