Defying all its detractors, the first generation Cayenne sold 270,000 copies between 2002 and 2010. Its replacement, which did not look significantly different, sold 500,000 copies by the time production ceased earlier this year.
Thus, Porsche sold a total of 770,000 of its first two generations of Cayenne over 15 years, which is seriously impressive for a big, expensive, premium SUV. To put this in perspective, the original VW Beetle, a cheap people’s car, sold 21.5 million units over 65 years!
The third generation Cayenne, internally known as E3, with its predecessors naturally enough being the E1 and E2, once again looks similar to the untrained eye. However, although an engineer told me that the new car hardly has even a single bolt in common with the previous model, it is clear that the strong family resemblance is critical for loyal customers, as Porsche well knows from its iconic 911 range.
While the first two Cayenne models shared their platform with the VW Touareg, the new car is built on the VW Group’s big car MLB platform, which it shares with the Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga. The tape measure says it is 63mm longer, 23mm wider and 9mm lower than before, while space utilisation is improved by a moveable rear seatback that can give the boot an extra 100 litres capacity, for a total of 770 litres.
If the familiar exterior causes you to look two or even three times when the latest Cayenne drives past, the radical changes in its fresh new cabin are immediately apparent.
Simpler, more modern, and definitely more elegant than before, the cabin architecture is built around the fully networked Porsche Communication Management system interfaced via the big 12.3-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard, and the two 7.0-inch displays in the instrument cluster. Other state-of-the-art electronic features are online navigation, LTE telephone module, intelligent online voice control, a wi-fi hotspot, Porsche Connect services and four USB ports.