Porsche Performance Tour Combines the Best of All Worlds
Alexandra Straub from Driving Television goes on a Porsche performance tour in Monte Tremblant.
The distinct grumble of the Porsche Cayman S’s mid-engine reverberates off the parkade walls at Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa.
But it’s not the only one turning heads.
Mix in the sweet melody of more flat-six, rear engine C4S 911s and you have yourself a musical masterpiece.
It’s almost as though you want to leave the PDK transmission in manual mode – in first gear – just to let the engine rev high and let the sound saturate your eardrums.
But there’s plenty more audible pleasure to be had down the road.
The baritone voices of the combined brigade of German engineering will try to remain as close to possible as a part of the Porsche Performance Tour.
With an “instructor” 911 in each pack, we’ll follow the leader through the under-construction city onto roads you didn’t even know existed.
And it’ll be spectacular.
The multi-day tour starts in Ottawa and takes participants through beautiful southwestern Quebec. With an overnight at the rustic Fairmont Chateau Montebello followed by the luxurious Hotel Quintessence in Mont-Tremblant the luxury automotive-focused lifestyle event is open to all and will surely be a trip you’re not soon to forget.
Construction is a motorist’s nemesis. No matter what kind of car you’re captaining.
More so when the Cayman S is at your fingertips and its 325 horsepower is ready to take action when you give it the green light.
But it’s only a short jaunt outside of Ottawa – and the construction zones – and into Quebec before the open country roads are at your disposal.
We know where we’re going thanks to a radio-based communication system.
Our guides give us directions – kind of like a highly personalized GPS. They even tell stories or give tips on which driving modes to be in to get the most out of the experience.
With the turning colours of the leaves and sinuous roads that lead you through Quebec’s cottage country, it’s a recipe for a good time.
A great time actually.
The Cayman S shines on the narrow, sinuous road. Put it in sport and you get that extra bit of stiffness and agility to take the turns head on.
Though the road imperfections are certainly felt, it’s a small compromise to make for a day of driving that you dream of.
The group intermittently will change up the vehicles, so those in the Caymans will then transition to Carreras and vice versa.
The rear engine, 400 horsepower, and all-wheel drive of the 4S yields more driving pleasure.
While neither of the cars’ capabilities will be put to the test until Day 3 – yes, we get track time – it’s still great to experience just how user friendly they are on public streets.
The second half of Day 1 comes with a nice twist; a twist of axles on a designated off road course.
No, we’re not taking the sports cars out there to play!
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But we do take Porsche’s best-selling Cayenne out there. The Cayenne Diesel no less.
While it’s a snippet of what this off-road ready vehicle can do, we put its hill descent control to the test, have it splash through massive puddles, drive on a steep embankment, play in the sand and more.
While most people who have a Cayenne probably won’t romp in the woods or off the beaten path, it’s still quite impressive how this SUV can go from high to low traction environments without even feeling out of place.
The day ended with a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Montebello where we left the chilly autumn day outside in exchange for a welcoming fireplace and a restful evening.
Back in the Caymans and Carreras and back on stable ground, we take the vehicles the long way to Mont-Tremblant from Montebello.
With the undulating roads that have been handpicked for us, it’s almost as if we have our own personal roller coaster to enjoy.
The two groups of cars move along steadily and at a brisk pace; brisk like the air first thing in the morning before we turn our heated seats on.
In the midst of colours that span from brilliant reds, to faded browns, we experience nature’s fragility first-hand while in the safe surroundings of the Porsches.
Pulling up to the Hotel Quintessence in Mont-Tremblant, the ski resort town is quite sleepy. It’s the heart of the off-season but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a flurry activity as the Porsches pull into town.
Here we rest for the evening and make sure we’re in tip top shape for the excitement of Day 3.
We’re trading in the slow, crawling speeds of the Cayennes from the off-roading course on Day 1 for the fast-paced action of the Circuit ICAR: aka track time.
The day is all ours to romp around in the two vehicles. The lead-follow session highlights just how tame but exciting either of the two cars can be.
It shows off the prowess of the Cayman’s near perfect weight distribution and then agility of the Carrera 4S’s planted nature at high speeds.
And just a perfect way to end a fantastic three-day tour that took us along some incredibly scenic roads, through the heart of Quebec’s cottage country, to an international ski destination, to some of the finest hotels and with some great company.