The test track: the trunk roads of Langkawi. The lodgings: standalone beachside villas with private jacuzzis at the Four Seasons. The mission: to partake in a tasting menu comprising one car from each category of Porsche’s catalogue.

Picking a sports car is tedious work – said nobody ever.

And so we find ourselves here on this laid-back Malaysian island paradise in a convoy drive event organised by Porsche Asia Pacific to sample Stuttgart’s best. Although the cars are unified through Porsche’s signature silhouette and sporting pedigree, they in fact cover quite the spectrum – from rear-engined 2+2 and mid-engined two-seat convertibles to front-engined off-roaders and sedans. And, if you’re in the market for one of these tasty models, the choices can prove mystifying. Fret not: we’re here to help, so let’s press on.


Our first car of the day is also a brilliant introduction to the brand. This convertible (and its fixed-roof sibling, the Cayman) has been saddled with the unfair image of a car for those who can’t afford the 911. But drive a current example, now in its third incarnation, and any notion of it being a watered-down stepchild will be thoroughly dispelled.

Spritely and nimble, the cheeky Boxster is one of those rare cars that egg you on, dishing out wide margins of safety even when you think you have pushed its limits. In its favour is its compact size and neutral weight balance. The mid-engined car has its motor mounted behind the driver and in front of the rear wheels, which results in little inertia at the extremities to pull you wayward when you’re cornering fast. Plus – or “but”, depending on your disposition to noise – having the six-cylinder power plant so close to your ears means a front-row seat to the car’s spirited orchestra. Note: It seats strictly two. On the bright side, you also get one boot each, front and back.


Our appetites whetted, we move on to the first course proper. We drove this generation of Panamera a couple of years back in South Korea and found it a rapid yet comfy contender that stands on its own against competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Maserati Quattroporte.

The plug-in hybrid, though, wasn’t available to us then. It’s rather ambitious: a massive battery tucked under the boot supplies juice to the electric motor, allowing you to drive emissions-free (from the tailpipe, at least) for up to 36km. That’s enough for two round-trip commutes between your Nassim Road bungalow and your Raffles Place office. The hefty battery takes its toll, though. In spite of its lofty performance figures, the car feels ponderous when pushed hard. The brakes, too, lack bite due to the energy recovery technology built into them. Not that any of this matters when cruising down the PIE, but, if you are after the ultimate sports sedan – and don’t care about green credentials – pick one with a conventional drivetrain.


The surprise of the day. What this oil-burner lacks in top-end grunt – on paper, it’s the slowest of the gang by far – it makes up for in sheer ardour with its massive low-end torque. It’s startlingly agile, too, for a beast that weighs 2.1 tonnes and keeps up with the rest of the convoy on twisty roads, breaking nary a sweat.

It’s little wonder the Cayenne is a bestseller for Porsche. Yes, it’s not a 911, but take solace in this: When your little bundle of joy arrives and it’s time to trade your car in for something with real rear seats and a trunk to swallow up that baby buggy, you could do a lot worse than this off-roader.


Porsche equals the 911. Early versions were a handful but they rewarded skilled driving with some of the best fun one can have on four wheels. These days, though, the car flatters newcomers and old hands alike. You have to be pretty ham-fisted to unsettle this car. There’s oodles of feedback in the steering; point it to where you want to go and it follows your direction to the inch. But, if you want the tail to slide out just a bit, it will oblige.

Lesser cars in this category give you enough rope to hang yourself with; while the 911 doesn’t keep you on a tight leash, it takes care of all the drama thanks to a brilliant chassis honed over decades of development, aided by smart electronics that takes over as an arbiter of last resort. The result: overcook the occasional corner and it brings you gently back in line, every time. At the risk of sounding like a fogey, the entire package feels very grown up and is the best all-rounder here.


Finally, we end with the Porsche’s baby 4×4 – a fitting finale. Like the Cayenne, the Macan punches, quite literally, above its weight. Porsche took many components from sister company Audi to build the Macan – thankfully, those you can’t see – and turned it from something pedestrian to a vehicle that’s worthy of the Porsche badge. It can be spec’d with all the usual goodies like torque vectoring, air suspension and adjustable dampers, which means, like the Cayenne, it handles nothing like an SUV. Couple this with the maddest engine on offer – 340hp and 550Nm – and you have the ultimate crossover.

(RELATED: Read The Peak’s review on Porsche’s Macan SUV)