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Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet Revealed 20 Years After Its Creation, Nobody Can Get One
Porsche is set to celebrate the Cayenne's 20th anniversary this year, and you already know that if you followed the topic. What we did not know at the time of writing was that Porsche was planning to reveal many more details about its first SUV for its anniversary. The most recent story involves a Cayenne Cabriolet, so get comfortable.

Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet Revealed 20 Years After Its Creation, Nobody Can Get One

2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype or Package Function Model2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype or Package Function Model2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype or Package Function Model2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype or Package Function Model2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype or Package Function Model2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype or Package Function Model2002 Porsche Cayenne Cabriolet prototype or Package Function Model
While the Cayenne was set to become an SUV from the start, despite the fact that the company had previously investigated other body styles, the German brand went ahead and experimented with a few derivatives anyway. While these have not reached production, prototypes were made, and people from the management (and a select few) inspected them.

In the case of the first generation Cayenne, Porsche had first experimented with a coupe based on an SUV body (that ended up happening later), a stretched model with three rows of seats, and a convertible.

While the first and the second models have not yet been revealed by the German marque, and they may not be shown just yet, the third one was unveiled this week, and this is its story.

While the company did deploy computer simulations ever since the 1980s, some things had to be checked in a conventional manner. As Porsche explains, the prototype had to answer four questions before it got considered for anything else.

The prototype in question comes with longer doors to help accommodate people who were getting in the back seat, but extending the doors by so much raised concerns about their practicality, which was the first issue at hand.

Imagine having some of the largest doors in a crowded parking lot or in a small garage. Yes, Porsche thinks of these kinds of things, and so should you if you are considering acquiring a larger vehicle and having a small garage for it.

The second question this vehicle had to answer was if the rear seats were comfortable when the coupe-like roof tapered towards the rear and the windshield as well as the A-pillars were shortened. Having a set of seats in the back but not offering enough headroom for their occupants would have been a big mistake.

The roof of the vehicle was another issue, as it would be one of the longest soft-tops implemented on a production car, which would raise issues concerning storage, as well as offering an elegant, high-quality soft top that can also be folded away quickly.

Porsche did its magic again and developed a trunk lid that was attached at the front and rear and could be opened in both directions. The ingenious solution was developed using computer-aided design, and the soft-top would be made to travel over the fixed roll-over bar that was integrated from the start.

The fold would be made in a z-pattern, and the rear of the trunk had a special space just for the soft top, where it would be stowed. The system was not functional on this prototype – requiring a manual fold, but it was the inspiration for the current 991-generation of the 911 Targa.

As you can observe, designing a vehicle is not easy, and many problems must be solved even before the prototype gets the green light.

This one never did, and the engineers never made the Package Function Model (that is its name) drivable for a good reason – its roof was chopped off without implementing all the stiffening measures required for a convertible conversion.

In other words, the level of comfort, performance, and dynamic behavior could not have been reached by this prototype if it had been made to run and drive without big improvements to its structure.

The fourth question that the vehicle had to answer before it was even drivable, and it is not, was how its rear look should be like. To keep things simple, Porsche built the prototype with two different rear ends, which meet in the middle of the vehicle.

One of them experimented with a lower rear, while the right side of the vehicle experimented with a higher rear end. The latter proved to be the solution for other SUV-based convertibles that made production.

Eventually, the idea reached the department that has to say no when the math is not suitable for the future of the company. Forecasts were made, and things were not promising, not to mention the fact that some people in the company feared it would not have the same appeal as one would expect from a Porsche. In other words, if that department does not think it will sell in sufficient numbers, it will not get built.

Michael Mauer, who was not in office when Porsche created the prototype, but was present when it was revealed, admitted that having an SUV body and a convertible top is a challenge in aesthetics, not to mention in formality.

The large and heavy body of an SUV gets even heavier with the convertible conversion, only to have it made with a small top half, which would have generated "very strange shapes," as Mauer admitted.

Since hindsight is 20-20, Porsche's estimates were correct, as the market for premium convertible SUVs was not that generous. While some automakers have launched convertible SUVs, nobody has managed to make one look right, and no such model will rock the sales charts.

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