We all know Porsche isn’t afraid of drastic upgrades when it comes to a model refresh. Think of first generation 991 to second, which swapped out 3.4- and 3.8-litre atmospheric engines for the 3.0-litre turbo sixes; or when similar happened for the 718 Boxster and Cayman from the 981. New grilles and bumpers isn’t really the Porsche facelift style; now the E3 Cayenne, first launched in 2017, is getting its final nip and tuck before the electric one. It’s a big one, too, “one of the most extensive product upgrades in the history of Porsche” according to series manager Michael Schatzle. Which feels like a big claim given Porsche mid-life update tradition, and leaving plenty for rival manufacturers to ponder given how good the current Cayenne remains.
We’ll know exactly what the facelift is comprised of in the spring; for now, Porsche has released an update of its testing programme, which has taken in four million kilometres from Moroccan sand dunes to the Nordschleife. There’s a little bit on the new technology that’s being tested for the new car, too, including HD-Matrix LED headlights said to offer up to twice the brightness ‘to enhance comfort and safety’. How much brighter can they get?
Porsche is also promising ‘a new, semi-active chassis’, but doesn’t yet provide any further details. Again, given how sorted the current Cayenne is dynamically, including an Nurburgring lap record, expectations will be high for an overhauled car. Those inside will get an ‘extensively digitalised display and operating concept with enhanced connectivity functions’ - just a few days after our Range Rover Sport twin test suggested the Porsche might benefit from a cabin update. Presumably this will take some influence from the Taycan and 992 generation of 911, both of which arrived a couple of years after the Cayenne.
Though these images appear to show a Porsche SUV that looks broadly familiar to what came before - if it’s good enough for a 911 then it’s good enough for a Cayenne - we’re told to expect a very different product. “We’re subjecting the new Cayenne to a complete and comprehensive testing program, just as if it we’d developed it from scratch,” said test manager Ralf Bosch. So that means a load of virtual testing as well as clocking up the kilometres on all sorts of roads in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. With both this car and the electric Macan not far away, 2023 - Porsche’s 75th anniversary year, don’t forget - looks like being a significant one for its SUVs as well as everything else. They’ve proven themselves too important for it not to be…
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