To say that Porsche has always been a victim of its own success doesn’t stretch the imagination unreasonably. The overwhelming response to the 911 design has been a double-edged sword of sorts. No matter how much Porsche tries to reinvent the genre – and to the chagrin of its fans – it finds itself back in the same place again.
The shortcoming of this success, if you will and if there is ever one, is that if the German brand continues to stay with this unmistakable silhouette, there are just so many more cars it can sell – and often to the same people.
This all changed when Porsche introduced the Cayenne two decades ago.
In one fell swoop, it not only opened up the range of cars it could offer, but also expanded its market exponentially. Suddenly, people who wouldn’t take a second look at a two-door 911 started to turn their heads. And it didn’t come at a more opportune time.
In the early to middle of the 1990s, Porsche found itself in a precarious financial position. During a significant global economic ****, the company was wading in the red, delivering only slightly over 23,000 cars in the 1991/92 financial year. There was some success when the Boxster came out in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2002 when the first Cayenne rolled out the door of the secret Hemmingen site that Porsche witnessed a turnaround that has only grown from strength to strength.
Given that the very first Cayenne was a result of a suggestion by the US sales team at Porsche, the E1 bordered on the mundane, starting life as an off-road-capable people-carrier or MPV. Its somewhat utilitarian original boxy shape was a far departure from the sleek, aerodynamic silhouette that Porsche has always been associated with. But its success hinted that Porsche had hit on something, and something big.
Today, the Porsche Cayenne is arguably one of the best-selling models from the company. But the latest rendition, the E3, is a marked departure from the E1, both in performance and design, and most everything in between.
Despite being introduced in 2017, the current E3 Cayenne has gone through several rounds of upgrades in the last five years. Hans-Jurgen Wohler, the head of the Porsche SUV series (2013 to 2020) claims that, “The objective of the E3 was to heighten the range of capabilities further. It was all about making [the Cayenne] sportier with greater ride comfort while maintaining off-road capabilities.”
A new aluminium body saved weight. The three-chamber air suspension and rear-axle steering was specially developed for better handling, while a wide range of driver support features were added through various driver assistance systems. The advent of technology continued to add smartphone integration, WiFi, Bluetooth, all of which seems almost indispensable for today’s drivers.
The evolution of the Porsche Cayenne continues with the new Platinum Edition. Characterized by the trademark Platinum paint finish, the new series is available in the Cayenne, Cayenne E-Hybrid, and Cayenne S, as well as the corresponding Coupe variants.
With the upgraded Platinum elements, the Cayenne stretches the gap between its status as Porsche’s premier SUV with its younger brethren, the increasingly ubiquitous Macan. Certainly, the visual strength of the latest enhancements will not get lost in translation.
The satin-finish of the Platinum models are immediately noticeable as the inlays in the front air-intakes, the “Porsche” lettering in the LED rear light strip, rear model designation, and the 21-inch RS Spyder Design wheels – all exclusively standard in the Platinum Edition – are painted in the chosen colors. Sport tailpipes and window trims come in black to emphasize the special Platinum finishes that come in Jet Black, Carrara White, Mahogany, Moonlight Blue, and Crayon.
The Platinum Edition is not just about cosmetic upgrades. An extended equipment range includes LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System, a panoramic roof that seems to extend forever, privacy glass, a 14-speaker, 710-watt Bose surround-sound system with seamless integration with Apple Music and Podcasts, ambient lighting, eight-way leather sports seats, and an analogue clock on the dashboard. Refinement options for the interior and exterior are further available from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur for extended modifications.
Behind the wheel, the Porsche Cayenne Platinum Edition is a dream to drive. The three-litre turbocharged V6 engine is a monster off the mark and cruising the highways, with the 250kW (340PS) of power more than enough to match most any non-sports car on the road. The 450Nm of Herculean torque will pull you out of almost anything if called for. This, remember, is car that is as comfortably driven off the road as it is on.
The car is surprisingly nimble, and devoid of excessive roll around corners, despite its near-1.7m height. Speed humps are hardly noticeable when driven over at reasonable speeds, and the eight-speed Triptronic S transmission, Porsche Traction Management, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus all work together seamlessly to ensure maximum road holding when tackling winding roads. And if you want a little added fun, there are four driving modes to choose from. The 918 Spyder-inspired driving mode button, ergonomically located next to the steering wheel, allows you toggle among modes like Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual without needing to rifle through the menu on the infotainment display.
In many ways, the Porsche Cayenne Platinum Edition takes some of the guess work out of driving with its advanced driving assistance features. The Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus manages the headlights so that segments of the main-beam cone can be mitigated to prevent on-coming vehicles from being dazzled. Four in-built cameras provide a 360-degree view when parking, and Remote ParkAssist lets you use your smartphone from outside the car to enter and exit parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. On the road, Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Change Assist should help you with lane integrity when driving, while Collision and Brake Assist can detect objects in front of the car and apply the brakes in emergency situations.
The popularity of the Porsche Cayenne will always be steeped in the flexible practicality and comfort of an SUV that belongs to a brand known for its performance capabilities. The Platinum Edition continues to extend this proposition with stylish aplomb.
The Porsche Cayenne Platinum Edition is now available in Singapore with prices starting from S$407,388 without COE, but includes five-year free maintenance and warranty, registration fee, estimated ARF, 12-month road tax, estimated VES fee/rebate, and GST.
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