Exploring Ipoh with the new made-in-Malaysia Porsche Cayenne!

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To celebrate the launch of the first-ever, made-in-Malaysia Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Asia Pacific invited us up to Kuala Lumpur to experience the new Cayenne on a specially curated lifestyle drive to and from Ipoh. 

For my first ever media trip, getting an invite from Porsche of all brands seemed like a dream come true. So I’d like to start by thanking Porsche for being generous enough to invite me and our plucky little publication to KL to sample the all-new, Malaysia-born Porsche Cayenne. 

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We began our trip at The Club Saujana Resort, a peaceful hotel on the fringes of KL city. It was also conveniently right across the street from Porsche Centre Ara Damansara, where all the cars used on the trip came from. There were five of the new locally-assembled Cayennes catered, with each car shared between a couple of us journalists. 

After a lovely breakfast and a quick drivers’ briefing, we were shown to our cars and found that they had already been loaded up with all our luggage and assorted barang-barang. The cavernous boot of the Cayenne had zero issues accommodating several pieces of luggage. Thanks to the air suspension system (which I’ll touch on more later), the Cayenne is even able to “squat” by lowering itself in the rear to make it even easier to load and unload the boot. 

The drive itself would take us a couple hours north of KL into Ipoh, land of hor fun, caves, and apparently according to some of the Malaysian journalists, the prettiest girls in Malaysia (I did not actually see any girls and therefore cannot confirm this). 

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Once we set off from The Club Saujana, we quickly got onto the highway up towards Ipoh. The ease with which the Cayenne moves quickly became apparent. Even from the passenger seat, I could tell there was never any sense of delay nor undue effort from the 3-litre, turbocharged V6 engine. Once we pulled into a petrol station and I jumped in the driver’s seat though, I could finally feel what the Cayenne was like for the first time. And what a response the Cayenne gave me. 

Power was more than sufficient and combined with the 8-speed automatic gearbox, created a driving experience so beautifully refined. Gearshifts are almost imperceptible and it's so quiet that highway cruising is an absolute cinch in the Cayenne. We spent about half an hour more on the highway before turning off onto some B-roads on the way to our first stop, Bukit Ulu Temoh. 

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Once we got off the highway, we used the dial on the wheel to put the Cayenne into Sport and Sport Plus mode to see how it would tackle some tighter, curvier roads. In Sport mode, the air suspension system firms up the damping and drops the car’s ride height with Sport Plus mode going another step further. The throttle response also sharpens for a more instant kick when you get on the loud pedal. Not that this car is by any means loud. 

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Even in the sportier modes and when driven aggressively, the Cayenne still retains its composure, never getting out of sorts and never being brash or obscene with the way it drives. It’s still quiet and smooth, with more than enough grip to give you an engaging drive. But the most impressive aspect of the Cayenne was its exceptional body control. Even though this is a tall, heavy SUV, not once did it feel like the car was wallowing or lurching, instead staying firmly planted and stable even when driven in a less responsible manner. 

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Our first stop of the trip was a sandy layby next to a lovely blue lake. Here, Porsche Malaysia had set up another locally-assembled Cayenne with a range of Porsche Tequipment products like the roof tent. The roof tent expands the Cayenne’s capabilities to now also include glamping. With the tent mounted (but folded of course), you can still drive up to 130km/h and have no issues. Porsche Malaysia also very generously laid out an assortment of cold drinks, snacks, and even some durian to refresh us before the next leg of our drive.

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The next leg took us into the city of Ipoh for a spot of lunch before we split up to explore the town on our own. My group decided to visit Tasik Cermin, a scenic spot just outside Ipoh famous for its Mirror Lake. While we didn’t see the lake itself, we got the chance to photograph the Cayenne in front of the limestone hills that surround the lake. Here, we were able to capture some of the Cayenne’s special features. 

While the Malaysian-built Cayennes are all technically base-spec only, Porsche Malaysia have fitted these cars with some of the common options that Malaysians order as standard equipment. This means features like adaptive cruise control, soft-close doors, 20-inch wheels, and the Sport Chrono package are now all standard and come with this base-spec, locally-assembled Cayenne. For comparison, a Cayenne spec-ed out the same way in Singapore would run you SGD$446,261 without COE. 

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After a long day of driving and shooting, we were all ecstatic to be able to retire to our overnight halt, the fantastically plush Banjaran Hot Springs Retreat on the outskirts of Ipoh. Nestled in a valley amongst rainforests, limestone hills, caves, and natural hot springs, this hotel proved to be an absolutely divine place to spend the night. Porsche Malaysia had also set up the Cayenne with the roof tent on a platform beside the hot spring, providing a gorgeous backdrop for us to get more content with the car. 

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After a lovely dinner and some much-needed sleep, we got ready the next morning to head back down towards KL. But before that, we made a quick detour through some unpaved roads to get a feel of how the Cayenne performs offroad. Thanks to the air suspension, the Cayenne is able to raise and lower its ride height depending on the drive mode. In Sport Plus, the car is at its lowest and in Offroad II, the car is at its tallest. This increased ride height made the uneven, cratered trail we were on a complete doddle, well within the capabilities of the Cayenne. 

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What impressed me the most though was the isolation that the cabin occupants got. While I could feel the car going over and getting moved about by rough, washboard surfaces, that vibration and shaking never got transferred into the cabin and we could continue our drive in supreme comfort. Even offroad, steering the Cayenne was a point-and-shoot affair, just aim the car where you want to go and it’ll take you there with no effort at all. While this trail was not too challenging, it still shows the prowess of the Cayenne in all manner of use cases. 

Throughout the entire drive, not once did the Cayenne feel like it was out of place or getting pushed to do something it wasn’t comfortable with. It was immensely capable in every scenario, from being rock solid on the highways, pliable through the B-roads, and adept when offroad. It kept all of us fussy occupants in supreme comfort the entire time and I cannot think of a vehicle better suited to the drive we were on. 

Read More: mReview: Porsche Cayenne Platinum Edition - The Pragmatic Premium Choice

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