December 5, 2022


Born to perform

The original Porsche Cayenne was almost based on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class

2 min read


The Porsche Cayenne is now 20 years previous, getting initially debuted at the 2002 Paris International Motor Show. But Porsche’s initial SUV could have taken a pretty distinctive growth route from the version that eventually ended up on stage in the French capital.

The initial-generation Cayenne was pretty much based on the Mercedes-Benz M-Class (the predecessor to today’s GLE-Class), Porsche has discovered.

Mercedes-Benz ML 320

Mercedes-Benz ML 320

When Porsche commenced mulling a 3rd product alongside the 911 and Boxster, it considered five principles that finally acquired whittled down to either a minivan or an SUV. The minivan strategy was nixed by the automaker’s American branch, which seen an SUV as a lot more interesting to the increased profits consumers Porsche wanted to attract.

Porsche still had pretty constrained means for automobile development at the time and sought a associate for the SUV task. All-around the exact same time, Mercedes was planning to launch the M-Course. The two automakers experienced lately collaborated on the Mercedes 500 E sports activities sedan, and Mercedes was not opposed to a next partnership.

Porsche Cayenne prototype in Weissach, Germany, in 2000

Porsche Cayenne prototype in Weissach, Germany, in 2000

“At that stage, we envisioned the Porsche SUV as a significant-general performance offshoot of the Mercedes,” Klaus-Gerhard Wolpert, former head of the Cayenne merchandise line, reported in a assertion. It would have shared some know-how with the M-Class, but with exclusive exterior styling and Porsche-provided engines and chassis factors, Wolpert said.

The two automakers began talks in 1996, but the deal fell aside more than monetary disagreements, according to Porsche. Mercedes introduced the M-Class solo in 1997 and it became a single of the automaker’s bestsellers. In June of that 12 months, Porsche made the decision to husband or wife with Volkswagen to acquire the Cayenne alongside the 1st-technology Touareg. Sections commonality, as properly as use of a VW manufacturing unit for manufacturing, produced the arrangement economically viable for Porsche. The relaxation, as they say, is history.


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