No matter how much power a manufacturer delivers in a new car, it is never enough for some. This is most certainly the case with Porsche's brilliant new Cayenne Turbo, the performance tour de force of the SUV set.
As Porsche tuners go, 9ff is the new kid on the block, but its staff comes from well-known companies. Based in the North German town of Dortmund, 9ff is the brainchild of Jan Fatthauer and Christian Fey, Porsche enthusiasts and formerly senior members of the Brabus development team. Jan came to 9ff after a 2-year stint at Ruf, while Christian joined him directly from Brabus.
"The Cayenne attracts a very different customer from your usual Porsche buyer," Jan explained. "It is a big, heavy vehicle, and literally the antithesis of everything else Porsche does. In modifying it we had to accept the fact that we were dealing with a 2,300kg car optimized for a broad spectrum of customers, and had to think about how we could give it sharper claws."
An SUV does not begin to look well proportioned until it sits on at least 20-in.-diameter wheels. 9ff goes much further than that with 10Jx22-in. alloys and enormous 265/35R22 rubber. A big off-roader needs a wheel that looks visually capable of supporting it. The car has to look tough, so 9ff came up with a design that looks substantial, but elegant. It also looks "technical" and "rugged" in keeping with the character of the vehicle.
Prerequisites of alloy wheels are the need to be light and strong, which these wheels are, and to provide sufficient airflow to cool hard-working brakes, which they do. Customers also consider it important that you should be able to see their expensive big brakes through the spokes as well, and you can certainly see the 9ff Cayenne's 400mm front discs with the huge eight-pot alloy calipers. The rear 330mm/four-pot brakes are stock Porsche.
The air suspension is lowered by 30mm on all its settings through a combination of ECU re-programming and mechanical recalibration. This gives the vehicle a much better stance when you are going slowly without adversely affecting ride quality.
Of course, the massive 22-in. wheels and tires do affect the ride quality, and I found it best to leave the suspension in Comfort mode on country roads and only used the more sporty settings on smooth autobahnen.
The interior is stock apart from a very nice 9ff sports steering wheel, its black and silver color scheme perfectly matches the factory black leather and aluminum trim.
Out of the box, the 4.5-liter bi-turbo V8 motor produces 450 bhp at 6000 rpm with a solid 457 lb-ft wedge of torque from 2250 to 4750 rpm. Currently, 9ff offers three stages of tune-510 bhp, 530 bhp and 580 bhp, with the latter still under development during my visit.
The basic 510-bhp Stage One is an ECU-only conversion, which highlights the limitation of airflow in the stock turbochargers. To get the extra 20 bhp for Stage Two, 9ff swaps the two factory catalytic converters per side for one larger 200-cell free-flow metal catalytic converter per side, whose very high-grade materials reduce backpressure and improve turbo response while allowing the motor to meet EU4 emissions standards.