SUVs have become diversified these days, and you can no longer define one just because it seats at least 5 passengers in a body that has risen further from the ground than the normal sedan. There’s no the smaller crossover, for one, along the with the mid-size and full-size varieties.
Another niche, though one more recent, is the coupe SUV which was popularised by the BMW X6 which was introduced about a decade ago in 2008, intriguing some while confounding others. Meant as a sportier sibling to the established X5, it came with firmer suspension and some other flourishes to remind you that it’d rather you not associate it with anything practical.
Porsche, largely credited with taking the SUV idea in a sporty direction, especially at the higher price points, has been facing some pressure to pursue a competitor to the X6 - now in its second-generation. Mercedes-Benz, with the GLC Coupe and GLE Coupe, have responded in kind, leaving the VW Group (who own Audi and Porsche) the only ones missing out on potential sales.
If a new report by Autocar proves to be indicative of Zuffenhausen’s internal deliberations, however, it seems they might be willing to cave following the unveil of their third-generation Cayenne earlier this year. At the ongoing Frankfurt Motor Show, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume revealed no details to the publication as to whether such a idea is even being given any serious consideration.
However, chief designer Michael Mauer was a little more forthcoming about the project, which he indicated to actually exist with Porsche, but clarified that the company was always exploring alternative body styles - the Panamera Sport Turismo and long-wheelbase Panamera Executive being their most recent examples.
“As a design department, we’re always asked to come up with proposals,” said Mauer. “This is the most attractive part of the job: when the brand asks me to provide design ideas to visualise the product portfolio with no limitations of budgets. For each and every model, we have a lot of ideas. But there has to be a business plan. Yes, we’ve developed a lot of ideas.”
Porsche all-new Cayenne is a very new product the company, and the plan to follow that with a next-generation 911 that will be the first to adopt electrification. In the same vein, they’re also forging the path to a full EV, realising the Mission E concept car that was first shown at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
According to CEO Blume, Porsche’s focus is trained at the future of cars and of the automotive industry in general, saying: “We have had good growth in the last few years, but the number of cars is less important than the needs of customers. We had Macan. Now we have a car in a new segment with a pure EV. That will be the next step for a new segment for Porsche.”
So while exploring every possible niche within the product line-up they have at the moment isn’t a priority next to more important items on their agenda, Porsche is more open than it ever was to the idea of competing directly with the BMW X6 by introducing a coupe variant of the Cayenne within this current model generation.