25 September 2023

A Spicy Coupe

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By Karl Peskett.

The only Porsche to be named after a spice, the Cayenne, will get a Coupe version which will go on sale in 2019.

The as-yet unnamed Cayenne coupe is set to take on the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, but it’s news that could have gone a bit under the radar, with the company putting its efforts into marketing a new electric sports car based on the Misson E, called the Porsche Taycan.

Porsche’s CEO Oliver Blume is the man who personally gave the green light to the project, which seems a bit strange given how successful the Cayenne was. But this is a bid to reel in Porsche’s German rivals. Around 20,000 BMW X6s have been sold per annum for the past three years in both the U.S. and Europe, which is around two thirds of the Cayenne’s volume in those markets.

So, if Porsche can capture some of those customers, that’s a handy boost to the bottom line.

The new SUV is expected to take most of its front end from the Cayenne, with some enhancements to the front bumper to differentiate it from the five-door donor car. From the A-pillar back, however, there will be quite a lot of changes. Different glass, a restyled rear end with a lift back tailgate (electric, of course) and tail lights that more closely mirror the 911 and Panamera will feature.

It will be based on the same MLB Evo platform as shared with the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Audi Q8, and will be built at Porsche’s Leipzig factory in Germany.

To signify its sporting intent, there won’t be a diesel version. Rather, there will be the same 440hp twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 as found in the Cayenne S, as well as a hotter twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol that it shares with the Bentayga V8 and Lamborghini Urus.

All will be revealed next year, where the Cayenne Coupe may even get its reveal at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show, if not before at the 2019 Geneva motor show.

VW tests battery tech virtually

Volkswagen may be running a little short on cash, given its recent $1.5 billion fine from the public prosecution office in Braunschweig (a city in Lower Saxony, Germany) due to the fallout from the Dieselgate saga. This is on top of the $39.8 billion that the company had already set aside to pay out in settlements, software upgrades and penalties.

The company won’t fight the fine, accepting responsibility. But that means that budgets from other areas will have to be cut. And one of them may have been the electric vehicle division. So instead of testing battery technology in real life, loading the power storage units up and then draining them again, Volkswagen has decided to do things differently.

Power cycling is an expensive process, and time consuming, as is testing different combinations of materials. Instead VW has implemented the help of quantum computers, enabling researches to replicate the chemical makeup of various batteries. The results gained will allow the company to determine maximum power density and possibly even weight reduction, creating new designs which could be put into production. The time saved (and money) is quite substantial.

The computers can even model molecular movements, compressions and bounces, simulating lithium-hydrogen and carbon chains at work in the batteries.

But the computers don’t belong to Volkswagen. The company has been using the vast resources at Google and a company called D-Wave to get the simulations done. Once Elon Musk gets wind of that, though, let’s see what Tesla’s next move is.

Model 3 gets Ferrari-like acceleration

Speaking of Tesla, Musk has tweeted the next stage of the company’s Model 3 development – a dual-motor version.

It doesn’t sound like much, but having the extra motor means that it can be all wheel drive, giving it plenty of punch off the line.

There’s also a Performance model, which has upgraded front and rear motors, separating it from other dual-motor Model 3s. In the US, it’ll cost around $78,000 (AU$105,000), but the real news is that it’s set to hit 100kmh in just 3.5 seconds. Top speed will be around 250kmh.

But it has a range of a staggering 500km. Considering its performance potential, the Model 3 should cure some range anxiety. That’s if you don’t use all the performance at once, of course.

The real sticking point for the Model 3, however, has been production. Targets which were set a while ago haven’t been reached, with plenty of people still having outstanding orders. Which is why Musk’s tweet included details of a third production line which he says was built “with minimal resources”. Hopefully the Model 3 can now get back on track.

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