REVIEW: Porsche’s all-new Cayenne takes on desert terrain

Rachel McArthur reviews Porsche's new Cayenne in Dubai for Arab News. (Supplied)
Updated 31 October 2018

REVIEW: Porsche’s all-new Cayenne takes on desert terrain

DUBAI: When Porsche first unveiled its Cayenne approximately 16 years ago, motoring fans thought it wouldn’t take off. After all, what does a sports car brand know about launching an SUV?
Turns out, a lot actually as funnily enough it’s now a top seller. In 2018 the Cayenne is one of the German giant’s most successful creations in the Middle East region and beyond. So much so, that this year marks its third generation of the beautiful beast. And with Porsche’s promise of the vehicle’s “outstanding handling on any terrain” where else to put it to the test than on our beautiful desert roads?
But first things first — what versions are available? The models we tried were a trio of specs: The Cayenne, Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo. A Cayenne E-Hybrid is also now available.
The base model comprises a six-cylinder turbo engine, producing 340 hp. It achieves a 0-100km/h in just 6.2 seconds. The Sport version is powered by a 2.9-liter, 440 hp biturbo-charged V6 engine, reaching 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds. And finally, the tough Turbo — featuring a biturbo eight-cylinder engine putting out 550 hp — reaches an acceleration of 0-100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds.
We took all three out for a spin around Dubai, Fujairah and Dibba — different roads, different terrain. And the manufacturer is true to its word when it says the Cayenne can handle all types of ground (of course we didn’t try it on icy roads, but hey, what are the chances of needing to over here?).

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THE LIST

Cayenne starting prices

SR308,600 Cayenne

SR375,800 Cayenne S

SR573,700 Cayenne Turbo

SR392,167 Cayenne E-Hybrid

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The core components of the third generation are new. The more efficient engines combined with a new eight-speed Tiptronic S — along with new technology such as 4D chassis control, rear axle steering, three-chamber air suspension, and tungsten-carbide-coated Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) — result in a phenomenal performance. Meanwhile, the updated lightweight chassis delivers top class driving dynamics.
On normal roads, it offers the best steering experience along with great safety features, including parking assistance with reversing camera, surround view, and adaptive cruise control. There’s also an optional lane-keeping system that can monitor the vehicle’s position using a camera, responding by providing steering support if you leave your lane without indicating. Great for long drives.
While the spacious interior makes it ideal as the ultimate family car, it’s also one for adventure. You can choose between five different drive and chassis modes,
depending on the terrain. So going off-road is never a problem. In fact, we took one onto the mountains in Dibba and were very impressed by how safe the drive was. We just chose the mode that suited the terrain (between “gravel” and “rock”) and went for it. This adjusts the car to suit the environment ensuring a safe drive. An optional off-road package includes a menu offering additional displays for the steering angle, transverse gradient and longitudinal incline.
Inside the car, noise is kept to a minimum, while the technology in its infotainment system is second to none. While it’s great for your passenger, however, it sometimes can be a little too much for the driver. So make sure you set up your navigation, apps and music before setting out and avoid distractions on the road.
The Cayenne isn’t for the faint-hearted — it’s a big vehicle — but if you’re looking for a strong and sturdy family car, or something to take you on the greatest of outdoor adventures, then it doesn’t get any better than this.


Screen star Shahad Ballan in new anti-speeding campaign

Shahad Ballan has joined forces with Dubai Autodrome for her new campaign. (Supplied)
Updated 04 February 2020

Screen star Shahad Ballan in new anti-speeding campaign

  • Shahad Ballan’s new campaign aims to safely channel youths’ desire for speed while driving

DUBAI: Syrian TV presenter Shahad Ballan has joined forces with Dubai Autodrome, the UAE’s motorsports and entertainment complex, in a new campaign called #SpeedLegally, which aims to safely channel youths’ desire for speed while driving.

“The whole point of the campaign is to tell people it’s OK if you like to speed. At the end of the day, people like this rush and adrenaline,” Ballan told Arab News.

Ballan hopes that by teaching youngsters to only speed on race tracks, it could lower the number of crashes on the UAE’s roads. (Supplied)

“Adrenaline is a hormone in our body. We can’t ignore that … Instead of just fighting it, let us encourage youngsters who like to speed to release this energy that they have and practice their love for speed and driving in designated areas such as race tracks.”

At Dubai Autodrome, people can book sessions to race using their own cars or those available there.

“It’s all about discipline,” Ballan said. “When you’re angry or stressed or excited, you release your energy in different ways. Some people eat, some people go to the gym, some people do kickboxing. So this call to action is the same thing.”

At Dubai Autodrome, people can book sessions to race using their own cars or those available there. (Supplied)

She hopes that by teaching youngsters to only speed on race tracks, it could lower the number of crashes on the UAE’s roads.

According to figures from the Interior Ministry, 3,123 people were killed and 31,829 injured in car crashes from 2014 to 2018.

Ballan herself was inspired by a crash she was involved in four years ago. “I wasn’t the one driving in the accident. I was with a driver,” she said.

“We weren’t the cause of the accident. Another driver … was going over the speed limit on the highway.”