Porsche Unveils Cayenne SUV in Paris
The worldwide debut of Porsche's controversial sport utility.
A sport ute from Porsche seems like a contradiction in terms, but—of course—this is no ordinary sport ute. Cayenne is powered by a 350-horsepower 4.5-liter V8 engine in the S trim, while the Turbo adds twin-turbochargers to the V8 for a maximum rating of 450 horsepower. Porsche claims the Turbo is capable of reaching 100 km/hr (62 mph) in just 5.6 seconds, which is pretty impressive for a vehicle that weighs over 5,000 lbs.
Keeping the power on the ground is an all-new four-wheel drive system called the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system. Forty percent of the power is sent to front wheels with 60 percent to the rear; 100 percent of the power, however, can be directed to either the front or rear as needed.
For more extreme off-roading, the Cayenne will be available next year with the Advance Offroad Technology package. This will add undercarriage protection and a fully-controllable differential lock.
Many Porsche fans have taken issue with the maker of high-performance sports cars building an SUV. Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, president and CEO of Porsche AG, countered with the argument that Porschephiles never like new model developments, but they always seem to come around.
With Porsche's history of racing its vehicles, the question was asked of Dr. Wiedeking if the Cayenne would compete in the grueling Paris-Dakar race. The surprising answer was that it would be raced with slicks before its raced off-road.
Porsche has not had a V8 powered vehicle in its lineup since the 928 was discontinued in 1995. While there have been rumors that a future Porsche sports car would share the Cayenne's V8, Dr. Wiedeking told the press that there are currently no plans to put this powerful V8 into any other Porsche -- or any other manufacturer's vehicle for that matter.
Dr. Wiedeking was likely referring to the Cayenne's twin, the Volkswagen Touareg, the first SUV from VW, which shares a platform with Cayenne. The platform was designed by Porsche, but the body styling and powertrains are unique to each marque.
The Cayenne is produced in an all-new factory in Leipzig, Germany. Production has already begun in anticipation of the new SUV going on sale in Germany on December 7, 2002. Sales will be phased in around the world, with the Cayenne's arrival in the U.S. expected in spring 2003.
For more details, check out MSN's complete and exclusive coverage of the 2002 Paris Motor Show.