How did Porsche, which has always made the supercar its metier, stray into the ever more popular territory of the luxury SUV? The question is answered by Wim Oude Weernink with the help of Porsche’s director of design Harm Lagaay. Together they tell the story of the Cayenne design, born out of the partnership with another German firm, Volkswagen.
By the time the Porsche management in Stuttgart decided to develop an SUV, Volkswagen had already conducted preliminary research into what would eventually become the Touareg and the two design centres didn’t take long to come up with an agreement on mutual support. Even so, and despite their many similarities in styling and structure (same floorpan, doors and roof), the Cayenne and the Touareg were developed by two separate design teams each totally wedded to its own firm’s tradition and brand identity.
The difference between the Cayenne and the Touareg is most pronounced at front and rear. “The shape of the lighting clusters and the edging of the bonnet are typically Porsche” explains Lagaay. “The slight bulge of the bonnet as it drops between the two headlights, for example, derives from the 911”.
For the interior Porsche has shared several structural elements with Volkswagen, including the seat frames. However, the Cayenne derives a very different look from its five-dial instrument panel and three-spoke steering wheel. The Cayenne’s interior is largely the work of Franz Jozef Siegeart, with Oona Schepers responsible for the colour and trim. The man in charge of the exterior design, on the other hand, was Stephan Murkaett.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 137