Porsche - The Efficiency of Rationality
The Efficiency of Rationality

The new Cayennes get even better mileage.

Strong. Sleek. Efficient. These three words capture how the latest generation of the Cayenne is continuing its story of success. That includes striking design elements, even greater fuel efficiency, and more extensive standard features. Higher performance and torque on the one hand and lower fuel consumption on the other—for Porsche, these attributes are not mutually exclusive. A new item is the 3.6-liter V6 bi-turbo engine in the Cayenne S. This assembly develops a peak output of 420 hp (309 kW) at 6,000 rpm. With the Sport Chrono Package, the Cayenne S accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds.

The new generation also includes a world premiere. The Cayenne S E-Hybrid is the first plug-in hybrid in the premium SUV sector. Its three-liter V6 compressor engine (333 hp/245 kW) and electric motor (95 hp/70 kW) have a combined output of 416 hp (306 kW) at 5,500 rpm, and an overall torque of 435 lb.-ft. between 1,250 and 4,000 rpm. This output enables top-level sports-car driving performance: from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and a peak speed of 151 mph. The peak speed on electric power is 78 mph.

Develop, discover, conquer

Porsche broke new ground with the Cayenne a good decade ago. The SUV has been blazing new trails ever since.

A special SUV and a special magazine have a lot in common: they provide space, open new horizons, offer intensity and variety, and are devoted to discovery. As such, the Cayenne quickly took over the terrain at Christophorus. The reporters were already announcing the launch of a new dimension when the sporty SUV was still in its final stage of testing: “One day, Porsche harked back to its successful rally tradition and decided to turn off the fast beaten track, onto the road less traveled—and rougher. On that day, the idea for a completely new vehicle was born.”

There was a lot of talk about visuals and character back then in 2002, and about supposed contradictions which, as it turned out, would end up exerting a magical appeal in this very different Porsche. That will remain the case when the newest generation of the Cayenne comes onto the market. The guiding principle of the Porsche board back then is also every bit as relevant: “If rationality can be combined so admirably with ardency, we should jump at the chance.” The cover of Christophorus at the time featured a clarion call to “sharpen your senses.”

To spot opportunities, and above all to make use of them—this is what explorers do. This mentality has been much in evidence ever since Porsche broke new ground with the Cayenne. The gene was already firmly anchored back when the idea of the car was born. And the Cayenne had hardly been launched before its creators were already indicating where this all-terrain vehicle would be heading: “We have a long way behind us and an exciting journey before us.” Oliver Laqua, the overall vehicle project director for the SUV model line, praises the family values in the development work despite the different set of aims, noting that “we worked very closely together with our colleagues from Wolfsburg.” This carefully cultivated shared foundation served as the springboard for what is typically Porsche. Laqua uses the term “sharpen” to describe this deliberate approach. “Our focus was to combine sportiness with all-terrain abilities.” The Porsche engineers knew exactly what they were getting into. Developing the joint platform and the Cayenne at a lively pace, they quickly revealed the technical potential on the basis of what are known as assembly bearers, and transferred the Porsche genes to the new car.

The Cayenne’s size and all-terrain abilities meant that the company could reach completely new groups of buyers and therefore new markets as well, especially in Asian countries with infrastructures that were still largely prohibitive to the 911 and the Boxster. The issue of Christophorus that described the first facelift therefore featured the title “The Globetrotter,” followed by this teaser: “Like no other Porsche, the Cayenne is in a position to carry the message of an innovative, extremely sporty company—to the farthest corners of the world.” Karl Heeß, the project director for the suspension, recalls the exciting beginnings: “Was that new territory for us? Of course. And everywhere at once! We hadn’t explored these dimensions before; this was a new sector, a new joint project with responsibility for a platform, and later even a new factory.” The engineer’s enthusiasm is still evident today. “We wanted to set standards, of course, as expected from Porsche. And we did so, for example with the pneumatic suspension, which hadn’t been seen in the SUV sector before.”

As usual for Porsche, the Cayenne could also prove its sports-oriented qualities under competitive conditions. The Transsyberia Rally, for example, which ran east from Moscow to Ulan Bator in the middle of Mongolia, gave drivers and vehicles around 4,350 miles of rough, challenging, spectacular terrain. The fourteen day-long stages in 2007 and 2008, some with hundreds of miles of special tests, pushed both the people and the materials to their limits. Note­worthy is that every car at the start was a standard-series Cayenne. The car raised a lot of dust, and created a sensation in the process.

As the Cayenne family expanded—in North America, the Middle East, and the Far East, the name had become synonymous with an especially sporty SUV—Christophorus summarized the principles of its further development as follows: “There is no such thing as bad terrain; there is only the wrong equipment. And there is no chance of having that with the new generation of the Cayenne. It loves steep slopes, both on and off the road. And it redefines the meaning of pleasure.” Because that is and will always be the point: Why drive a roomy car just because it’s useful?

The Cayenne also kept showing its explorer qualities when it came to engine power. For Oliver Laqua, one of the basic virtues of the car’s concept was that it came in three models right from the start, namely, the Cayenne, Cayenne S, and Cayenne Turbo. In the course of further development, additional engine versions were added, as well as new models that are now typical of Porsche, namely, the GTS and Turbo S. Regardless of the demands posed by the rapidly changing automobile market, the Cayenne team always found a solution without having to call the overall concept into question. They remained true to the sports-oriented focus of the car, while also further developing its comfort features. They improved its fuel consumption in connection with a substantial reduction in weight, and also enhanced its performance. Agility and rationality remain the main demands placed on the Cayenne today.

