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Diesel Porsche here in a year

Diesel a done deal: The Cayenne will become Porsche's first diesel model.

Cayenne TDI is set to become the Stuttgart sports car firm’s first diesel in 2009

8 Sep 2008

PORSCHE is preparing a diesel-powered version of its Cayenne luxury SUV, with Australia high on the list as one of the first recipients.

Due to be unveiled early next year, the engine is believed to be a variation of the 3.0-litre V6 TDI turbo-diesel available in several Audi and Volkswagen models.

The Geneva motor show next March is expected to be the model’s debut venue, with Australian sales poised to commence some time in the second half of 2009.

But while Mr Winkler would not confirm which unit is destined for the Cayenne next year, the 3.0-litre V6 TDI has come up as the favourite.

“We’re looking at a Volkswagen diesel, because it is the best diesel engine in the world,” he stated.

“We haven’t made a decision yet but we are looking at all the options,” Mr Winkler added.

As currently used in the Cayenne’s distantly related Audi Q7 cousin, the 3.0-litre V6 TDI delivers 171kW of power and 500Nm of torque, and drives all four wheels via a six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox.

25 center imageLeft: Porsche Cars Australia managing director Michael Winkler.

The long-time Porsche boss admitted that he has to be prepared for changing buyer tastes in a segment that has remained healthy in Australia despite an overall sales downturn in the last month.

“If you asked me five years ago, I would have said it was crazy,” said Porsche Cars Australia managing director Michael Winkler.

“Logically (now) we have to take a look at diesel.

“It’s the entry level SUVs that are really relevant at the moment.

“The point is, the world changes. The customers meet these changes, and we have to be there.

“Eighty per cent of people who are buying SUVs in Australia for under $100,000 are buying diesel.

Mr Winkler would not be drawn into confirming exactly when the Cayenne diesel would arrive.

“But I have to stress that a decision has not been made at the moment,” he said.

“But if we have to do it we are ready.”

Eyebrows were raised last year when Porsche reversed an earlier decision to import the V6 petrol-powered Cayenne to Australia, as part of the model’s mid-life facelift.

Now, up to 40 per cent of all Cayenne sales are of the 213kW/385Nm 3.6-litre petrol V6, a direct-injection unit shared with Volkswagen and Audi.

“We sold about 640 Cayennes in business year 2007/2008 (ending July 31, 2008), and 250 were the V6 petrol.”

Despite persistent rumours of Audi’s 240kW/760Nm 4.2-litre V8 TDI or even Volkswagen’s monster 230kW/750Nm 5.0-litre V10 TDI unit finding its way into the Cayenne, Mr Winkler told GoAuto these engines are incompatible with Porsche’s driving philosophy.

“The one thing we will not do is a top-end diesel in the Cayenne because it would not handle like a Porsche,” he underlined.

Porsche also has a parallel hybrid system waiting in the wings for its next-generation Cayenne in 2010.

Like today’s model, which is approaching its seventh birthday, the MkII Cayenne will be twinned with the Volkswagen Touareg, but will be slightly smaller and significantly lighter.

The Cayenne Hybrid will employ a variation of the 3.6-litre petrol V6 currently serving the base Cayenne, backed up by an electric motor and an advanced battery pack located underneath the rear floor area where the spare wheel normally lives.

Porsche plans to position the diesel as the entry-level model below the Hybrid in the range, as it attepts to improve the economy and emissions output of the Cayenne in the face of a global sales backlash against profligate SUVs.

Porsche says that its move to diesel and hybrid powertrains is timely, but the current Cayenne is still selling strongly despite its age (the production version debuted at the 2002 Geneva motor show), so there is no pressure to replace it.

“Worldwide it has surprised us,” Mr Winkler revealed.

“We expected SUV sales to stabilise but it has actually exceeded peak record sales of the first year that Cayenne was launched.

“Still, worldwide, we sell around 45,000 cars.

“Considering the original business case was 25,000 cars, you could say that the Cayenne has been a success.

“So it still has at least two to three years to go.”

Read more:

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Porsche gives Cayenne the 911 treatment


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