After Falling Out of Love, Porsche's Diesel Divorce Is Now Complete

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Kendahl Kendahl on Feb 21, 2018

    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.

  • ThomasSchiffer ThomasSchiffer on Feb 21, 2018

    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.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.