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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 April 2019

Gear shift: the new Porsche Cayenne Coupe fills a void in a fast-growing market

Porsche hopes to address a large audience with its version of a sports SUV

Imagine if Porsche decided to make a 911 Sports SUV. Well, if you squint really hard at the new Cayenne Coupe, you could almost pretend they did. While it’s not a 911, it does play with plenty of the same visual clues around the nose and at the rear, with its tapered tail and drooping side profile.

Look through the photo gallery above to see more of the car.

As the name suggests, Porsche’s latest answer to the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE is based on the third generation of Cayenne SUV, and therefore offers up the same V6 and V8 twin-turbo engine options.

The Coupe is slightly more expensive than the Cayenne

Detlev von Platen, a member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche

Features such as speed-sensitive Power Steering Plus; 20-inch alloy wheels; park assist at the front and rear, including reversing camera; Porsche Active Suspension Management; and the Sport Chrono Package are included as standard, and go beyond the regular Cayenne’s features list.

“The Coupe is slightly more expensive than the Cayenne,” says Detlev von Platen, a member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche. “We’re starting with the six-cylinder and then the V8, afterwards we will continue with other versions that are very important, such as plug-in hybrids.

So we will be able to address a very large audience with this car.”

Electric vehicle development at Porsche

While the big horsepower petrol engines will launch the model, Porsche will spend about €6 billion (Dh24.95bn) on electric vehicle development over the next five years. The marque considers the UAE to be one of the world’s early adopters of this technology. “If you ask the layman in the street, they might say the Middle East is the last to come online for EVs because it is an oil producer, but from what I have experienced, the Middle East is very active in the development of EV technologies,” von Platen says. “I believe they won’t be the last but quite the opposite. I think the region – and the UAE, in particular – will move very quickly in this direction.”

The next Porsche Macan will be fully electric, selling alongside the existing model with its regular petrol engines, as Porsche continues plans to migrate to a 50:50 ratio of electric and petrol cars by 2025.

Sports SUV

For now, the Cayenne Coupe fills a void in one of the fastest-­growing segments in the automotive realm: the sports SUV. Last year, Porsche sold 86,031 Macans and 71,458 Cayennes, as opposed to a total of 35,573 sports cars. And there’s no sign that this love for SUVs will shift gears any time soon.

The car addresses a fast-growing segment in the automobile market: the sports SUV. Courtesy Porsche AG
The car addresses a fast-growing segment in the automobile market: the sports SUV. Courtesy Porsche AG

“We introduced Cayenne in 2002 and have produced more than 850,000 units, averaging 53,000 a year, but last year was well above that,” von Platen says. “This car addresses a very successful sector for us with a tempting offer, because I believe that with Porsche’s sports car history, we can cater for this market better than anyone else.

“We carry some 911 DNA in every car we make, but it is stronger in this model than any other car we produce. With a few minor modifications, like lowering it by 20 millimetres and making it 18 millimetres wider, it gives it very muscular proportions without losing the elegance of Porsche, which will characterise this car compared to its competition.”

More features

To cater for the tapered roof, the Coupe’s rear seats have been lowered by 30 millimetres, while a 2.16 square metre panoramic fixed-glass roof is standard and will no doubt reduce any claustrophobic sensation in the rear. Models released in this region will also include an integrated roller blind, as well as a more permanent solution in a full-length carbon-fibre roof as an extra cost option, if you’re not into that much sun.

The carbon roof is available in one of three lightweight sports packages, which also includes Porsche’s Sport Design features, as well as new, lightweight 22-inch GT Design wheels, seat centres in the classic Porsche checked fabric trim from the early 1970s, plus carbon and Alcantara accents throughout the interior. For the V8 Cayenne Turbo Coupe, the package includes a sports exhaust system, chief designer Michael Mauer says. “The challenge with this car was that we wanted a side profile that sloped down but without losing rear head room, so we started inside by lowering the rear seats first and working out from there.”

Rear seats have been lowered to account for the tapered roof. Courtesy Porsche AG
Rear seats have been lowered to account for the tapered roof. Courtesy Porsche AG

Taking a seat in the rear confirmed that the Coupe offers more headroom and better forward visibility than a BMW X6, although no exact measurements were available for comparison.

The car is strictly a four-seater, with a rear bench moulded into two individual seats. However, the same comfort-spec rear seats offered on the regular Cayenne can also be specified on the Coupe at no extra cost.

“This style of SUV Coupe is really challenging for proportions,” says Mauer. “You have to combine a high boot lip with a low roof, but thanks to our adaptive roof spoiler, we were able to lower the edge to give it better proportions.”

The roof spoiler is a first for this segment, as it extends 135mm at speeds faster than 90kph. Due to the lower roof on this model, the windscreen and A-Pillars are shallower, while the Coupe’s rear number plate is integrated into the bumper and tricks the eye by making it appear as though it is closer to the ground.

The luggage capacity for the V6 is 625 litres with the seats up and 1,540 litres when they are folded down flat. For the V8 it’s 600 and 1,510 litres, respectively. It loses out to the regular Cayenne’s 767 and 1,707-litre capacity but it still offers more space than a comparable BMW X6.

Porsche says that the V6 will get to 100kph in six seconds (5.9 seconds if you opt for the Sports Chrono package) and can reach speeds of up to 243kph, while the V8 gets to 100kph in only 3.9 seconds, and can clock a top speed of 286kph.

With Porsche now ready to take orders, prices range from Dh335,900 for the 335bhp/450Nm turbo V6 through to Dh598,700 for the 542bhp/770Nm four-litre twin-turbo V8. They should start to appear in Abu Dhabi showrooms from October.

Updated: April 4, 2019 11:18 AM

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