Wendelin Wiedeking was always a genius when it comes to financial management. He claimed that he earned his first million euros by investing in real estate businesses. He always had his eyes on the financial and economic situation around the world and he noticed that in the late 1990s the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China (BRIC) were emerging and it was evident that these countries would soon become economic superpowers of their own. He also had his eyes on the middle eastern key markets such as Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
Wendelin Wiedeking being an excellent strategist observed this market growth and decided to make more efforts to capture the markets of these countries as well.
One thing he also notices was the poor road conditions in BRIC may result in significantly low demand for sports cars such as Porsche Boxter and Porsche 911. He also realized that they needed something with better ground clearance as well as all-wheel-drive to cope with the roads in those countries.
In the mid-1990s Wendelin Wiedeking advised Horst Marchart to determine products suitable for Porsche’s market growth. Horst Marchart assigned engineer Klaus Gerhard Wolpert to examine further on this subject.
Horst Marchart and Klaus Gerhard Wolpert examined several niche market segments such as small sports cars, small classic British roadster style convertibles, Sports sedans, and high-performance sport utility vehicles.
Mazda MX5 was leading the market in small convertible sales followed by Fiat Barchetta. The small sports car market was dominated by Japanese sports cars like the Toyota MR2. However, the high-performance SUV market barely had anyone, but it was known that Mercedes Benz was planning on entering the high-performance SUV market soon with the completion of their Alabama factory.
Porsche proposed a collaboration to develop a new jointly developed high-performance SUV, Daimler Benz ignored them completely due to the financial status of Porsche.
Wendelin Wiedeking then approached Volkswagen with the proposal and it was more receptive to the idea and joint development began. Volkswagen created Touareg and Audi Q7, and Porsche created Cayenne.
Gerhard Wolpert and Horst Marchart found out that there are Porsche owners who are in the market for a family vehicle. Most of these customers had two or three kids, what they wanted was everyday practicality with more power and enough space for their family. Also, it was clear that most of the customers were not interested in going off-road, so Porsche didn’t have to develop another Range Rover.
Development of Porsche Cayenne
The Porsche Cayenne project was a complete secret as Porsche, an established sports car manufacturer, attempting to manufacture a SUV was controversial. Wendelin Wiedeking allocated the entire project team to a secret location away from Weissach.
Porsche then acquired many SUVs available in the late 1990s such as the Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Defender, Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan Petrol, and Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. Then these vehicles were given to the design team to get familiar with these vehicles so they could understand more about each vehicle, to get ideas on how their Porsche SUV must be like or how could they improve their concepts further.
Being a bigger vehicle, this new SUV needed a more powerful engine. Porsche engineers decided on using a V8 engine, but they didn’t have a V8 in their current lineup.
By this time Mercedes Benz AMG SUVs were already on the market, but unlike them, Porsche actually researched its markets and paid extra attention to facts like the availability of fuel and the quality level of the fuel, bad road conditions, and many other geological and geo-political considerations before designing the Porsche Cayenne.
Porsche Cayenne was designed by a team lead by designer Stephen Murkett. Stephen Murkett previously worked on Porsche 959, and Porsche Panamericana concept. He was chosen to design the Porsche Cayenne due to his creativity.
Porsche family also backed the idea of a Porsche SUV as they were farming and hunting in their lands in Austria, they understood the functionality as well as the practicality of such a vehicle.
Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche, son of Ferry Porsche, was a huge SUV enthusiast. When he heard from Stephen Murkett that he is the head designer of the project, Butzi expressed his interest in the project and wanted be involved directly. He used to come to the designing studio to look at the concepts and eventually expressed his desire to design the new Porsche SUV all by himself, which wasn’t well-received by the designing team who had been working on the project for years.
Eventually Stephen Murkett and Butzi Porsche both decided to work on the project separately. Being a vivid fan and a proud owner of the Land Rover Defender, Butzi developed a good friendship with Stephen Murkett.
Butzi’s concept was more utilitarian and its design was simple. Eventually, when both of them presented the director board with their concepts, Stephen Murkett’s concept was chosen to be further developed.
Several test mules and prototypes were developed and those were used on the well paved roads, off-road, racetracks, rally stages, and with more than 1.5 million kilometers covered, engineers now had enough ideas on how to improve the vehicle a bit further.
Production Porsche Cayenne
Porsche unveiled the Porsche Cayenne in late 2002 as a 2003 model year vehicle. The base model was available alongside the normally aspirated 340hp Porsche Cayenne S, and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo packing 450hp. It was also the first Porsche front-engine car since 1995.
Porsche Cayenne featured a permanent all-wheel-drive system that splits traction 62% to the rear and 38% to the front.
Triptronic six-speed gearbox was incorporated into an electronically controlled locking differential, a low-range gearset, and automatic braking differential for better off-road capabilities.
The top speed was measured at 150mph.
The weight of the car and the speeds it was capable of required massive heavy-duty brakes.
In 2004, Porsche unveiled a new base variant with a 3.3-liter 24-valve V6 engine producing 250hp due to the strong demand from non-US and European markets to avoid the extra tax.
