The unveiling of the Porsche Cayenne as the German marque’s first SUV 21 years ago was famously controversial. At the time, we asked various experts for their views. So, who was prophetic and who’s been made to look a fool? 

Peugeot designer Keith Ryder said: “I was expecting something with a lot more character and strength. It’s a disappointment.” 

Brand consultant Steve Saxty followed: “The world doesn’t need a 450bhp SUV and Porsche doesn’t need this car. But it will still sell.” 

Martin Ward, a researcher at Cap, said: “Why have they done it? I can’t understand. Porsche is good at sports cars, not 4x4s. It’s just climbing on a bandwagon.” 

Porsche GB marketing chief Geoff Turral said: “Will it dilute the brand? It won’t be on a big enough scale for that, and the Boxster and 911 are strong enough anyway. In any case, like all Porsches, it’ll live or die by the driving experience.” 

Dealer Tom Hartley Jr was also positive, as it would cost less than £50k yet ought to be better to drive than the BMW X5 or Range Rover

Maranello Concessionaires exec Philip Mills said: “The four-wheel-drive market, and certainly the off-road market, is just not relevant for Ferrari or Maserati. There’s a danger if a firm moves away from its core market”. Awks… 

And Aston Martin engineer Jeremy Main said: “We’d never go into the SUV market. It’s clearly understood what an Aston Martin is, and it’s not an SUV. The two simply don’t go together.” Awks…

Sixteen-year-old stuns stars going sideways at Silverstone

In the 2000s, Autocar annually ran the Sideways Challenge, a day where our testers and driving stars would convene to see who could hold the best drift. And in 2002, it was enhanced as, for the first time, we invited our readers along too. 

The best of the 20 was Matt Walton, amazingly aged just 16, so he got to join our testers; racers Derek Bell, Anthony Davidson, Tiff Needell, Jason Plato and Frank Stippler; rally drivers Jean Ragnotti and Richard Tuthill; engineering gurus Chris Porritt and Gavan Kershaw (the reigning champion); and many more. 

Their cars spanned wildly from the default-choice BMW M3 to Ascar racers to a Bentley Arnage T to a Nissan Navara pick-up and, erm, a Ford Granada hearse. 


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