Why was it not produced? – 4Legend.com – AudiPassion.com

Right from the start, Porsche considered alternative body shapes to the classic five-door SUV for the Cayenne. Shortly after the launch of the first generation model in December 2002, three more variants were planned: a coupé, a version stretched by 20 centimeters with an additional row of seats (7 seats), and a convertible. Surprisingly, what might have seemed the less conventional option, a convertible based on the Porsche Cayenne SUV of around 4.8 meters in length, was not immediately abandoned, but actually built.

A unique Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet
Today, there is still only one example of the open-top Cayenne preserved in the Porsche Museum. However, it is not a road prototype, but a so-called Package Function Model – or PFM for short, allowing a 1:1 scale visualization of the real model. The designers had the roof removed, but dispensed with the body-strengthening measures necessary for a convertible. Unable to provide a safe and stable ride, the vehicle is transported to its destination when necessary. Road tests were never planned, as the convertible PFM was only built to evaluate four criteria.

Are the seats comfortable throughout the vehicle when the roof tapers coupé-like towards the rear and when the windshield and A-pillars are shortened? How practical is the Cayenne as a two-door model with 20cm longer doors compared to the production model? Is it possible to accommodate a stylish, high-quality soft top that can also be quickly folded up? And how should the rear be designed?

In 2002 there was still disagreement over the rear design and two different rear sections were designed for the PFM of the Porsche Cayenne Convertible. The left rear light was placed low at the rear of the car, while the right one was significantly higher.

Soft-top mechanism as on the current 911 Targa
If the car had reached production, of course only one rear design would have been retained in the end, and the technical issues would undoubtedly have been solved. A now familiar soft-top mechanism was considered: the luggage compartment lid of the PFM Cayenne was fixed at the front and rear, allowing it to open in either direction. The roof would move over the fixed roll bar and be « swallowed » at the rear by the boot lid, which opened in the opposite direction, Z-folding. It works very similarly to that of the Porsche 911 Targa since the 991 generation model. However, the mechanism never got beyond the computer simulation stage for the Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet and was never fully built. Today, the fabric hood is stowed in the luggage compartment of the museum piece and must be raised manually if necessary.

A concept still at the study stage
While the idea of ​​the Cayenne coupé from 2002 was then taken up and implemented in 2019 in a successful production model, Porsche did not take the convertible idea further. Forecasts for profitability were not particularly promising and doubts remained as to whether the car would be as attractive as a Porsche should be.

“An SUV like a convertible is both an aesthetic and a formal challenge. An SUV always has a wide and heavy body. You combine that with a little top half and then you cut the roof off – you get some very weird shapes emerging from it. »explains Michael Mauer, who was not yet in office in 2002, looking at the concept today.

Photos: Porsche

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