SHANGHAI: Porsche AG unveiled a revamped Cayenne sport utility vehicle at the Shanghai auto show to keep its best-selling model fresh before a more comprehensive shift to electric cars.
The new Cayenne, which starts at €89,097 (US$99,419), got more powerful engines, an updated chassis and a new interior with displays for both the driver and front passenger. The vehicle, also available as a plug-in hybrid, will compete with increasingly luxurious battery models from Chinese automakers as parent Volkswagen AG tries to regain momentum for its EV push.
“It’s one of the most extensive product upgrades in the history of Porsche,” Michael Schätzle, a product executive at the German company, said in a statement Tuesday.
Porsche, Europe’s most valuable carmaker after last year’s blockbuster initial public offering, is in the midst of a complicated transition to EVs. Software issues have delayed the launch of the battery-powered Macan to next year, and the manufacturer won’t unveil an all-electric Cayenne until the second half of the decade.
Debuting the overhauled SUV in Shanghai probably isn’t a coincidence. Like Mercedes-Benz AG, BMW AG and Volkswagen, Porsche is under pressure to defend sales in China, its biggest single market. The carmaker’s deliveries there declined 2% last year amid stringent Covid lockdowns and fiercer competition from homegrown EV brands BYD Co and Nio Inc.
Porsche offers the Cayenne in several iterations, including a 659-horsepower Turbo GT that accelerates from zero to 100km in 3.3 seconds. The hybrid, which starts at €103,344, features a bigger battery that extends the SUV’s purely electric range to 90km.
The company introduced the Cayenne in 2002 to broaden its product range beyond sports cars. Despite protests from brand purists, the move into the lucrative SUV segment proved wildly successful.
While Porsche remains best known for the 911, larger four-door vehicles like the Panamera, Macan and Cayenne have become key to its lineup. The latter outsold all other Porsche models last year.
The Germans have also had success with the battery-only Taycan and are working on an all-electric high-performance SUV — codenamed K1 — that will be positioned above the Cayenne.