Published on August 5th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair0
2-Door Porsche Cayenne Convertible Design Study Shows What Could Have Been
There were some wild ideas for the first ever Porsche Cayenne that never saw the light of day.
Porsche was the first performance car company to pursue an SUV product seriously (Lamborghini’s LM002 doesn’t quite count with only 328 units made) with the Cayenne. Three generations later, the rest of its rivals are still playing catch up. Now with chief Italian rival Ferrari almost ready to show off its first SUV, Porsche wants people to know that they too thought of making their first SUV a 2-door.
According to Porsche, they were originally thinking about making three additional body styles for the Cayenne: a coupé, a 2-door convertible and a long-wheelbase model with an additional row of seats. And the wildest of this three – the 2 door convertible was actually built!
This Package Function Model of the Cayenne Convertible has been kept in storage at the Porsche Museum. This was not a prototype meant for road tested, so they dispensed of the additional body-stiffening measures that would have been necessary to compensate for the lack of a solid roof.
In fact, the only reason this prototype was created was to assess four criteria:
- Is the seating comfortable throughout the vehicle when the roof tapers in a more coupé-like way towards the rear and when the windscreen and A-pillars are shortened?
- How practical is the Cayenne as a two-door model with doors which are 20 cm longer?
- Is it possible to accommodate an elegant, high-quality soft top that can also be folded quickly?
- How should the rear end be designed?
It’s unclear if the first two ergonomic issues were settled. However, the last of these questions could not be settled on for sure. And so the Cayenne Convertible Package Function Model was designed with TWO rear ends.
The left-hand side had a lower set taillight while the right hand side had higher-mounted taillights.
Porsche eventually came to a solution about the soft top design though. It would use the soft top mechanism that eventually made its way into the 991-era 911 Targa. The luggage compartment lid would be hinged at both the front and rear, allowing it to be opened in both directions. The roof would travel over the roll-over bar and be swallowed into the luggage compartment with the lid opened up towards the front. Inside, it would be folded into a Z for storage. Before the company could physically create this system, the project was halted, so in the prototype, it’s all done manually.
As to why Porsche never made a convertible Cayenne, Porsche’s current chief designer says:
“An SUV as a convertible is a challenge both aesthetically and formally. An SUV always has a large and heavy body. You combine this with a small top half and then cut off the roof – you get very strange shapes emerging from that.”
There were also studied done that indicated that profitability for such a model would not be promising, so they didn’t pursue it further. Some examples of convertible SUVs that did end up going into production and then being discontinued include the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet and the Land Rover Evoque Convertible.