It’s a little-known fact, but from the beginning of the project, Porsche considered alternative body shapes to the standard five-door SUV for its first SUV, the Cayenne. Shortly after the launch of the first generation model in December 2002, three additional variants were studied: a revolution, a long version extended by 20 cm and an additional row of seats, and … convertible.
surprisingly, what would appear to be an unusual choice, the 4.8-meter-long Cayenne convertible, was not immediately discarded but built. There is still a copy of this open project Cayenne stored in the Porsche museum. It’s not a roadworthy model but what it’s called “Example of a Package Function” – or PFM for short. The designers removed the roof, but it was provided with measures to strengthen the body needed for replacement. It could not provide a safe and stable ride, so the model was transported by truck until needed.
This adjustable PFM was designed to evaluate only four parameters:
Are the seats comfortable throughout the car when the roof hits backwards and when the windshield and A-pillars are shortened? What? How does the Cayenne fit in as a two-door model with 20cm long doors? Is it possible to put together a stylish, high-quality soft top that also folds down quickly? And how should the back be provided?
There was still disagreement on the final step in 2002, so the back part splits into two different parts of the structure. The left rear light was placed low behind the car, while the right was higher.
If the car had reached production, of course only one rear design would have been kept in the end, and the technical issues would certainly have been resolved. The now-familiar soft-top mechanism had been observed: the Cayenne-PFM luggage compartment cover was placed at the front and rear, allowing it to be opened on both sides. The roof would move on a roll bar mounted and swallowed at the back by the lid of the luggage compartment, which opened in reverse, folding in a Z. It works similarly to the Porsche 911 Targa since the 991 generation model. However, the mechanism never went further of the computer simulation stage for the Cayenne convertible and was never fully built. Today, the prototype fabric helmet is kept in the luggage compartment of the museum and has to be lifted by hand if necessary.
While the concept of the Cayenne Revolution from 2002 was finally implemented in 2019 in a successful production model, the concept of a convertible does not seem to go further. Profit forecasts were not particularly promising and doubts remained whether the car would be as attractive as Porsche should have been. “The SUV as a convertible is a challenge for beauty and formality,” says Michael Mauer, who was not yet in office in 2002, looking at the concept today. SUV always has a wide and heavy body. You combine that with the top half a little bit, and then you cut the roof – you get really weird shapes coming out of it.
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