Nothing says style and luxury quite like Porsche in the world of automobiles. As part of its Driving Dreams campaign, I travelled to Langkawi Island to come up-close and personal with Porsche’s latest crop, a stunning range that runs the gamut from the bachelor-approved 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet to the newest incarnation of the ever-popular Cayenne S. The location was the dreamy Four Seasons Resort, just right by the picturesque and seemingly boundless Andaman Sea, the perfect location considering the occasion at hand. After all, it is entirely acceptable, and common, I’d think, for speed enthusiasts to dream about cruising in a Porsche.
To get behind the mechanics of the latest range, one had to get behind the wheel. I was presented with an incredible collection of cars: 911 Turbo, 911 Carrera GTS, 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet, 911 Targa 4, Boxster GTS, Cayman GTS, Cayenne S E-Hybrid, Cayenne S, Cayenne Diesel, Panamera S E-Hybrid, Panamera 4, Macan Turbo and Macan S. If you’re car-obsessed, seeing these beauties lined up in a row, one after another, is like waking up on Christmas morning. How can a girl choose? When it comes to Porsche, however, beauty isn’t just skin-deep.
“Intelligent performance has been the driving force for Porsche to develop our cars with focus in addressing mobility and connectivity topics. Evidently, Porsche is working on this with the first battery-powered four seat concept car, the Mission E with over 600 hp, over 500 kilometre driving range and around 15 minutes’ charging time to reach an 80 per cent charge of electrical energy,” explained Martin Limpert, the managing director of Porsche Asia Pacific. “With pioneering technologies that combine performance and efficiency, Porsche continues to build the sportiest cars in the segment and strengthening the position as the world’s most successful manufacturer of exclusive sports cars.”
After taking in the splendour of all 14 of the cars before me, it was time to put them to the test. The order of business was to take them across Langkawi Island, a nearly 200-kilometre journey through the villages and past iconic landmarks, from the lighthouse at Pantai Cenang to the breathtaking Gunung Raya, the island’s tallest mountain.
My first model was the Panamera S E-Hybrid. Aside from clean and ultra sleek leather-covered interiors, which is expected, since this is Porsche we’re talking about, the first thing you’d notice is how audibly absent the engine is. You sort of have to check that it’s on and even then you’re unconvinced. That’s the fossil-free battery talking – or rather, not talking – the Panamera S E-Hybrid’s crowning glory that’s not only remarkably quiet, but also lasts up to about 35 kilometres on the road entirely on its own with a maximum speed of 135km/h, all while emitting just 71 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Needing only 2.3 hours to be fully charged, the beauty of the S E-Hybrid is its ability to draw power from conventional sockets.
It takes a longer time, for sure, but it means you get to power up even when you’re away from your garage. Charging when you’re actually on the road works too, owing to the brake energy recovery system and the combustion engine, which is hardly shabby itself, by the way, enabling a maximum speed of 270km/h. When you combine the two, the Panamera goes from 0 to 100km/h in just a little over 5 seconds. The adaptive air suspension made for a soothing ride too, even when it came to the winding roads near the hillier regions of Langkawi Island. The Panamera S E-Hybrid may be the more practical and spacious one of Porsche’s newest offerings, but it still packs power when the time comes for it.
The test-drive with the Panamera S E-Hybrid came to a halt at the Datai Golf Club, one of tumbling pastures with borrowed drama from the rain that had just passed and the lush forests on its periphery, a very fitting scenario for my next model – the Cayenne S. For someone who grew up in SUVs, this one was right up my alley.
The Cayenne has remained one of Porsche’s popular kids since its introduction in 2002, and it’s easy to see why. It’s huge on the inside, even more so than the Panamera, but it still behaves like a Porsche. The refreshed version is much sleeker and stylish too, kudos to Porsche, rendering a certain lightness to the stocky car. Like the Panamera, sans the electric motor, the Cayenne S runs on a V6, accelerates to 100km/h in 5.5 seconds and goes up all the way to 259km/h. For its build, it’s an impressive score. You see, speed really isn’t a problem for Porsche, even for the bigger vehicles. The Cayenne S is one of the lucky ones endowed with a Sport Plus button, a feature to remind you that you’re in a sports car. The engine becomes more responsive, the steering more direct, the damping harder. The effect and thrill are immediate. There’s even a performance display on the dashboard to track lap times. What’s perhaps most satisfying about the Cayenne S, to me at least, was how it handled curves, bends and even hills with swiftness and ease, again, rather unexpected for its size.
Alas, my journey across Langkawi Island came to its inevitable end, though not without a little surprise. I was presented with a quiz that would determine my “dream car” from Porsche. My result? The 911 Turbo in Jet Black Metallic, one sick ride that I think even Bruce Wayne would ditch his Batmobile for on an off day. It’s all beautiful curves with a maximum speed of a whooping 315km/h, the fastest of the lot. This was a surprise, considering my affinity with SUVs. (Okay fine, so I tweaked my responses just a bit so that I’ll get something super sleek. But hey, this is about picking my dream car, isn’t it?)
This story first appeared in the December/January 2015 edition of L’Officiel.
Text by Candice Chua
Images by Richard Chen
Styling by Wei Lun Tok