The Porsche brand had important financial troubles. With a small lineup of vehicles, it needed something to go straight-up on the market. And that was the 2002 Cayenne. The first-generation Cayenne was what saved Porsche.
The Porsche Cayenne 955 entered the market to a mixed reception, although it was the performance vehicle among SUVs and had comparably good handling as well as powerful engines. The lineup initially consisted of the V8-powered Cayenne S and Cayenne Turbo. Later in the model cycle, VR6 and diesel-powered versions joined the lineup. The base model is powered by a VW 3.2-L VR6 engine producing 250 PS (184 kW; 247 hp). The intake manifold is unique to Porsche, but otherwise the engine is largely the same as the VW engine. Acceleration from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) is 9.3 seconds with the manual transmission and 9.7 seconds with the Tiptronic.
First, it was a shock for the 911 fans. How could their favorite brand to launch a family SUV with the Porsche logo on it? Moreover, how could they do that by sharing the platform with a Volkswagen? Well, all that happened and it did happen to save the brand. And the first generation of the Cayenne was the best selling Porsche of all times until the end of its production.
The Cayenne had some design inspiration from its famous brother, the 911. The headlights resembled those from the Porsche 911-996 model. Some part of the front bumper also looked something like a 911. But the rest of the car was nowhere near any Porsche of any time. It was built with curved surfaces and a sloped tailgate. The taillights were big and tall when compared with those from a 911. Event their shape was different.
Inside the car, there were some Porsche details such as the instrument cluster and the key on the left side. The gearshift lever was the same as in the 911, but the seating position was higher. As a plus, though, there was enough room for three adults in the back and a pair of doors to access them.