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Porsche Cayenne will add spice

Luxury off-road express: artist Bernie Walsh's impression of Porsche's top-secret new sports utility vehicle, the Cayenne.

Porsche's first ever all-terrain wagon is less than 18 months away

4 Jun 2001

PORSCHE's first-ever sports utility vehicle, the Cayenne, is still on target for a November 2002, release in Australia despite its international public debut appearing to have been postponed from September's Frankfurt motor show to the Detroit motor show in January.

"The perception was that Cayenne would first appear publicly in Germany, its home country," said Porsche Cars Australia's Matthew McAuley. "But perhaps it's more logical to launch Cayenne in its biggest market, where more than half will be sold." Mr McAuley confirmed the five-door Porsche wagon will be available locally in three model variants, with an entry price of between $80,000 and $90,000.

But it is likely the base six-cylinder will appear after the launch of the performance leading 335kW, twin-turbo V8 version, which may cost up to $160,000, and the appearance of the 260kW, 4.5-litre V8 Cayenne.

Sharing the same unitary construction and underbody components with the larger, less expensive Volkswagen SUV known internationally as the Colorado, the base Cayenne will comprise a newly developed 3.2-litre V6 delivering 175kW, not a horizontally opposed six.

It will also include the option of a high/low-range manual transmission, standard adjustable suspension and will blast to 100km/h in a claimed six seconds.

Big things are expected of Cayenne in Australia, a market that has always been a Porsche stronghold and one that boasts an extremely enthusiastic following of multi-purpose vehicles. Around 50 eager customers, most of them current Porsche owners, have already placed orders and Porsche expects a high rate of pre-sold cars when up to 700 Cayennes arrive in the first year.

An ambitious annual sales target of 3500 units would make Cayenne Porsche's biggest selling model. And, unlike brands such as Mercedes-Benz, the addition to its range of an SUV won't cannibalise sales of Porsche's existing models.

"Cayenne will be an all-new model, unlike any Porsche before it, so we don't expect sales of any of our other models to suffer. In fact, we're looking to double our sales in Australia within a couple of years," Mr McAuley said.

He would not confirm whether the rumoured range-topping GT3-style SUV dubbed Roadrunner would appear locally.

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