By on March 21, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

Let it never be said that car companies don’t offer people what they want, because, according to sales data, BMW and Mercedes-Benz haven’t sold zero X4s, X6s, GLE Coupes, and GLC Coupes.

There is a market for four-door SUVs with steeply raked rears. Just because you don’t want one and hate the erroneous application of the word “coupe” (this author belongs in both camps) doesn’t mean your neighbor feels the same way. What you see above is Porsche’s first member of this strange new cabal of vehicles. It’s the Cayenne.

The Cayenne Coupe.

Porsche’s entry to the game comes a year after the North American debut of the third-generation Cayenne. At the time, back in Stuttgart, designers were penning a model that the brand no doubt wished it could have fielded years earlier, if only as a retort to its German rivals.

Image: Porsche AG

Alas, screwing with a model’s proportions requires advanced planning. And the 2020 Cayenne Coupe does differ from its namesake sibling in a number of ways: For a more rakish roofline, the roof’s leading edge is eight-tenths of an inch lower than on the Cayenne, shortening the front A-pillars and reducing windshield height. Rear passengers sit 1.2 inches lower in this vehicle. Its hips — the rear doors and sail panels — stretch horizontally by an additional seven-tenths of an inch.

Looking to attract a mate? The rear spoiler, tucked between the expansive (and standard) panoramic roof glass and the not-for-sliding rear window, extends upwards by 5.3 inches at speeds above 55 mph. Domestic SUVs seldom need extra downforce in the rear.

Porsche AG

If you’re interested in lightening your load, a carbon roof can be had with one of the three optional sports packages, and is also available as a standalone feature. The snazzy seat inserts you see above come with the Sport Design package, which also swaps the model’s standard 20-inch wheels for low-weight 22-inch GT Design numbers. Expect to shave a tenth of a second off your 0-62 run (to 5.9 seconds). Turbo Coupe buyers, who gain 21-inch wheels as their stock setup, see a performance exhaust with this package.

Power comes to stock Cayenne Coupe buyers in the form of a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, good for 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, though signing for a Turbo Coupe brings a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 into the fold. That engine generates 542 hp and 568 lb-ft, propelling the four-seater to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds. Both of these engines pair with a ZF eight-speed automatic.

Of course, opting for a “coupe” SUV is not with its drawbacks, as cargo volume inevitably gets a haircut. Porsche claims owners will find 22 cubic feet of toy and grocery capacity behind the rear seat (21.2 in the Turbo Coupe), which is less than the 27.1 cubes offered in the Cayenne. This will hardly matter to buyers longing for a slinkier-looking Porsche SUV.

While the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe should start hitting German dealerships in early summer, American customers will have to wait until fall. Once on these shores, basic coupes will start at $76,550 after destination. Turbo Coupes carry a steep premium — Porsche demands $131,150 for the privilege of driving away in the most voluptuous of Cayennes.

[Images: Porsche AG]

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33 Comments on “Because We Can: The German SUV ‘Coupe’ Scene Now Comprises Three Automakers...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Got four doors? It ain’t a coupe; no matter what the OEMs want to call ’em. Just because it’s a fastback design doesn’t mean it’s a coupe. Coupes can also come in ‘notchback’ designs and those didn’t have four doors either.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    I saw my first German SUV Coupe several years ago in Bobbio, Italy – a small ancient mountain town which vintage rallies seem to pass through with some frequency. I was having pizza at an outdoor cafe when somebody with a black shirt and moussed hair pull up in this giant BMW thing in black, the likes of which I had never before seen and which induced a mixture of illness and incredulity. It was if a mountain giant had taken a giant dump right there in the street. No grace, too big for its lines, but too small to be a working truckette. Were it not for the stabilizing influence of the vineous imbibations accompanying the pizza, I might have taken drastic actions.
    My opinion of those pretentious monstrosities have not changed at all no matter the maker. What is the point? If one wants a sports coupe, go get one. If one wants a truck, go get one. People who buy these things obviously have the funds to get both, but evidently have more dollars than sense.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I just don’t understand these, a big reason people buy SUV/crossovers is for the practicality of being able to carry people and their stuff, take that away and what have you got? A sedan… er, coupe, er whatever. They don’t sell, but they continue to make more of them. The Germans can make whatever they want and I can continue to not buy them

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      The late ’40s streamliner must be a Jungian archetype.

      momentcar.com/images/pontiac-streamliner-1949-2.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Note it only has two (2) doors…

        • 0 avatar
          AKM

          In Europe, those actually sell very well. Sales of X4>X3, X6>X5, etc
          Who said we Europeans have good taste and only drive nice wagons?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I have never purchased a “car” with four doors for myself, though I have owned two (my first and my fifth) that were purchased for me. I have since owned an SUW (before the term CUV came to the fore) and two SUVs with four doors. My current pickup has 2-2/2 doors, so can’t claim to be a full four doors (compared to other extended cab models with obvious outside door handles.)

