As the marshal waves me on, I stick my foot down, causing the Cayenne‘s nose to pitch in the air and the cabin to fill with V8 noise. There’s a reason it’s so damn loud in here - there’s not a whole lot left of the original interior.
I’m driving one of 26 examples of the Cayenne Transsyberia, perhaps the most ludicrous special edition Porsche has ever made. Modified to take on the 4,411-mile Transsyberia Rally while still remaining fairly close to stock, one of these things won the 2007 running of the event. A year later, the top six positions were all filled by Cayenne Transsyberias.
These vehicles are a blend of the first-generation Cayenne S and GTS. From the latter, the Transsyberia takes the pokiest version of Porsche’s naturally-aspirated 4.8-litre V8, good for around 400bhp. The binned interior made room for a roll cage, two huge fuel cells and a pair of spare wheels/tyres.
On that subject, the Transsyberia received chunky all-terrain boots, along with tough underbody protection, strengthened A and B pillars and a snorkel. And that’s about as far as it went - the whole point of this car was to prove the capability of a bog-standard Cayenne, so Porsche kept the air suspension as in. In its off-road setting, it already offered a healthy amount of ground clearance.
The full range of ride heights is there, so the car could be lowered for better handling. But we’ll leave it as is, and make sure the massive LED light bar is shining bright. Well, we should look the part, right?
The noise is probably the best part of the experience, but not because Porsche fitted some shouty, straight-through exhaust. The standard pipework remains, which is probably a good thing - it’s already very loud in here thanks to that stripped interior.
A relatively modest feeling of acceleration is at odds with the V8 soundtrack rattling around the tinny cabin. Having done my previous hill run in the more powerful, boosty first-gen Cayenne Turbo S, the more linear delivery here makes for a less dramatic delivery.
I’m going plenty fast by the first corner, though, and a hefty stab of the brake pedal is necessary to scrub off what I think is a sufficient amount of speed. It isn’t quite enough, as evidenced by the front tyres howling in protest. That blocky, off-road focused tread pattern isn’t best suited to tarmac and combined with the tall suspension, understeer is the order of the day.
With some more realistic corner entry speeds, the Transsyberia proves itself to be pretty handy. Not that this should be a surprise - the first Cayenne was one for the early SUVs that proved it was possible to make a heavy high-rider with remarkably good on-road manners.
Soon enough, the Cayenne is roaring its way up towards the scary flint wall, six-speed automatic gearbox flicking through cogs efficiently, if not quite as briskly as Porsche’s current either-speed box. After one last glorious dose of V8 noise, I’m over the finish line and backing off. It’s at this point I smell something melting, possibly a piece of tape on the hot, naked floor, or maybe my camera bag which is smushed behind the passenger seat.
The most bonkers thing about the Cayenne is that most of them are still out there in private ownership. They do come up for sale every now and then. One is listed right now in the Netherlands for £144,000, which as it happens is about the same as you pay for the new 631bhp Cayenne Turbo GT. That might be the fastest Cayenne ever, but the maddest? That prize surely goes to the Transsyberia.