Its “Porsche-ness” thus demonstrated, the 340-horsepower (450 horse for the turbo version) Cayenne was subjected to a variety of off-road brutalities, including the deep, shifting sands of Dubai. “Sand poses an incredible challenge to all off-road vehicles,” says Gilman. “Traction control won’t work in sand; you have to let the wheels slip a bit, because the surface is constantly shifting. Otherwise, the vehicle bogs down.”

From Dubai, the Cayenne was whisked to Scandinavia for cold-weather and deep-snow testing. “We looked for weather that’s as cold as we can find and still have roads,” says Gilman. “Sometimes, the roads ended and we continued on frozen river beds.”

Only time will tell — 50 years, to be exact — if the Cayenne will have the staying power of the Corvette. But even if the model doesn’t survive a half-century, it seems likely that most of the original ’03 cars will still be going strong.