The Porsche Cayenne is moving to a new platform and becoming lighter and faster.
But the redesigned, third-generation Cayenne won’t go on sale in the U.S. until mid-2018 as a 2019 model. Until then, the current Cayenne will carry over into the 2018 model year. Porsche will begin selling the redesigned Cayenne earlier, as part of the 2018 model year, in some markets.
Porsche unveiled the 2019 Cayenne last week ahead of its appearance this month at the Frankfurt auto show. The company said two models of the midsize crossover will be available at launch in the U.S.: the base Cayenne and Cayenne S. Prices will start at $66,750 for the Cayenne, up 8 percent from the current version, and $83,950 for the Cayenne S, a 7 percent increase. Prices include shipping.
The Cayenne is Porsche’s No. 2 seller after the smaller Macan crossover. Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said late last year that the company was “significantly” reducing the number of Cayennes made for the U.S. as the vehicle entered the end of its life cycle. U.S. Cayenne sales dropped 6.6 percent in 2016 and were down 14 percent through the first eight months of this year.
With the redesign, the Cayenne moves to a version of Volkswagen Group’s MLB platform, which underpins the Macan and various Audi models. It allows for significant weight reduction in the Cayenne. Porsche also is adding horsepower and introducing new steering and suspension features to improve the SUV’s cornering and acceleration.
The introductory models have new engines that are smaller and more powerful than those in the outgoing models.
The 2019 Cayenne is powered by a 3.0-liter single-turbo V-6 producing 340 hp, 40 more than the current base Cayenne. It means the base Cayenne can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds vs. 7.3 seconds for the previous generation. The 2019 Cayenne S is powered by a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 producing 440 hp, 20 more than the current S model. Its 0-60 mph time is 4.9 seconds vs. 5.2 seconds for the previous generation. Maximum speed for the S is 164 mph.
Porsche says intensive use of aluminum and other weight-saving measures mean the third-generation Cayenne is 143 pounds lighter than the outgoing vehicle — despite a big increase in standard equipment. The Cayenne’s exterior is almost entirely aluminum, as are the floorpan assembly, front section and virtually all chassis components, Porsche said. A new lithium ion polymer starter battery alone accounts for a weight saving of 22 pounds.
The exterior design is an evolution of the previous Cayenne. The wheelbase is unchanged at 114 inches, though vehicle length has increased by a few inches to 194. Cargo volume is up nearly 15 percent from the previous generation.
The redesigned Cayenne will come with rear-axle steering already in the 911 and Panamera, which gives the vehicle a tighter turning radius and helps with high-speed maneuvering. A new eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission offers shorter response times and sportier gear ratios.
The redesigned Cayenne gets the newest version of the Porsche Communication Management system, giving the vehicle a new level of connectivity.
It also gets the 12.3-inch high-definition touchscreen launched last year in the redesigned Panamera.
Additional variants are expected after the initial launch. That includes high-performance models such as the Cayenne Turbo and a plug-in hybrid, already available in the current generation.
A diesel-powered Cayenne also is planned globally, but it could be left out of the U.S. lineup. Porsche stopped selling the second-generation Cayenne diesel in the U.S. in 2015 as a result of the Volkswagen diesel scandal.
Christiaan Hetzner contributed to this report.