At the Geneva Motor Show in 2010, the Cayenne continued to embody its guiding principle, but now its new visuals were accompanied by a completely new drive system—Porsche’s first diesel engine, a three-liter V6 turbo diesel. That same year the Cayenne took on the trailblazing role for hybrid drives at Porsche, with a hybrid engine consisting of a 46 hp (34 kW) electric motor and a three-liter V6 direct-injection gasoline engine with supercharging.

And the story continues, because explorers know no limits. The newest generation of the Cayenne will also include a plug-in hybrid. This sporty all-terrain car is a true pioneer. And a Porsche that stands for growth.


The new generation of the Cayenne continues the story of success that began in spectacular form back in 2002 when Porsche first brought a sports-oriented SUV onto the market. Bernhard Maier, the board member in charge of Sales and Marketing, talks about Porsche Intelligent Performance in the Cayenne and an automotive concept with best-seller qualities.

What is the first thing you think of when you hear the name Cayenne?
Bernhard Maier: The Cayenne is an example of how Porsche is always inventing itself anew, yet always remaining true to itself. The Cayenne is a sports car in the sector for premium SUVs—and it is a true Porsche. It incorporates our brand values, including the apparent contradictions of tradition and innovation, performance and suitability for everyday use, design and functionality, and exclusivity and social acceptance. All of that combined with a lot of driving pleasure.

Did Porsche expect the car to be this successful?
It was a daring step to set off on this journey in 2002. But it had also been well thought out. Our ideas were based on a clear strategy. We maintain close contact with our customers, and frequently solicit their opinions in very concrete terms at product clinics. The results indicated that an SUV from Porsche would sell if we developed it in keeping with our approach to performance, quality, and suitability for everyday driving. But I’m pleased to admit that we didn’t imagine that it would mark the start of so successful a trajectory. At first the notion of a sports-oriented SUV was polarizing. It led people to question whether Porsche should even attempt to make such a vehicle. That’s a legitimate question, which shows how the public discusses the identity of the Porsche brand when a new model is introduced or when a new market or sector is entered. Similar questions were raised when the 996 series of the 911 was introduced, for example, or when we switched from air to water cooling for the boxer engine. But our arguments have always prevailed. That includes the Cayenne, given the impressive sales figures thus far of more than 500,000 cars.

Bernhard Maier, board member, Sales and Marketing

Why has the Cayenne been so successful worldwide?
It’s the first sports car in its sector, and it shows that character in every detail. In addition to ample space for five people, what it offers above all is the chance to experience typical Porsche driving dynamics. That is precisely what speaks to the hearts of our customers around the world. The sum of all its abilities is what enables the Cayenne to conquer entirely new terrain. And of course the car has the right pedigree. The brand is and will remain the number one reason why people decide to buy our cars.

What does the Leipzig site mean to the brand and the customers?
We offer our customers unparalleled quality, as can be seen once again in the latest study from J. D. Power. The Cayenne’s production facilities in Leipzig and the interplay with the group’s plant in Bratislava laid a stable and expandable foundation that has been able to support the Panamera and the Macan as well. Leipzig has taken on a significant role in our family of sites.

Do you too view the Cayenne as something like a “conqueror”?
The desire to win new markets was one of the reasons why Porsche decided to embark on this project back in the late 1990s. The Cayenne enabled us to enter regions that had seemed unassailable to us as a manufacturer of two-seater or 2+2-seater sports cars. In the meantime the car has been crucial to our success in China, for example; it was the right product at the right time. China has now become our second-largest single market. In eastern Europe, too, Porsche only really established itself and expanded substantially after introducing this sporty all-terrain vehicle, for example in Russia and other growth markets.

How do you explain this growth?
We entered new sectors and expanded our customer base. The Cayenne combines suitability for every­day use, sportiness, and comfort for a range of different road conditions, and it also offers enough space. It was the ideal response to what a lot of customers were asking us. And the Cayenne has also introduced many new customers to the brand, both in established markets and in those that don’t yet have a comprehensive highway infrastructure. The SUV sector promised the highest rate of growth for the company. We’ve also expanded our sales organization to accommodate it, built new Porsche centers, and expanded existing ones. In China, by the way, we’re opening a new Porsche center every two weeks this year.

Has the success of the Cayenne encouraged sales of other model series there?
Before introducing the Cayenne we were selling around 200 cars a year in China, and last year we sold about 36,500. That enabled us to set up an extensive structure that we’ll be expanding further with the Macan. This expansion allows us to increase our customer proximity and offer all of our services. And that in turn has awakened interest in the other sports cars and either fueled sales or in some cases triggered them in the first place. Our sale of two-door sports cars on the Chinese market has increased from just a few in 2004 to more than 3,600 in 2013. These market shares are comparable with those in established regions. In other words, we’re also the clear leader in China in the sector for the 911 or the Boxster/Cayman. Without the Cayenne we probably would not have shown such rapid growth. The car truly did take on an ambassador role for Porsche there and in other new markets as well.

… and its message is?
That people notice the Porsche brand, that they associate it with a variety of exclusive models, and that the brand represents the sportiest and most exclusive cars in every sector. The Cayenne embodies Porsche Intelligent Performance—the core of our brand—in every respect. And it stands for the fascination for sports cars. When it comes to Porsche, that fascination applies to cars with two, four, or five doors, and to cars with rear, mid, or front engines.

By Richard Blehn