When the Porsche Cayenne was first unleashed in 2003, it kicked up more than just a cloud of dust in the automotive landscape. As the Stuttgart marque’s first foray into the SUV territory, it raised quite a few eyebrows in the purist echelons. A Porsche that could handle the rocky terrain just as proficiently as the race track?
It was inconceivable. And yet, as the dust settled, the reality became clear: The Porsche Cayenne was no mere pretender. The 1st generation model (955) and the subsequent 957 generation revealed themselves to be incredibly competent off the paved roads, a characteristic amplified by the availability of advanced AWD systems and the rear lockers on certain models.
Fast forward to 2010, and we were introduced to the 2nd gen Cayenne, or as the connoisseurs refer to it, the 958 body style. It brought a more streamlined look, better fuel economy, and a more refined driving experience. But for off-roading aficionados, one question loomed large: Did it retain its elder siblings’ off-road prowess?
To the delight of many, the answer was a resounding yes. Yet, despite the potential, the sight of a lifted 2nd gen Cayenne ready to tackle the wilderness is still quite a rarity. That’s precisely why the rig we’re about to dive into – a lifted 2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, owned by Kevin Okragly, is such a novel sight on our off-road trails.
It’s worth remembering that Motor Trend once praised the 2nd gen Cayenne Turbo as a “rare breed, a luxury SUV with the heart of a sports car.” Indeed, under the hood, it sports a burly 4.8L V8 twin-turbo engine, delivering an already exhilarating 500 horsepower in its stock configuration. But in Kevin’s setup, it’s further enhanced by a VR Tune, which gives it a little bit more in terms of performance.
This 958 stands tall on a set of Black Rhino Trabuco 20-inch wheels, wrapped with Nitto Ridge Grappler 265/50/20 tires. The air suspension has been modified with a 2-inch lift from Eurowise, providing the SUV with the necessary clearance to navigate rocky paths without worrying about scraping its belly.
Questions & Answers
How did you become interested in off-roading?
– When I was a kid I lived on a ranch here in Montana and had a 4-wheeler, I was on it constantly. In high school I graduated to various trucks and SUVs, we did a lot of back-roads exploring and camping out of our rigs. I also went through a few Jeeps in my early 20s.
Why did you choose a 958 Cayenne for your project?
– I actually started with a 2015 Cayenne S before I landed on the 2013 Turbo. I liked the 958.2 updates introduced in 2015. Problem was in Montana there isn’t a Porsche dealership within a 10 hour drive, or even used ones to go test drive. I had to do the research on the model differences (engine, suspension, interior, etc…) all without being able to see or drive one.
So I found a 2015 S in Detroit, I flew out to go get it and drive it home, and I hated it before I even got out of Michigan. The twin Turbo V6 wasn’t what I expected (in 2015 Porsche changed the S from a V8 to twin turbo V6). I had it for about a month, then traded it for a Turbo I found in Washington. Driving the Turbo home I immediately knew I made the right decision, completely different car.
What inspired you to choose this modification style?
– My goal was to create a highly capable off-road rig that I could take into the mountains, that was still a (reasonably) high performance car that was fun to drive. I also wanted all the creature comforts since it would be my daily. The very first Cayenne I saw for inspiration was here on Offroadium (@ourthrillogy). I had been considering building a Trailhawk or Wrangler, but I wanted something different than anything I had before. And besides, nothing says you’re a serious off-roader more than pulling up to the trail in a lifted Porsche with your Goldendoodle.
“My goal was to create a highly capable off-road rig that I could take into the mountains, that was still a (reasonably) high performance car that was fun to drive”.
What challenges did you face while putting it together?
– The biggest challenge I had was being in Montana where I didn’t have access to a dealership, other people doing similar builds on the platform, or shops that would take the project seriously (since I wasn’t building a Jeep or Toyota I was out of luck I guess). That changed when I found European Performance here in Billings, they dove into the project and absolutely crushed it.
“The other challenge was at the time there weren’t a lot of builds happening on the 958 generation Cayennes (955 and 957 builds are more common). I had to do a fair amount of trial-and-error as I went because there wasn’t a lot of information out there yet”.
The other challenge was at the time there weren’t a lot of builds happening on the 958 generation Cayennes (955 and 957 builds are more common). I had to do a fair amount of trial-and-error as I went because there wasn’t a lot of information out there yet. That combined with not having quick access to parts/mods in Montana made it a bit tedious when things didn’t fit or had to be exchanged, and everything had to be shipped each way.
What do you love about your Cayenne?
– This is the most fun rig I’ve ever owned. Since I had to take such a leap of faith when getting into the Cayenne platform for a build (since in Montana I didn’t have access to even drive one), I didn’t fully know what to expect. It exceeded my expectations, it’s way more capable off-road than I ever thought it would be, and it feels like a sports car on-road. You of course lose some on-road performance with all the mods, but it’s crazy fast, handles really well, and still smooth and stable at very high speeds.
Have to admit, I also love to see the looks I get from side-by-sides and ATVs when I’m way back on a trail in a Porsche sitting on cooled seats.
“This is the most fun rig I’ve ever owned”.
Is it your daily or a weekend ride?
– It’s my daily, and I usually insist we take it when the fam goes anywhere.
Do you take it off road? If so, where and how often?
– I try to get into the mountains every chance I get. I’m usually doing trails in Southern Montana and Northern Wyoming. I did an amazing trip to Moab with a group of Porsche/Touareg people and looking forward to doing that again (thanks Forge Motorsport Overland!)
Anything else you would like to share about your vehicle or about off-roading in general?
– I’m sure that all off-road enthusiast communities are great, but I can say the Cayenne/Toureg off-road people are some of the best. I’ve met a lot of great people, some in person, that are willing to help with info/experience/laughs/drinks or whatever is needed. Maybe it’s because it’s a relatively small community, and we probably all need to have our collective heads examined.
Specs & Mods 2013 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
- 4×4 / 4WD / AWD
- 4.8L V8 twin turbo
- VR Tune (Tuned Power 575HP | 605ft/lbs)
Lift height and suspension modifications
- Eurowise 2” air suspension lift – all modes work
- Black Rhino Trabuco 20” 5×130
- Nitto Ridge Grappler 265/50/20
- Eurowise full steel underbody protection kit
- Eurowise rock sliders
- Eurowise intercooler relocation brackets
- Eurowise roof rack
- LED front bar with DRL, side, rear, whip, and rock lights with central controller and switch panel
- Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android
- Front and rear camera through CarPlay
- Integrated radar detector
- Custom rear cargo spare tire and accessory setup with pull-out table
Watch the progress and find out more about this Porsche Cayenne 958 project by visiting the Instagram profile of the owner: @yippiecayennemthrfkr!
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Automotive journalist and technical writer at Offroadium.com with more than 10 years of experience in the sphere of aftermarket parts and 4×4 vehicle modifications. Passionate about off-roading, outdoor adventures, and an active lifestyle.