Off-Roaders Prove the Original Porsche Cayenne Deserved Better Than Mall Parking Lots

Watch it take a beating.

The Porsche Cayenne may have a reputation as a fancy kid-hauler, grocery-getter, and darling of the domestic sphere, but that’s not what Porsche built it for. Let’s just say that if your kid’s school drop-off zone is on the other side of Russia, you’ll be okay. 

The first-generation Cayenne was the most overbuilt Cayenne ever made for off-road use, featuring a locking differential and low-range gearing that were ditched in later models. Four-wheel-drive and other off-road chops made these a great platform for truly nutty projects like the Transsyberia race trucks that drove across Siberia in a long, grueling rally raid. 

The regular Cayennes like this S-model have depreciated into true bargains and thus, the kind of non-precious fare that makes a big-tire, steel-bumpered, skidplate-having off-road build like this so extremely tempting. Some of these V8 Cayenne S models are even under $10,000 now according to the Porsche Club of America’s model guide, and you’re guaranteed to have the most luxurious off-roader on the trails. 

The mere thought of a Cayenne tackling a gnarly, rocky washout brings a tear of joy to my eye. It lifts its wheels. The driver bounces back and forth to get better traction. They’re not timid about dragging the middle of the SUV on rock ledges, and you can tell by the bent-in skidplate and upwards-pointing exhaust pipe that this isn’t the first time this Cayenne has done it. 

It’s all stuff that wouldn’t be surprising for a Jeep Wrangler, yet this is a Porsche. No one expects a Porsche to, uh, do what it was made to do

Bless you and your utter lack of concern for scratching the once-shiny darling of the suburban one-uppers everywhere, good driver. You’re the hero we always needed.

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