Meet the Porsche Cayenne Convertible That Never Was

Meet the Porsche Cayenne Convertible That Never Was

Does the Porsche Cayenne convertible ring any bells? Well, know that there was one. Just one. And here is his story.

From the late 1980s, Porsche Crossover (1909-1998) had sensed the commercial potential of the utility vehicle bearing his name. In 1989, he told his colleagues: “If we build a land vehicle that meets our quality criteria and wears a badge. Porsche ahead, it will sell. History has proven him right since, since its launch in 2002, the Cayenne has been the pillar of the brand’s global success. From there was born the idea of ​​multiplying the variants of this cash cow.

In twenty years of existence, The Cayenne he has seen his previous bodywork three times. The current third generation has even branched out when we created a variant with a more circular cabin called “coupe”; the expression of the vocabulary of bodybuilders that marketing gurus overuse!

Be that as it may, since the creation of the Cayenne, its manufacturer has studied other types of bodywork developed from the classic five-door SUV. Shortly after the launch of the original model, in December 2002, three variants were studied in its design studios: a 3-door coupé (real!), a version with a wheelbase extended by 20 cm and a third row of seats and a row of three seats. reversible.

Every variant got a 1:1 clay model, but only the convertible got a full-scale display version. Based on the approximately 4.8m long Cayenne, this unique model is engineless. It is now part of the collection of the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

A model that has never run

So this model has never been around. It is a type of model used to evaluate the effectiveness of the layout and design. At Porsche, we call it ” package performance example or PFM.

In a press release that tells the story of this model, the manufacturer tells us that it had to help its strategists evaluate the commercial potential of this type of car on the basis of four key factors:
The comfort of each seat with a more curved roof on the rear pillars and shortened front screen;
A practical aspect of the passenger compartment with only two doors, although 20 cm high;
The possibility of having an elegant and high-quality soft top designed to remove quickly;
Finally, how to design the back seats.

Since there was, among other things, a disagreement on this last point, two different models of the rear part were made, so this clay model with the lower left and upper right rear lights.

A super-smooth system like that of the current 911 Targa

If the car were to reach the production stage, its soft top would have the same mechanism as the one used for 911 Targa since 2014. The Cayenne-PFM luggage compartment lid would be designed to open on both sides and the soft top would be folded in a Z, moving over the fixed roll bar, to go into storage in the luggage compartment.

At that time, this concept of this hood was only at the stage of computer simulations, which explains why the model does not have one. The cloth cap that was prepared for him is now stored in his trunk and museum staff have to put it on by hand if necessary!

Now we know that Porsche didn’t follow through on the idea of ​​making this convertible. The forecast about its profit was probably not very promising. Some members of management also doubted that it was possible to make a production model that could possibly be as attractive as a Porsche product should be!

The current Porsche Design boss is not convinced by convertible SUVs

“Turning an SUV into a convertible is an aesthetic and technical challenge,” he explains Michael Mauerwho succeeded Harm Lagaay as head of the Design department in 2004, two years after the prototype was dropped.

Driving through it today, he adds: “An SUV always has a wide, heavy body. You combine that with a small top half and then cut the roof. So you get some really weird shapes that come out of it.”

A concept tested by other manufacturers

Porsche isn’t the only automaker that has had the idea of ​​turning the utility into a convertible since the start of the 21st century with the rise in popularity of SUVs. However, the poor performance of some seems to confirm Mr. Mauer to be precise.

Nissan went further than Porsche with the Murano CrossCabriolet. This two-door Murano convertible variant of the second generation was offered only in the United States, starting in 2011. The Japanese manufacturer, however, would sell only a few, or about 6,000 altogether, before announcing its withdrawal from the market. in April 2014.

Since consumer tastes and attitudes change over time, two other manufacturers followed suit. Land Rover tried its luck by launching the Range Rover Evoque convertible in 2017, a model that had mixed success. In Canada, for example, no more than 21 examples of this convertible model were produced in Canada in 2018, the year the British manufacturer decided to end its production.

This unfortunate experience, however, has not stopped Volkswagen from doing the same by launching the T-Roc convertible in 2020. This model which replaces the Eos, Golf Cabrio and Beetle convertible seems to benefit so far from a warmer welcome.

Image: Porsche, Nissan, Land Rover and Volkswagen

Text Meet the Porsche Cayenne Convertible That Never Was It comes from Annual car – Automotive News