Porsche SUV family

Porsche SUV’s Cruise The Cabot Trail

Cruising the Cabot Trail is always a treat. When you do it in a 2017 Porsche SUV, it makes for a pretty cool couple of days at the “office.”

Ten writers from across the country were invited by Porsche Canada to get re-acquainted with the hot-selling Macan crossover and its bigger brother, the Cayenne, on a tour of the Cabot Trail.

We had five models to drive over the course of our two-day visit: Three Cayenne GTS with various options and two Macan models: Turbo and Turbo with the new performance package.

The Cabot Trail, one of the world’s great drives, is lightly travelled during the week at this time of year.

It’s a scenic, twisty, two-laner that provides plenty of opportunity to “let it out” just a bit.

It’s been years since I visited Cape Breton and I’m happy to discover it presents a more prosperous face to the world these days. Homes appear newer, there are more places to eat and more places to stay. Tourism plays a bigger part of the island economy it seems but the lobster industry also appears to be thriving.

The season is open and the water is dotted with fishing boats hauling in their catch.

We start the journey in a Cayenne GTS clad in Meteor Grey metallic paint (a $910 option), this beauty will hit the bank account for $131,900. (All prices including delivery).

Like the rest of our landlocked fleet by the sea, this thing is way more sport than utility, but will still take four people on a scenic tour with all of their luggage. If they pack with some restraint.

Under the hood is a 3.6L V6 engine that puts an astounding 440 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through an 8-speed Tiptronic S transmission. No problem with finding the “sport” here, the trick is to keep velocities within spitting distance of legal.

Cayenne accelerates with incredible enthusiasm, brakes even faster and handles corners nearly as well as its sports car cousins.

Even in sport mode on a road that shows some ravages of a severe winter, it transports its passengers in comfort.

All our testers came with a lineup of electronic nannies lurking in the background to take charge if the driver should foul up. Lane Change Assist is one of those love-it or hate-it features and you can count me in the latter group.

The “assist” seems like it wants to take over at the slightest provocation. While it will keep the vehicle between the lines for a considerable “hands-free” distance, it will also be quite insistent on taking over if I stray too close to the lines.

I turn it off, as I did with the rest of the similarly-equipped vehicles in our test group.

Next up is a Macan Turbo in sapphire blue that tips the pricing scale at $108,390 (including $1,200 delivery).

Macan is the hottest seller of the lineup and despite being a little smaller than Cayenne is still reasonably roomy for four with luggage. It uses twin turbocharging to wring 400 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque out of its 3.6L V6. Shifting is handled by a 7-speed PDK automatic.

A little less zoom, a little less room, but still a fun ride.

The day ends with an overnight stop at Cabot Links with its golf course that’s rated in the top 100 courses in Canada. I’d rate it more highly, but then I am at best a duffer.

The next day saw the journey continue with the first leg in a Macan Turbo with performance package that ups the ante by $1,910 to $110,300 and pushes the twin turbo’s output into Cayenne territory at 440 hp and 442 lb. ft. of torque. Before options it starts at $98,800.

Values continue to climb in the next vehicle, a Carmine Red Cayenne GTS with premium plus package, Sports Chrono and Bose audio for a price tag of $125,490.

Then we’re into another Cayenne in Sapphire blue that adds a host of options (including $190 for an “aluminum look” fuel filler cap) that lift the price to $134,855.

Porsche ticks off a lot of boxes with both Cayenne and Macan, most notably performance and handling. Cayenne is getting a little long in the tooth and is due for a makeover. Macan could also use a some refreshing.

The navigation system needs an upgrade. On a couple of occasions, the system missed planned stopping points by a much as 2 km.

And the buttons! Oh my God, the buttons! More than 80 of them in the cockpits of Cayenne and nearly as many in Macan. Granted, some were redundant, but the centre console alone has enough buttons to push MY buttons.

But, long in the tooth or not, these vehicles will please performance junkies, keep four people comfortable (although Macan legroom is a bit tight), and haul a fair amount of gear.

And there’s nothing like one of the world’s great drive routes for a reunion.

Related links:
Porsche Canada

Translate »