It’s the very antithesis of Porsche. Or is it? The Cayenne, an SUV, is the sports car company's second best seller, behind another SUV, the Macan.
It may be an SUV, but it’s still a Porsche and that means it has to be sporty. Porsche is introducing the third generation of the Cayenne for the 2019 model year, and this one promises to be the sportiest and roomiest yet. Performance with utility? Doesn’t seem very Porsche, but in a world in which two SUVs lead the way for a sports car brand, that’s the reality.
To see just how Porsche is improving its third-generation Cayenne, I traveled to Düsseldorf, Germany for an in-depth technical backgrounder on what makes this mid-size SUV tick. The following is what I learned.
It has a lighter body with advanced aerodynamics
The 2019 Porsche Cayenne is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform that provides the basis for the Audi Q7. The Cayenne is shorter and lighter than the Q7 and has two rows of seats instead of three, but the basic architecture is shared between the two vehicles.
Compared to the outgoing Cayenne, the new model is 2.5 inches longer, 0.9 inches wider, and it sits 0.35 inches lower. The rear cargo area also has 15 percent more capacity, and the wheels and tires are wider and larger.
The new body in white employs a multi-material mix strategy that features various types of steel and aluminum. The roof, side panels, doors, tailgate, hood, and fenders are all made of aluminum, as are various parts of the unibody structure. All told 47 percent of the body in white is aluminum, and the body saves about 74 pounds versus the outgoing vehicle. This is despite the fact that 110 pounds were added to the structure to help the Cayenne pass the IIHS’s small front overlap crash test.
Porsche also employs numerous joining technologies to make steel work with aluminum and to give the body rigidity. The body components are joined in more than 6,300 spots—6,800 robots are used to put them together—and more than 160 meters of adhesives are used in the process.
As a result of the joining processes and the materials mix, the body’s static and dynamic stiffness are both improved by about 20 percent.
2019 Porsche CayenneEnlarge Photo
2019 Porsche Cayenne aerodynamicsEnlarge Photo
2019 Porsche Cayenne TurboEnlarge Photo
2019 Porsche Cayenne active rear spoilerEnlarge Photo
Aerodynamics play an important role in both the efficiency and performance of the new Cayenne, with the Turbo model benefiting most from the performance upgrades.
The 2019 Cayenne gets an expanded active air-shutter system up front, and it now has an active roof spoiler on the Turbo model. The front air shutters are now not only found beneath the upper grille, but also the lower grille and along the sides. Those side shutters are vertical while the rest are horizontal.
The spoiler of the Cayenne S model is 1.8 inches longer than the previous one, while the trailing edge of the spoiler on the Turbo model is lowered 0.65 inch. However, the Turbo's spoiler can extend up to 3.2 inches upward.