But SUVs are big and heavy, they can’t possibly be fit for the job—this was the de rigueur opinion back in 2002 when Porsche introduced the first Cayenne. Two decades later, the perpetual advance of these high-riders means the super-SUV genre is richer than ever. And while pro-sliding SUVs are not yet a trend, it looks like this first-gen drift Cayenne is working towards that goal.
Fielded by Toronto, Canada-based, Ukraine-born pro drifter Andrey Musienko, the Porsche Cayenne was completed this summer. And while we’re not sure about European enthusiasts, U.S. aficioandos need not fret, as the slip angle beast will eventually make it across the border.
Even with the Nurburgring lap times of the current, third-generation Cayenne, I can tell you that each generation change has seen the German SUV trading off some of the original’s rawness for extra refinement.
As hinted by the polarizing design of the era’s fried egg headlights (here’s a 2022 version of the quirky lights), Porsche wasn’t 100% sure where to go with its first SUV twenty years ago, which is why this OG feels quite raw and brilliant to drive by contemporary super-SUV standards. Heck, the Cayenne GTS that Porsche introduced in 2008 mated its N/A V8 to a six-speed manual!
German metal with an American heart
Well, this sideways behemoth, a pre-facelift Gen I Cayenne, also packs a stick shift, especially since the clutch is a valuable tool for controlling the slide. However, the engine compartment no longer holds a German engine. Instead, the drift Cayenne sports an LS2.
The 6.0L V8 works with a supercharger and during a recent dyno test, the engine delivered 530 horsepower at the rear wheels (did you really expect AWD to still be present?). In the crankshaft horsepower language we use for showroom cars, that’s over 600 hp, which more or less puts this contraption on par with the current Cayenne Turbo GT that matches the might of its Lamborghini Urus platform mate.
Oh, and that gnarly soundtrack accompanying this dancing elephant comes courtesy of 2-inch headers and a 3-inch exhaust. The pipes? They’re still at the back, but we can talk about a side exhaust, as you’ll notice in the second video below, where the sound of the drone capturing the drift is devilishly mixed with that of the boosted LS2.
Yes, there’s a hydraulic handbrake wide-angle steering, along with aftermarket coilovers, custom knuckles, and front arms… just like you’d expect from a drifting machine.
The radiators that allow Andrey to keep the Porsche sliding for prolonged periods are protected by a bash bar. And, thanks to the builders of the drift Cayenne (@team_deafbonce), we found out that the said bar was designed by an artist whose immersive renderings are already present on our pages: Kasim Tlibekua, aka tlibekua.
The interior has been left pretty much stock, save for the the custom controls (steering wheel and shifter included) and a pair of Bentley Continental seats up front. Yes, they’re fitted on custom rails.
The drift Cayenne can’t defy physics, but it looks damn good while obeying its laws
Sitting low on 22-inch Rotifom wheels with the drifting-appropriate amount of negative camber, the Cayenne’s mass seems to show—the SUV seems to be wafting around a little as its master keeps those slip angles sweet in the first Instagram video below. Rumor has it the man only does that so we can take a better look at the Ninja Turtles wrap adorning the vehicle.
Naturally, there’s more inertia than with the lighter drift cars that normally grace our screens. But none of that seems to sway Andrey in his quest for sideways shenanigans. So here’s a massive thumbs up from me!