The strange Porsche Cayenne convertible that almost happened

Yes, this strange Cayenne convertible almost arrived.

Provided

Yes, this strange Cayenne convertible almost arrived.

Everyone knows that the first-generation Cayenne essentially kept Porsche from becoming a school history research project, but few people know about the Cayenne convertible the brand once envisioned.

It looks a bit like a first-gen Boxster on a ridiculous amount of steroids, with the poached egg headlights of the era sitting above twin corner intakes, which, in turn, flank a large split grille. Two doors separate the design from the classic Cayenne (200mm longer than usual), and the soft top folds down like a 911 Targa, with the trunk lifting up to stow the roof.

Porsche was also set to build the thing, with a full-size 4.8-meter-long “Package Function Model” prototype built to show off its merits to senior management.

DAMIEN O’CARROLL

Behold: the unnecessarily elaborate (but totally awesome) roof mechanism of the Porsche 911 Targa!

The four big requirements for the soft top were whether it was comfortable for everyone inside, whether it was practical with those longer doors, was it possible to fit the soft top somewhere and fold it down quickly, and what rear design treatment should be.

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Internal disagreement led to Frankenstein’s odd left and right rear design, as the designers struggled to effectively package the folding roof. The left looks quite Audi, similar to something like the rear of an RS 2, while the right looks much more like the Cayenne.

That's not a problem, Porsche just didn't know which rear design to choose.

Provided

That’s not a problem, Porsche just didn’t know which rear design to choose.

It did not progress further than the model, but which had no body reinforcement measures required for convertibles, meaning it is not safe or stable to drive.

Porsche design boss Michael Mauer wasn’t a big fan either, saying: “An SUV always has a wide and heavy body. You combine that with a little top half and then you cut the roof off – you get some very weird shapes emerging from it.

“Projects for profitability were not particularly promising and doubts remained as to whether the car would be as attractive as a Porsche should be,” the company added.

Porsche also considered coupe and seven-seat long-wheelbase variants of the first-generation Cayenne, both of which are common body shapes these days. Interestingly, the convertible idea progressed the most within Porsche.

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