In 2005, forty-two thousand Porsche Cayenne SUVs were made and sold, when compared to the combined total production of forty thousand of the Porsche 996 and Porsche Boxter variants.
It was evident that there was a huge demand for Porsche Cayenne from the BRICS countries as well as the middle east with Dubai being the primary customer with more than 85% of all Porsche vehicles sold in there were Cayenne.
Porsche Cayenne Turbo S was unveiled in 2006 with a twin-turbocharged 4.5-liter V8 delivering 514hp and maximum torque of 530 lb-ft. Acceleration from 0-60mph took only 5 seconds and the top speed was 171mph.
In 2008, Porsche unveiled the updated Porsche Cayenne Turbo S at the Beijing Auto Show with a larger 4.7-liter V8 engine. It produced 49hp more and the 0-60mph took only 4.9 seconds. Optional ceramic composite brakes were also available.
Porsche Cayenne diesel variant powered with a 3.0-liter V6 Volkswagen engine packing 237hp and 410 lb-ft of torque maximum was unveiled in 2009. 0-60mph was achieved in 9.2 seconds.
In 2007, Porsche introduced a new TransSyberia variant of the Porsche Cayenne S. It was equipped with a 4.8-liter V8. TransSyberia was developed by Porsche to compete in the 4500-mile rally across Russia, which is considered as the Dakar rally of Eastern Europe. Only 26 were built.
In 2009, a street version based on the original concept was later built to commemorate Porsche’s victory in the TransSyberia rally. Porsche Cayenne TransSyberia is based on the Cayenne GTS and comes equipped with the same direct-inject 4.8-liter V8 engine delivering 405hp. Only 600 were made.
Due to the strong demand from EU customers due to ever strict emission regulations, congestion charges, and raising fuel costs, Porsche unveiled a new hybrid variant of the Porsche Cayenne. This new hybrid system reduced the exhaust emissions as well as improving the fuel economy. This was launched in 2010 as Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid.
In 2010, a limited-edition variant of the Porsche Cayenne was introduced. This variant was called Porsche Cayenne GTS Porsche Design Edition 3, which was designed by Porsche Design Studio and was limited to 1000 units with 100 out of that going to the US market.
Porsche Cayenne Second Generation
The second-generation Porsche Cayenne went on sale in April 2010 as a 2011 model and was officially unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. It was larger but featured a lowered more sloping roofline, slanted rear window, smaller windows at the rear of the vehicle, and door mounted mirrors. The headlights were similar to the one on the Porsche Carrera GT. Taillights extended onto the tailgate. Interior was redesigned completely and now resembled the one on Porsche Panamera.
It was also 250kg lighter than the previous generation Porsche Cayenne and this was due to the removal of low-range transfer case to make it more fuel-efficient than the previous generation. Aluminium and magnesium were used extensively to reduce weight.
It now had a lowered ride height but still retained its off-road capabilities.
In 2014, Porsche unveiled its new Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of 18km to 36km NEDC. This new variant replaced the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid as a part of the revised range. It was also the first plug-in-hybrid in the premium SUV segment, making Porsche the first vehicle manufacturer to offer three production plug-in, hybrid models. Combined fuel economy was rated at 47mpg-e.
In 2017, Porsche Cayenne S Diesel set a world record for “heaviest aircraft pulled by a production car” after towing a 265-ton Airbus A380 to a distance of 42 meters. This was done largely due to its impressive 750 lb-ft of maximum torque.
Porsche Cayenne Third Generation
In 2017, Porsche unveiled the third-generation Porsche Cayenne for the 2018 model year. Now the front fascia was redesigned to share the styling of the Porsche 911. This third-generation Porsche Cayenne is based on the Volkswagen MLB platform which it shares with the likes of Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Audi Q8, Bentley Bentayga, and Lamborghini Urus.
For the first time, Porsche Cayenne was offered in two body styles with the Cayenne Coupe and Cayenne Turbo Coupe being unveiled in 2019 at the Shanghai Auto Show.
Base Cayenne is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 delivering 335hp at 5300rpm and 332 lb-ft of torque at 1340-5300rpm.
Cayenne E-Hybrid is powered by a new Turbocharged V6 combined with an integrated electric motor, delivering 456hp at 5300-6400rpm and 516 lb-ft of torque at 1340-5300rpm. 0-62mph was achieved in 5 seconds.
In 2019, Porsche Cayenne Turbo was made available now packing a twin-turbocharged V8 delivering 542hp at 5750-6000rpm and 568 lb-ft of torque at 2000-4500rpm. 0-62mpg was achieved in 3.9 seconds.
Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid was also introduced for the same year and it was equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine integrated with an electric motor. Power delivery maxed at 671hp at 5750-6000rpm and maximum torque of 664 lb-ft at 2100-4500rpm. 0-62mph was achieved in 3.8 seconds.
Porsche Cayenne GTS was made available for the 2020 model year with a mew twin-turbocharged V8 engine, delivering 454hp at 6000-6500rpm and 457 lb-ft of torque at 1800-4500rpm. 0-62mph was achieved in 4.5 seconds.