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Porsche all-but kills diesel

Diesel dust-up: Porsche has dumped the Audi-sourced diesel V6 from Macan (left), but has not ruled out a diesel powertrain for the new-generation Cayenne at some point.

Macan and Panamera diesels axed, but Porsche refuses to declare diesel dead

Porsche logo21 Feb 2018

PORSCHE has axed production of its last two diesel models – the Macan S diesel and Panamera 4S diesel – triggering speculation that it is getting out of diesel altogether.

The company hosed down suggestions that the announcement means the death of diesel entirely at Porsche, but in the same breath it says diesel sales are falling and that it will concentrate on petrol, hybrid and full-electric powertrains in future.

“Diesel engines traditionally play a subordinate role at Porsche,” the company said in its statement. “Porsche does not develop or build diesel engines itself.

“Currently, the demand for diesel models is falling, whereas interest in hybrid and petrol models is increasing significantly.”

Porsche also said that “ongoing consultation with the authorities in relation to another software update” had also played a part in the decision to axe the Macan diesel.

In this case, “the authorities” are Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), with whom Porsche has been discussing further adjustments to diesel software to meet new standards.

In Australia, diesel variants in the Macan, Panamera and Cayenne ranges are all in run-out, meaning local Porsche dealerships will be diesel-free zones sometime soon.

Porsche Cars Australia has already removed Macan and Panamera diesels from its official website, indicating that few – if any – of these are still in stock.

The new third-generation Cayenne is due to be launched mid-year with a trio of petrol engines – including 250kW 3.0-litre and 324kW 2.9-litre V6s, and a 404kW 4.0-litre V8 – that will be followed by a plug-in E-Hybrid.

So far, Porsche has not said if a diesel Cayenne will follow, but neither has it ruled it out.

Porsche has until now sourced its diesel engines from sister company Audi, with whom it is clearly upset over the Dieselgate affair.

Last year, it sued Audi for €200 million ($A313.3m) in damages over costs related to manipulated engines, in particular the 3.0-litre diesel V6.

Porsche even self-reported irregularities in the Cayenne V6 diesel engine’s software to German authorities after discovering the problems in internal testing.

British reports suggest costs associated with meeting new, stricter Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) emissions standards also played a part in abandoning diesel in Macan.

This stricter test protocol – designed to give consumers a more accurate assessment of fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions – will apply to all new passenger cars sold in Europe by September next year.

The same reason was given by BMW for axing the M3.

Porsche introduced diesel to its range in Australia via the Cayenne in 2009 when it adopted a 3.0-litre V6 diesel from the Audi Q7. More recently, it offered two diesels – the entry level 193kW 3.0-litre V6 and 283kW 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8.

The Panamera offered a 310kW 4.0-litre V8 diesel in both the sedan and Sport Turismo wagon, while the Macan had the ill-fated 190kW 3.0-litre V6 diesel.

While Cayenne is the Porsche model most likely to cling to diesel, the company says diesel makes up just 15 per cent of sales, with the E-Hybrid now dominating with 50 per cent.

In Europe, diesel is on the nose with many major cities, giving vehicle manufacturers pause for thought on whether to both investing vast sums for new-generation diesel powertrains.

In Porsche’s case, it clearly has it eyes on electrification with full-electric vehicles set to join its existing E-Hybrid variance from next year.

The 911 is even set to get a hybrid version as Porsche looks to cut emissions while stepping up performance.

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