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Porsche is planning to expand its Cayenne lineup with a coupe-styled version of the SUV, sources at the carmaker told Automotive News Europe sister publication Autoweek.
The new Cayenne has been conceived as a rival to the growing number of upmarket crossovers that combine coupe and SUV characteristics, including the upcoming second-generation BMW X6.
"We have been considering launching a more sporting derivative of the Cayenne for some time now," a senior Porsche official told Autoweek. "The problem has been the production capacity at our Leipzig factory and the strong sales of the regular Cayenne."
Design proposals for the new five-door model, which is tentatively scheduled for introduction in 2018 as part of the third-generation Cayenne lineup, are described as being at an advanced stage.
The Cayenne coupe, as the model has been christened in an early conceptual phase, is set to be positioned as a more sporty alternative to the regular Cayenne.
With further investment set to increase production capacity at the Leipzig plant when the regular third-generation Cayenne arrives in 2017, CEO Matthias Mueller has brought the coupe variant of Porsche's strongest-selling model into its new model development program.
The coupe's styling will be an evolution of that seen on today's second-generation Cayenne, a face-lift for which is imminent before the third-generation model arrives.
The Cayenne coupe is expected to adopt an edgier look with tauter surfacing and overall styling inspired by the 918 Spyder supercar. A sleeker roofline and sloping rear will help to differentiate it from the regular Cayenne SUV.
The interior will be shared with the third incarnation of the regular Cayenne, the look of which will again be heavily influenced by the 918 Spyder.
As with the current Cayenne, an extensive model range is expected to include GTS, turbo and diesel models, with the range being crowned by a twin-turbocharged gasoline V-8 engine producing more than 550 hp in the Turbo S.
Porsche is keen to push the Cayenne coupe's sporting intentions and the model will have a lower ride height than the regular Cayenne, with the intention of giving the more road-focused model a lower center of gravity and a sportier appearance.
The Cayenne coupe is set to be priced about 15 percent to 20 percent higher than the current Cayenne. In Germany, the Cayenne has an entry-level sticker price of 59,358 euros. Plug-in gasoline-electric and diesel-electric hybrid drivelines will also be offered, insiders at the company's Zuffenhausen headquarters near Stuttgart suggest.
It is one of up to seven new SUVs set to be developed on a new version of the Volkswagen Group's MLB platform currently being engineered by Audi, including successors to the existing Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 as well as the Bentley SUV, Lamborghini Urus and Audi Q8.
Porsche is understood to be concerned about preserving the exclusivity of its sports car lineup, including the 911, Cayman and Boxster, as it expands its SUV range, which also includes the Macan compact SUV. This will be a factor in whether the new Porsche model is progressed through to production, although approval does seem likely at present.
Sales of Porsche vehicles rose 15 percent last year to 162,145. Demand for the Cayenne accounted for more than half of all global deliveries at more than 84,000. Porsche says it plans to reach deliveries of more than 200,000 vehicles a year in 2015 or 2016, about three years earlier than planned.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report