Rejecting The Cayenne Convertible Was The Best Decision Porsche Ever Made

Design / 13 Comments

SUVs and convertibles do not make for a pleasing combination.

An ugly-looking convertible makes as much sense as a Mini Cooper hatchback for a family of five or a performance version of the Toyota Prius. Even so, awkward drop-tops like the Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible and Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet still managed to stumble through the approval process and make it into showrooms, much to the dismay of salespeople who had to look at them every day. It's now come to light that Porsche almost went down the same ill-fated path with the first-generation Cayenne. The original Porsche Cayenne was as graceful as a giant panda but not nearly as cute, and one unfinished example of the Cayenne-based convertible that Porsche built is even worse.

Porsche
Porsche

Apparently, Porsche considered three additional body styles of the Cayenne including a coupe, a stretched version with a third seating row, and the ungainly convertible you see here. This single example of the Cayenne convertible has been kept in storage at the Porsche Museum and measures just under 190 inches in length. This isn't a roadgoing prototype, but is known as a Package Function Model or PFM.

Although the roof was removed, the necessary body stiffening required for a drop-top was not completed here, so this particular Cayenne can't guarantee a safe and stable drive. Porsche says that this car was designed to assess four major criteria: seating comfort with the tapering roof; whether the soft-top is "elegant" (it isn't) and can be folded quickly; the design of the rear; and how practical the Cayenne could be with two doors. Mercifully, Porsche must have decided that the Cayenne convertible wouldn't meet these expectations so it was never produced.

Porsche
Porsche
Porsche

Although sharing a face with the first-gen Cayenne, this one looks entirely different with its soft-top roof and heavy-set rear-end design. Interestingly, two taillight designs were considered, with the right-hand one being much higher. Porsche envisioned a soft-top folding mechanism that would have been similar to the one used for the Porsche 911 Targa as of the 991-gen model, but the mechanism never went beyond the computer simulation stage. Although the Cayenne eventually spawned a coupe-style model in today's much more cohesive Cayenne Coupe, no convertible has ever been released.

"An SUV as a convertible is a challenge both aesthetically and formally," says Michael Mauer from Porsche. "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."

Very strange shapes indeed.

Porsche
Porsche

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