(from Automobile Magazine July 1999)
The driver-oriented BMW X5 will have stiff competition from this joint-venture SUV, which will be engineered by Porsche, not Volkswagen. (Porsche can do it cheaper and faster.) At this point, the two partners plan to build 80,000 VWs and 20,000 Porsches, but annual capacity can easily extend to 120,000 units.
Only VW gets a long-wheelbase version, which features a third row of seats. The Porsche looks like a crossbreed of the Paris-Dakar racer, the new 911, and the stillborn four-door 989. The VW incorporates subtle styling cues from the Golf, the Passat, and the Lupo subcompact.
Off-road, a system called active chassis management can adjust wheel travel, axle articulation, ride height, and the steering ratio. The four-wheel-drive system splits the torque evenly and provides added traction in the form of a low-range transfer case and two differential locks. On the road, torque distribution varies depending on speed, load, and wheel slip.
As far as engines go, VW is planning a 201-bhp, 2.8-liter V-6; a 296-bhp, 3.7-liter WR8; a 402-bhp, 4.0-liter WR10; a 493-bhp, 5.6-liter WR12 (only for the long-wheelbase version); and a 5.0-liter V-10 TDI that's good for nearly 300 bhp. We know that the core powerplant for the Porsche is a brand-new bespoke 32-valve V-8 in 4.0-liter, 300-bhp and 5.0-liter, 400-bhp-plus guises.
Prices for the VW range span from about $33,500 to $73,000 in today's money. Porsche V-8 prices will stretch from $65,000 to more than $90,000.
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