“Absolute sacrilege”, they cried, when Porsche announced it was to make an SUV. “Too ugly to drive”, said Clarkson, despite his obvious incredulity at its abilities. Yet despite its inauspicious start in life, the Porsche Cayenne has gone on to be a huge success for Porsche, and the 250,000th Porsche Cayenne has just rolled off the production line at Porsche’s Leipzig plant..
A sign of the times probably that this milestone model has been reached with Porsche’s latest model – the Porsche Cayenne Diesel. The diesel version is Porsche’s nod to straightened times and climate concerns, but it is the more powerful V8 models that show the real ability of the Cayenne. Offering driving dynamics that would shame many high-end performance saloons, and performance (particularly in the Turbo and Turbo S versions) that can make even Porsche’s own sports cars look feeble.
But its not just its enormous ability that has made the Cayenne such a success for Porsche. Its build quality is superb and its reliability almost bullet proof. The J D Power quality survey recently reported that the Cayenne has the best customer satisfaction rating, and reported on the ‘incredible low defect rates’, even in early, high-mileage models.
And of course the huge plus for Porsche traditionalists is that the profits generated from the success of the Cayenne has allowed Porsche to continue and develop its high-end sports cars. Without that, the venerable 911 would have struggled to keep the company solvent. Instead, all the Porsche aficionados, if not roundly applauding the Cayenne, must now at least acknowledge its place in Porsche’s lineup.
But Porsche aren’t standing still with the Cayenne, with an eighth model joining the range in the not too distant future – the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid. Offering the performance of a V8 with the economy of the diesel version, this is yet another example of how well Porsche has used the Cayenne to respond to the market place.
I’m a fan. The Cayenne is a great car. Congratulations, Porsche, on the 250,000th Cayenne.