A racy bunch of Porsche cars are revved up and ready to zoom along the Formula One track at Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, as part of the German brand’s impressive world roadshow. By Kannan Chandran
When you’ve got them all lined up and ready to be put through the paces, you get a better sense of the bigger scheme of things.
Too often, you take Porsche cars in isolation. The 911 is known for its iconic misbehavior. The Panamera for its commercialization of the brand and the Cayenne for the expansion of its reach. But when you stick them together, along with newer entrants like the Macan, the Cayman, and the new 718 the lineage and the breadth of the range becomes much clearer.
The Porsche World Roadshow at Sepang — on till July 21 — brings together a comprehensive array of the model range, most flown in from Germany, along with the brand’s instructors from various parts of the world. It woos Porsche owners and potential customers together to experience the cars in a setting most would not be familiar with.
While the Sepang track looks a bit tired, and the facilities are showing significant wear and tear, the surface has been freshly laid. On the circuit where the likes of Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso have screamed through in their Formula One cars, far less fit and athletic drivers clamber in and out of Porsche cars to appreciate the machines, and hopefully learn a thing or two about their own abilities as drivers.
From the acceleration and braking exercise to the competitive slalom course and the offroad drives where you move ever so slowly as the Cayenne hangs, a tyre off the ground before dropping to the surface, you get to understand firsthand this is not just a brand that makes you look good. And that the cars can do more than grace a driveway.
With Porsche’s marketing pushing the luxury aspects of car ownership, it takes a roadshow to showcase the prowess of the cars.
And while all the peripheral activities are good to participate in, it’s the pace of the cars on the track that lets you push it to the extent you are able to. Hopping in and out of the range of two-door cars, including the soon-to-be-launched 718 Boxster, and the four-door variants, you get a pretty good appreciation of the level of performance they are capable of, and how much you can push them.
With cones laid out to help the newbies find the right lines around the 5.5km track, and led by one of the Porsche instructors, groups of cars tear around the track, a ragtag formation of screaming engines and occasionally screaming occupants who are either smiling ear-to-ear at how the cars grip the track or gripped with fear at what their jewel of a car is able to deliver.
All in, it gives a good account of what the 10 or so models tested can offer, in the process validating the brand’s firm belief that regardless of the format of the vehicle, the intentions are always to deliver a spirited but safe drive.