The Porsche Cayenne made its debut in 2002. It was the Stuttgart-based sports car specialist’s first venture into the SUV market, but it did so without compromising on its DNA. It seemed to defy the rules of physics to deliver performance and handling like a Porsche; supremely confident and nimble on the road while cocooning its occupants in opulent luxury. But unlike many of its competitors, it also had an enviable off-road pedigree with its three victories in the gruelling TransSyberia Rally.

Since its initial launch, the Porsche Cayenne has been one of the most popular models in the UAE.

We take you through the three generations of Cayenne, the marque’s successful flagship SUV.

The first Cayenne was powered by a 3.2-litre V6 engine which produced 250 bhp with a top speed of 214 kmph, and acceleration of 0-to-100 kmph in 9.1 seconds. The Cayenne S variant was only the second Porsche to have a V8, after the 928 in 1995. The 4.5-litre produced 335bhp, and in the ‘S turbo’ it went up to 444 bhp which was the same as Porsche’s iconic 959 supercar from 1986. In 2006, a 4.8 litres V8 delivered 514bhp, which went up again in 2008 to 542bhp. In 2007 came the first significant face-lift with redesigned headlights, larger grille and the three-section air intakes in the front.

In 2010, the second generation of the Cayenne made its debut. Along with the noticeable aesthetic changes to the exterior, the Gen 2 Cayenne was more luxurious, agile and better equipped. It was lighter at less than 2 tonnes. The 3.6 litres V6 petrol engine delivered ten hp more, the 0-to-100 kmph acceleration increased by 0.6 seconds, and was more efficient with a 10 per cent less fuel consumption. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid made its debut in 2014, becoming the world’s first premium SUV plug-in hybrid. By 2017, the total sales of Cayenne had reached almost 800,000 units.

The 2018 third generation of the Cayenne has three engine variants. The six-cylinder turbo engine of the base model Cayenne delivers 340 hp, a 40 hp increase. The 2.9-litre, biturbo-charged V6 engine of the Cayenne S delivers a 20 hp increase at 440 hp. The biturbo eight-cylinder engine of the Cayenne Turbo also delivers an increase of 20 hp at 550 hp and also delivers the best acceleration from 0-to-100 kmph in 4.1 seconds. This is increased to 3.9 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package with a top speed of 286 km/h. The length of the Gen 3 Cayenne is comparatively more, and the height is lesser to deliver a more streamlined, athletic impression. It also has a more pronounced bonnet with redesigned headlight, narrower side windows, a redesigned rear wing, wider rear end with an integrated light strip, and wider alloy wheels.

In the interior, a more spacious cabin also includes a luggage compartment that has increased by 100 litres. The Porsche Advanced Cockpit concept brings the vehicle and the occupants closer through improved connectivity and intuitive controls. The centre console with Direct Touch Control and a new 12.3-inch touch display for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) act as the driver’s interface to all vehicle functions. The PCM can also be used to activate five pre-programmed drive and chassis modes in accordance with the terrain.

The lightweight chassis of the Cayenne has been completely redesigned from scratch to deliver the optimum balance between sporty performance and comfort and contributes to an overall weight saving of up to 65 kilograms. The chassis systems include the adaptive three-chamber air suspension, electric roll stabilisation, and the 4D Chassis Control. The Porsche Surface Coated Brakes, which come as standard in the Turbo, offer improved responsiveness as well as an up to 30% longer service life. Another first is the rear-axle steering as an option, as well as a mixed tyre configuration.

The 3rd generation Cayenne’s versatility is truly unique. It is at home on any road, but it is equally capable of exploring new terrains. It enjoys a short sprint as much as a long road trip, and the commute to work as much as a lap on the track. It can produce a superb drive experience virtually anywhere, and that is really what sets the Cayenne apart from any other SUV.