Porsche Cayenne S AOT

To say that an off-roader is more at home on a racetrack than in the rough sounds ridiculous, but not when it carries a Porsche badge on the bonnet. The Cayenne is commonly perceived as the sportiest SUV money can buy - yet that isn't enough for its German creator.

For Porsche to turn its tarmac-focused SUV into an unstoppable off-roader is a tremendous feat of engineering. Fitted with the new package, the Cayenne is transformed from track star to muddy marvel. The price is high, but few other SUVs are as capable when it comes to combining extreme mud-plugging with on-road performance.

To say that an off-roader is more at home on a racetrack than in the rough sounds ridiculous, but not when it carries a Porsche badge on the bonnet. The Cayenne is commonly perceived as the sportiest SUV money can buy - yet that isn't enough for its German creator.

The firm has now put together an off-road pack that Porsche claims makes its SUV unstoppable, no matter what the surface. We put the new model to the test over some tough terrain to find out if the company is telling the truth!Although facelifted versions of the Cayenne are already being developed, Porsche has introduced its Advanced Off-road Technology pack to the current model. Our driving route consisted of the type of terrain that would have presented a challenge for a Land Rover Defender, let alone a performance SUV - so was the Cayenne up to the job?

To put it bluntly, we were amazed by the car's abilities. Even after being ground to an involuntary standstill, itsintelligent drivetrain electronics and 340bhp V8 engine quickly worked in unison to combat the lack of traction and propel the vehicle forward.

The model tested was a Cayenne S, which came with a six-speed Tiptronic auto box with hill control and standard traction and stability management systems. Options included £1,973 self-levelling air-suspension plus, of course, the £2,563 Advanced Off-road Technology pack. The new set-up comprises hydraulically detachable front and rear anti-roll bars, as well as an electronically variable rear differential lock, in addition to the standard electronic centre diff.

The kit also adds several bodywork tweaks which make the Cayenne even more durable. Buyers get sill-protecting side rails, a reinforced engine guard and additional fuel tank and rear axle shields. Finally, a set of optional Pirelli Scorpion all-terrain tyres gives the driver the best possible off-road grip.

Add up all the extras, and the car's total cost soars to nearly £50,000. That's a lot of money - but the combination of a Porsche badge and class-leading off-road ability has unique appeal.

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