By on February 21, 2018

2017 Porsche Panamera Volcano Grey - Image: Porsche

It always felt little odd whenever a diesel-powered Cayenne sidled up to you next to a stoplight. A Porsche that builds SUVs, we used to mull, and diesels, no less!

The public’s discomfort with a German sports car maker entering the utility vehicle field is long gone, and we can now say the same for Porsche’s short-lived dalliance with diesels. The automaker has stated it’s pulling its last remaining oil-burning models off the market.

A new Porsche is born, cleaner, but perhaps no purer.

According to Autocar, Porsche has discontinued the Macan S Diesel and Panamera 4S Diesel, both European models that were never touched by buyers across the pond. The Cayenne Diesel, which kicked off the brand’s affiliation with compression ignition in 2009, might disappear with the launch of the next-generation model later this year. Porsche tentatively claimed it would field a diesel variant, but hasn’t confirmed a launch date.

In North America, the Cayenne Diesel met an earlier fate during the Volkswagen emissions scandal. In that uber-expensive brouhaha, late-model 3.0-liter TDI models like the Cayenne found themselves in the EPA’s crosshairs. No North American VW Group vehicle carries a diesel anymore.

Porsche was never an enthusiastic adopter of the technology, choosing to borrow engines from the VW Group parts bin rather than develop its own. With diesel sales declining in Europe (volume was down 7.9 percent last year) and governments and regulators howling for cleaner air in cities, diesel’s European tombstone is already in the process of being etched.

The company’s comments to Autocar suggest that the continent’s new testing regimen is behind the dropping of the two models. Porsche doesn’t want to sink any money into bringing diesel engines into compliance with updated emissions standards.

2020 Porsche Mission E Concept - Image: Porsche

Last year, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said diesel sales made up just 15 percent of the brand’s volume, and the automaker was spivoting its R&D spending towards electrification. In his view, diesel just wasn’t that important to the company’s long-term fortunes.

In a recent statement on Porsche’s website, R&D board member Michael Steiner laid out the company’s electrification plans while touting the all-electric Mission E sedan, scheduled to enter production by the end of 2019.

“During an initial stage, we will offer electrically powered versions of existing model lines,” Steiner explained. “In addition, however, work will continue on the development of other purely electric vehicles following the example of the Mission E. To speed up progress in this area, Porsche has joined forces with Audi to set up the Premium Platform Electric. Teams from both brands will work together to lay the foundations for future e-vehicles. At the same time, Porsche is forging ahead with hybridisation of the drivetrain.”

Already, there’s been a sharp uptick in European interest for Porsche’s plug-in E-Hybrid lineup. Blame juicy tax incentives for models’ popularity. If governments plan to punish diesel car use, why wouldn’t Porsche pursue the technology that governments reward?

[Images: Porsche]

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7 Comments on “After Falling Out of Love, Porsche’s Diesel Divorce Is Now Complete...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “A new Porsche is born, cleaner, but perhaps no purer.”

    What is a ‘pure’ Porsche? Are we back to implying that the only car Porsche should build is a 2-door air-cooled 911?

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      It’s not about the number of doors, air-cooling or any other type of tech. I just wish they made cars that provided the type of connected and visceral driving experience that Porsche used to be famous for. You can still get that if you pay for a GT car but nearly everything else in the Porsche lineup is no more sporting than a BMW or Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Great Porsches have always been expensive, and the ones that weren’t (924, 914) weren’t all that great.

        The difference is that these days, you can drop five figures on silly interior options.

        • 0 avatar
          carguy

          @FreedMike: The original Cayman S was great and so were many of the basic 911s.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I agree, but I’ll use the Cayman S as a case in point – sure, it was less expensive than a 911, but a zero-option base model still pushed seventy grand in 2008 dollars.

            And “base” 911s from in the ’70s and ’80s would probably go for around $75,000 today.

            That’s expensive, no matter how you slice it.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    According to Porsche’s web site, MSRP for a 2018 Cayman S with no options is $67,700 plus $1,050 for delivery, etc. In 2007, I looked at the Cayman for my retirement present to myself. If I remember correctly, base price for an S was about $60k. Base price for a non-S Cayman was $50k. It is now $55k which isn’t bad for 10 years’ inflation.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    An SUV without a diesel option in Europe? That will negatively affect sales, especially in large SUVs like the Macan. Based on visual observation, most Cayenne and Macan SUVs that I have seen are diesel-powered.

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