            As for roof lines, I have never–not once–heard of a notch-back 2-door labeled as a 2-door sedan. That sloping roofline was always called a ‘fastback’ or ‘fleetback’ design (‘fleetback’ as compared to ‘fleetside’ on pickup trucks, meaning smooth lines.)

  • avatar
    marc

    At firstI thought this was a photoshop form one of the writers, trying to make a point. Then I looked at my calendar. Nope, not April 1 yet. Nope, this is all true. And it’s the 4th German entry here; don’t forget the Audi Q8. (5th or 6th overall? Infiniti FX? Acura ZDX?)

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    It doesn’t look half bad – though I suppose the flip side of that statement is that it does look half bad.

  • avatar

    How it is different from Tesla Model Y? Germans copy everything Tesla does.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Model Y was clearly designed by a wind tunnel, and prioritizes efficiency. I see an engineering tradeoff and understand why it looks like a big Prius (or a prettified Pontiac Aztek). It’s optimized the EV buyer, and corners (like the aft cargo roof) are cut elsewhere towars that end

      I’m not sure what the value proposition of, say, the BMW X6 is, though. They don’t seem to be optimizing it for anything — it’s a big thirsty heavy “sporty” CUV without the cargo area that should come with the rest of the engineering tradeoff. But, then again, I’m not the target buyer for this thing.

      Perhaps someone who actually bought one of these can explain what makes the BMW X6 better than, say, the BMW X5?

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I believe this all started with the introduction of the fifth or sixth gender. Story checks.

  • avatar
    MKizzy

    These mutant CUV’s (Coupe Utility Vehicles?) must be for drivers who don’t want to be seen driving a regular upright CUV, which has become the new ubiquitous mommy-mobile,but still want to experience the higher ride height versus a sedan or a real coupe…I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      That was my read on the first one I saw. She just wanted to be different.

      The subsequent ones I’ve seen, though, I have no idea what the owner was thinking.

      I sure wish one of them would explain it.

      I’ve observed that separating themselves from the crowd does seem to be a big unspoken motivation for a lot BMW drivers I’ve argued with.over the years. If that’s your reason for owning a BMW, what do you do when your entire country club wears the BMW uniform? But my ability to empathize with this is limited, so maybe someone can really explain why BMW X6 buyers love this car more than th X5, and why they love this car enough to spend an airplane-sized pile of money on it.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Gawd almighty, I loathe fastback SUVs. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was that Tesla followed this inane X6ian trend with the Model Y.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The Model Y uses it’s “pregnant Prius” shape for aerodynamics and efficiency.

      Drag reduction matters more than you’d expect on EV than on a conventional car, and weight matters less than you’d expect (because of regenerative braking). Both are important, but an EV design team is likely to prioritize drag reduction over weight reduction.

      The German designs appear to have nothing to do with efficiency, though.

      I get the Model Y. I don’t get the X6.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Just what we needed… another friggin’ Nissan Murano, with built-in Cherman engineering… and an even heftier price tag.

  • avatar
    Ermel

    Unlike the BMW and, to a lesser extent, the Mercedes and Audi efforts, I think the Porsche looks the part. The roofline goes nicely with the other Porsche design insignia, which isn’t much of a surprise since they did originate on a fastback — the 911.

    And about the name — go look up the Rover P5 Coupé, folks. You’re in for a surprise. The French word “coupé” literally means “cut”, as in a cut-off roof. Which these vehicles undoubtedly do have. That most coupés come from a time when there were two-door sedans around, and hence were based on these, does not mean that the term’s meaning can change. Live with it.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’m forced to agree. This looks more tasteful and more like what I picture a Porsche being (an a utility). I dont hate it, which is more than I can say about its rivals.

      If (in some bizarre alternate reality where I’d be in the market for such a vehicle) I had a choice, this is probably the Porsche utility vehicle I’d buy. Hell, I’d almost say the only German utility I’d buy, except I love the iconic G-wagen and dont hate the new BMW X7.

      Will this make me even less popular with the majority of the B&B? It’s a risk I’m willing to take. LOL!

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Cherokee XJ, Tahoe and 4Runner are the only real SUVs. “Coupes” and CUVs, I have no clue what they are.

  • avatar
    thatoneguy247

    The Kia Soul is considered a CUV despite having almost identical proportions to the Scion xB, a hatchback car. The fight for accurate vehicle segment classification was lost a long time ago.

    …or we could just call everything smaller than a Tahoe a CUV. “Compact” now includes anything from a VW Golf to a Jeep Grand Cherokee, and “utility” is a laughable description of a car with a roofline, ride height, and rear storage space as compromised as most of this segment, so we’re painting a broad brush.

    I can’t wait for x automaker’s next line of CUVs, featuring anywhere from 2 to 5 doors, off-road capability somewhere between nonexistent and less existent, and an infotainment system that forgoes decades of ergonomically-sensible design in the technology that only people older than myself will remember as the “volume knob”.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Since the first two entrants in this malformed segment seem to be Douchebag Approved, I expect the Porsche to attract the same kind of buyer.

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