Our Managing Director, Zeina Mokaddam, was among the first to drive the new third generation Cayenne earlier this year – in Fujairah. This time she was curious to see how it would perform on the streets of Kuwait and invited Shurooq Salmeen along for a drive too.
Shurooq Salmeen has very many strings to her bow. Owner and designer at label Sash, you’re likely to already be one of her more than one-million Instagram followers. She knows what she likes, and she’s a great judge of what’s hot and what’s not. Who better to check out Porsche’s third generation Cayenne on Kuwait City’s streets?
We’d already been off-road with the third generation Porsche Cayenne, and you can read our glowing report of it at our online partner publication passionsarabia.com, but how would it prove itself on the urban cycle?
Outwardly the new Cayenne (Porsche refer to it as the E3) is sharper in all details. Let’s not forget, the Cayenne has been with us for a decade-and-a-half. As good as the second-generation model was, with the E3 Porsche have upped the game for everyone in the SUV sector.
For sure, Shurooq was impressed. The smooth drive and the high levels of comfort belied the fact that this is an automobile that is just as at home in the desert as it is on the Corniche. It’s not just good to drive for an SUV, it’s good to drive, period.
And there are reasons why… intriguingly most of these involve technology that is usually reserved for sports cars.
On the E3, the rear wheels now help to steer – it’s the same as on a 911. You can drive it even more confidently in to corners – faster too, if you wish. What’s the feeling like? There’s a mild sensation that something’s different – as if the steering is oversensitive – but it’s a sensation that is soon replaced by the knowledge that the Porsche engineers have done the thinking for you. This is a car that makes driving in every situation just that little bit easier and that little bit more pleasant.
The smooth ride comes courtesy of Porsche’s new, optional three-chamber air suspension. Now there’s a genuinely noticeable change between the comfortable modes and the more sporty ones.
Set it in the softest mode, and you’ve got almost limo-quality comfort, all day long. Go off road – or at speed down some of our city’s less well-surfaced roads – and you’ll feel the benefit not just in terms of body control but in ride comfort on those rough surfaces. Again the engineers have planned ahead, and a new 48V electrical system also helps – it means that the anti-roll bars are faster than the old hydraulic ones… they’ll adjust to the road before you realise they’re required to.
You’ll be building a picture here. The E3 Cayenne is a car for all seasons, all situations and all drivers. There are a lot of complex technologies involved in keeping the driver and passengers comfortable as well as safe. The beauty is, as an owner or occupant, we’re required to know absolutely nothing about the details – all we need to do is sit deep within the Cayenne’s comfortable seats and reap the benefits of the engineers’ enthusiasm for building the best Porsche SUV ever.
Performance traffic-light to traffic-light is more than enough to keep the busy Shurooq on schedule. The Turbo model (with launch control) rockets from 0–100 in 3.9secs. That’s half a second quicker than the second-generation Cayenne which was no slouch. This is performance that some sportscars can only dream of. Porsche wrings it out of an SUV – and comfortably so.
Acceleration like this deserves special brakes. Check. Some jumbo brakes are fitted for when the time comes to stop – optional ceramics in the Turbo, or optional new tungstencarbide- coated steels in the others. Also, there’s a new, active rear spoiler. It’ll pop up to aid high speed stability and it’ll pop up even more to act as an air brake.
So, for Shurooq, she discovered a sportscar manifested in the form of an SUV.
Space abounds – trunk space, rear-seat comfort and leg-room, storage, even those vital cup-holders. It’s a totally practical automobile – mild-mannered and soothing. Yet, switch modes and deliver your instructions with a heavier right foot, and you’ve got a sportscar that is so well envisioned and engineered that it’s not going to let go at an awkward moment. The third generation Cayenne is one car – but it feels like the sum of so many more.