A seven-seat, off-road-capable luxury electric crossover is being primed by Porsche to arrive in 2027 as a new range-topper that will take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV and BMW iX.
It will be unlike any previous Porsche production model, say sources privy to early design proposals, with a length stretching beyond five metres and a profile that is “part saloon, part crossover”.
CEO Oliver Blume has described the car, known under the internal codename K1, as “a very sporting interpretation of an SUV”.
When it arrives, the advanced four-wheel-drive flagship will head a growing Porsche line-up, consisting of seven individual models. The K1 will offer the latest in synchronous electric motor, high-performance battery and rapid-charging technology – developments that, insiders at the company’s Zuffenhausen headquarters in Germany say, will extend its price well beyond the £150,500 of the existing internal-combustion-engined Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.
Already three years in conception and planning, the new Porsche model aims to build on the success of the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Macan, Porsche’s two best-selling models over the past two decades, as well as last year. The K1 is intended to support this trend with a combination of sportiness and utility that, it is hoped, will appeal to customers in its two largest markets: North America and China.
When it arrives, it will become the fifth electric-powered Porsche model after the Porsche Taycan, next year’s electric Macan, an electric Porsche Boxster/Porsche Cayman pairing due in 2025 and an electric version of the Cayenne tentatively planned for launch in 2026.
Having recently been listed on the stock exchange, Porsche is positioning itself as a leader in electric car technology. “We have a clear strategy to drive electrification forward over the next few years, aiming to deliver over 80% fully electric vehicles by 2030. It’s a very strong upward curve,” said Blume of Porsche’s sales targets.
Porsche has yet to give any clues to the K1’s design, but its key attributes are said to include a unique silhouette with a short bonnet by Porsche standards, a steeply raked windscreen and a curved roof that extends into a liftback-style tailgate. To give the new Porsche suitable off-road capabilities, it is also said to feature considerable ride height in its most extreme driving mode. Ground clearance will be adjusted via sophisticated air suspension with multiple settings.
The basis for the K1 is expected to be the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), given that it will share a production line with the upcoming PPE-mounted electric Macan, which is due in 2024.
The K1 was previously billed to sit on Porsche’s adaptation of parent Volkswagen Group’s Scalable Systems Platform, known as SSP Sport, but VW has confirmed a delay to the platform, originally due in the latter part of the decade.
Insiders say that when the SUV does arrive in 2027, it is likely to sit on an upgraded version of the PPE platform, which will incorporate developments showcased on the Mission R engineering concept first revealed at the 2021 Munich motor show.
Among these developments is a 920V electric system for even faster charging and oil cooling for the electric motors. What battery pack the K1 could use remains under wraps, although it is expected to adopt a cell-to-chassis layout for added structural integrity with an energy capacity of over 100kWh and a WLTP range of more than 435 miles in its most efficient form.
Other chassis tech planned for the K1 includes electronically controlled four-wheel steering that will offer up to 5deg of turning angle for the rear wheels to give added manoeuvrability at low speeds around town and greater agility at higher speeds. This feature will work in combination with an electronic differential that provides a torque-vectoring effect between each individual rear wheel.
Production of the new EV model is scheduled to take place alongside that of the electric Macan at Porsche’s Leipzig factory – the same site responsible for the existing internal combustion-engined Macan, Cayenne and Porsche Panamera.
Porsche’s bid on a high net-worth future means it has work to do, says Nick Gibbs
Time was an SUV wasn’t considered aspirational enough to sit in the rarefied ultra-luxury category. Who would pay £150,000+ for an elevated hatchback? We’re way past that now, which is why Porsche feels confident enough to tackle the likes of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX.
The fact that this new car is electric is less important than the company it keeps in this new price point. Launching in 2027 pretty much requires an EV.
Porsche has toyed with the lower end of this market with the range-topping £150,500 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT and of course it understands the pricier reaches of the sports car market. But this is a direct bid to the world’s UHNWIs (ultra-high-net-worth individuals) that it deserves that spot in their garage that houses more everyday cars.
Porsche’s conviction of success stems both from its buoyant post-IPO valuation as well as the health of this market. Last year Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini all posted record sales, and for all three their SUV – the Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Lamborghini Urus respectively, was responsible for around half their sales.
Porsche already understands the power of the SUV. Last year the Cayenne and smaller Macan were its best-selling models, accounting for just under 60% of its total for the year.
Sales of the new model won’t come anywhere near the 95,604 Porsche clocked for the Cayenne in 2022 but with a start price that could even triple that of the entry Cayenne at £63,700, it should be enough to swallow development costs and still return a sizeable margin.
Porsche of course will be able to leverage the economies of scale from building on the Volkswagen Group’s premium PPE electric platform, which first emerges next year under the new electric Macan. Porsche already understands the benefit of platform sharing after building the Cayenne on the same VW Group MLB platform as the Urus, Bentayga and Audi Q7. The economics make sense. Now Porsche just has to convince the ultra-rich that this product is exclusive enough to part with their cash.