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Thursday, February 25, 2010


Porsche has evolved into a multi-line automobile manufacturer over the last decade. During this evolution from 911-only production through to mass marketing of the Boxster (and Cayman) and finally the introduction of an SUV and sedan/hatchback, Porsche has been roundly criticized for losing its styling plot.

You have seen the Porsche Panamera, right? In December, The Good Car Guy said, in regards to the Porsche Panamera's most famous commercial, "Only a brainwashed Porsche sales consultant would call the Panamera anything better than decent". However, once along came the Porsche Boxster Spyder. Thank-you Zuffenhausen. The special edition Boxster headed straight for The Good 12 v3.0.

But really, for discussions on truly pitiful Porsche design exercises, the '03 Porsche Cayenne and the facelifted '08 Porsche Cayenne stand head and shoulders above the rest. Appearing tall and narrow meant that stance, the one thing Porsche never gets wrong, was off from the start. It was the front fascia Porsche really messed up. Trying far too hard to make the Cayenne a 911 on stilts, Porsche designers attempted to incorporate 911 cues on to a much taller vehicle; a vehicle with a blunt nose, four doors, and room to spare in its wheelarches. Big mistake(s).

Not having seen the 2011 Porsche Cayenne in anything but the virtual world, it's best not to pass a final verdict on the all-new model. In the Gallery below, however, the '11 Cayenne has moved the Porsche SUV design game forward. Massively.

First, the air intakes. They're appropriately sized, wonderfully horizontal. Headlights? Swept back nicely. Bulges overtop the rear wheels aren't harsh or haphazard but natural outgrowths of a real Porsche. Seen from the rear, the 2011 Porsche Cayenne mixes the current Audi Q7's geometry with the Infiniti FX's aura. And looking at the rear 3/4 view from above, the visible hood lines are muscular. As a whole, the new Cayenne seems all of a piece; significantly tigher and thus perceptibly smaller.

The 2011 Porsche Cayenne will weigh less. Fuel economy will increase. Depending on your location, hybrid and diesel powertrains will be available alongside the super-duper powerful gasoline-fired powerplants. A 4.8L twin-turbo V8 with 500 horsepower? Bliss. Oh, and the interior has taken much from the Panamera. And nobody's ever complained about the excellence of the Porsche Panamera's interior.

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