It’s quite tough to “exercise restraint”, as we were advised earlier in the day, when you have the full line-up of Porsches at your disposal on what could pass off as India’s longest runway, the Yamuna Expressway between Noida and Agra. This was the Porsche Driving Experience, and I was among the few lucky journalists there to familiarise themselves with the manufacturer’s India team and, of course, the cars. Two days, four cars and 450-odd kilometres of driving – quite the ice-breaking session, this.
Day one had us drive Porsche’s ‘people movers’, the Cayenne and the Panamera. Now the majority of those who buy these cars in India like them to be diesels; petrol-crazed auto journalists don’t. So there was some disappointment to find that the cars we were to drive were all oil burners. The only petrol Cayenne in the fleet was the mad-sounding 420bhp GTS reserved for the photographers to shoot action shots from. Darn!
Anyway, the day started well. I was quite taken by the diesel Cayenne’s ability to gather pace. Taken, because the Cayenne’s 2.1-tonne weight and its 3-litre V6 diesel’s 240bhp don’t translate to much, at least not on paper. Out on the open expanse we were on, though, it felt quick enough. If let loose, we’d have probably done the 165km distance to Agra in less than an hour. However, the plan was to switch cars at the 100km mark and head back to our hotel in Noida. Like many of you, I’m no fan of the humpbacked Panamera’s looks, but I will vouch for the Diesel’s ability to gobble miles… and its fuel efficiency. I know, I know, we’re talking about a car that costs upwards of a crore. But let’s not forget, the Panamera is a grand tourer at the end of the day.
The next day was devoted to trying the less level-headed Porsches. The ‘real’ Porsches. The ones responsible for making Porsche the legendary name it is. The sportscars.
The 911 clearly surpassed my highest expectations. The way it took off, the way it sounded and even the way it braked simply blew me away. And I’m talking of the 400bhp 911 Carrera S here. I can’t even imagine how explosive the upcoming Turbo will be. My blast back to the end point was in the Boxster S, a car so beautifully balanced that I was tempted to take a detour to the Buddh F1 circuit enroute just for a hot lap or two. Thrilling, nonetheless.
The good thing is, if you’re a prospective buyer or even if you just want to ogle these cars, you won’t be too far from a Porsche showroom. Porsche is gung-ho about India and is on track to add six new dealerships over the coming year. As for me, I just wish Porsche could also import sections of Germany’s autobahns to drive these cars the way they are meant to be driven.