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Motor Max: I Cayenne believe it.

YOU'VE just shelled out the best part of pounds 70,000 on a car sporting one of the most famous badges in automotive history. Do you then drive it up a cliff face that, to the naked eye,looks passable only by mountain goats,down the other side and straight through the middle of lake?

To round things off nicely there's a huge pile of loose rubble and manure that needs negotiating before reaching the relative sanctuary of a parking bay.

Don't fancy putting your pride and joy to the ultimate test? Nor would I, to be honest.

Just as well then that the Porsche Cayenne,and in particular its flagship Turbo model, is more than your average off-roader.

Never mind state-of-the-art mud-plugging technology, thecar's on- road performance is equally cuttingedge.

There were more than a few sniggers and smirks when the Stuttgart firm decided to produce a monster off-road vehicle-an odd departure for a manufacturer whose reputation has been built on thrill- a minute performance models like the 911Carrera and Boxster S.

But despite its pumped- up with -steroids profile -a look you either love or loathe -the Cayenne has a presence on the road that its rivals simply can't match. It still looks every inch a Porsche.

Off the beaten track,innovative drive systems like PTM -Porsche Traction Management -can deal with extreme conditions.

And air suspension with six performance specific height settings is featured as standard,providing the Cayenne Turbo with extraordinary ground clearance in the off road mode and the ability to cross rivers up to almost 22 inches deep.

It's on the tarmac though, that theCayenne really lives up to its name. The V8 biturbo power unit complete with intercoolers develops a staggering 450bhpat 6,000rpm, so performance is savage.

Think about it; this is a two-ton off- roader capable of hitting 62mphin a mere 5.6 seconds and topping out at 165mph.

And you don't just have to drive the thing in a straight line. You can power through corners with quite fantastic grip and precision steering,all backed up by massive brake discs and Porsche's latest ABS system.

Despite all the gizmos and leather- clad luxury that goes with a range that starts at pounds 34,350 for the 3.2-litreV6 Cayenne and hits pounds 68,970 for the4.5litre V8 Turbo, the reare one or two criticisms to be made.

Some of the fittings aren't in keeping with cars of this price bracket such as the switches for temperature and fan,and cheap plastic cup-holders.

Otherwise this is a magnificent off-roader - and as the name suggests,it's redhot.

max

THIS is a two- ton off -roader capable of hitting 62mphin a mere 5.6 seconds and topping out at 165mph.

CAPTION(S):

MONSTER: The pounds 70,000 PorscheCayenne Turbo is a beast, on- road and off
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 7, 2004
Words:474
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