Last year, Porsche unveiled through “Porsche Unseen” fifteen concept cars designed between 2005 and 2019 that never saw the light of day. This year, the brand is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Cayenne SUV, which has been oh so important in the revival and expansion of the manufacturer, which today displays insolent health and margins. Porsche has just revealed that it has worked, since the release of the first Cayenne, on several body variants, including a convertible!
A concept, based on the approximately 4.8 meter long Cayenne, was actually built and kept in the Porsche Museum, although it is not « driving ». The designers had the roof removed, but dispensed with the body-strengthening measures necessary for a convertible. Road tests were never planned, because this convertible prototype was only built to assess feasibility criteria, among which the comfort of rear passengers with a roof opening system.
The Cayenne « Targa » featured shortened A-pillars, a truncated windshield, and rear panels that open to reveal the soft top. The contemplated soft top mechanism was somewhat reminiscent of that of the Porsche 911 Targa since the generation model 991: the luggage compartment lid of the Cayenne-PFM was fixed at the front and at the rear, which allowed it to open in both directions. The roof would have moved over the fixed roll bar and « swallowed » at the rear by the boot lid, which opened in the opposite direction, folding in a z. The mechanism never got beyond the computer simulation stage and was never fully built.
The rear of the concept is divided into two parts with a different design, showing that the designers were hesitating between several variants, the one on the right proposing a positioning of the optics and the higher line of the bonnet, a bit like the Audi A6 of the time, while the one on the left, lower and sportier, was eyeing the side of the Carrera GT. This gave a much more attractive rendering, all things considered. And in the end, it may well be the final design that put Porsche in doubt not to go any further.
« An SUV as a convertible is both an aesthetic and a formal challenge »explains Michael Mauer, who was still in office in 2002, examining the concept today. “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. »
Porsche unveiled a Cayenne convertible concept envisaged as soon as the SUV was released in 2002. The project was quickly abandoned, in particular because of technical difficulties with the roof mechanism, but a few SUVs took the plunge, such as the Range Rover Evoque or the VW T-Roc.