IT was called ugly, a white elephant and will ruin the brand.
But since 2002 the Porsche Cayenne has sold 760,000 models. Not bad going for such an underwhelming immediate critique.
Now the latest Cayenne SUV has been revealed and in typical Porsche fashion it’s hard to see if it has actually changed at all.
But we are reliably informed that it’s lighter, leaner and sharper than ever before.
The car’s new grille, air intakes and bonnet lines begin to distinguish it from previous generation and the bigger overall shape and presence the vehicle now has.
I have to say, it’s rather a handsome beast now. The front-end still feels a little bit chunky but the aggressive grille gives it powerful personality. The rear and side profile are particularly more athletic.
The new model benefits form a lightweight construction which makes it 65kg lighter than before despite its larger size and more equipment on board.
Two variants of the new car will launch when it goes on sale – Cayenne and Cayenne S. These cars are initially distinguishable by their different powertrains.
The Cayenne is powered with a six-cylinder turbo engine delivering 340bhp and allowing it to go from 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 152mph.
Powering the Cayenne S is a 2.9-litre V6 engine with twin turbocharging. This higher powered model provides 440bhp which will take it from standing to 62mph in just 5.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 164mph.
With the addition of the Sports Chromo Package these acceleration times can be shaved by 0.3 seconds on the Cayenne and 0.2 seconds (5.9 seconds) on the Cayenne S (4.9 seconds).
Porsche say the car has a been heavily inspired by the 911. Rear-axle steering, air suspension, Porsche 4D Chassis control and electronic stabilisation system have been added to give the car a more sporting driving dynamic, like the 911.
Waiting with the engines is an new eight-speed Tiptronic S gearbox which has sportier ratios and response times in the gears which is said to improve its on-road performance and off-road capability.
LED main headlights, larger wheels, ParkAssist (front and rear), an LTE telephone module including a WiFi hotspot, Porsche Connect services and anticipatory pedestrian protection have all been added to the car’s arsenal boosting its performance and connectivity.
The car is available to order now costing from £55,965 for the standard Cayenne and £68,330 for the Cayenne S.
Porsche’s ugly duckling will continue to be a major success.