Cars > Peek

It took a while, but Porsche now has an SUV coupe

Because this vehicle type has a lot of eager buyers

You may think this is a regular Cayenne at first glance. PHOTO FROM PORSCHE

There once was a time when buying a new Porsche simply meant having to decide which color you wanted your 911 to be in. That era is long gone, however, as the launch of the latest model from Zuffenhausen amply demonstrates. Purists who shuddered when the first Porsche SUV was initially released back in 2002 won’t feel any better at the sight of the new Cayenne Coupe, a sporty crossover that is chasing current market trends and will likely find favor with wealthy city types and posh soccer moms everywhere.

Until you catch a glimpse of its sporty side profile. PHOTOS FROM PORSCHE

It doesn’t take the detective skills of Hercule Poirot to figure out why Porsche bosses decided to redraw the Cayenne, resulting in the removal of much of the cargo space in favor of a sportier-looking rear end. Rivals like Mercedes-Benz and BMW are doing brisk business with their GLE and X6 SUV coupes. The BMW is even credited with starting the whole SUV-coupe craze, and the Swabian sports-car makers clearly fancied their own slice of this lucrative cake. Despite all the flowery words in the press release, we can’t lose the impression that the Cayenne Coupe is another exercise in something Porsche is really good at: charging people more for giving them less.

That is one dainty boot lid we have here. So charming. PHOTOS FROM PORSCHE

Just like the various 911s over the years—whose lighter, sportier version costs a lot more than the standard car with all the creature comforts—the Cayenne Coupe essentially gives customers less of a car at a higher price. However, with a sportier 911, at least you get more fun out of the deal. The Cayenne Coupe, on the other hand, just seems to be a restyled Cayenne SUV with a higher price tag. At launch, its two available engine options are the same as in the SUV version: a twin-turbo V8 developing 550hp in the Turbo Coupe and a 340hp V6 turbo in the regular Coupe. Performance figures between the two cars are also almost identical, with the standard Cayenne even beating the Coupe version in the race to 100km/h and in top speed. Not by much, but still: It doesn’t look good when your press release is full of words like “dynamic” and “powerful.”

For those who can’t decide whether to buy an SUV or a coupe. Two cars for the price of one? PHOTOS FROM PORSCHE

Inside, the Cayenne Coupe comes with new sports seats at the front and a bench designed for two people at the rear, where apparently it still offers adequate headspace due to a lower seating position that makes up for the lowered roofline. Where the Cayenne SUV can store 770L of luggage with the rear seats up and 1,708L with the seats folded down, the Coupe only manages 625L and 1,540L, respectively. The firm is throwing in goodies like a huge panoramic sunroof and a new adaptive rear spoiler to sweeten the deal, with a carbon roof also available as an option. Whether all the shiny brochures and glowing words will translate into sales remains to be seen, but at least in the design department the Porsche is one of the least ugly SUV coupes out there, even if it still comes across like the automobile version of the can-I-speak-to-the-manager haircut.

The interior needs to be as sporty as the exterior. PHOTOS FROM PORSCHE

This ultimate city cruiser for posh titas doesn’t come cheap, with the standard version booking in at €83,711 in Germany (P4.98 million) and the Turbo commanding a minimum of €146,662 (P8.73 million). That’s at least €8,883 (P529,000) and €7,812 (P465,000) more than the standard SUV version, respectively, a fact that likely won’t interest many buyers too much. The Cayenne Coupe is something that many fans of the brand probably hoped they would never see. A fashion car that serves no purpose other than to maximize profits from a questionable trend in automobile design. There’s a good chance they will look back on cars like it in a few years’ time and go: “Jesus, just what were we thinking?” Until then, it’s bound to add a pretty penny to the company’s bottom line, like it or not.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.