First diesel Porsche on sale in February

The German sports car maker's first ever production diesel model will be a Cayenne SUV powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel sourced from Audi.

Porsche Cayenne
Porsche Cayenne diesel goes on sale in the UK in February

Porsche says that the adoption of diesel was driven by the significant tax advantages enjoyed by diesel-engined cars in the European market. It also says that its stake in the Volkswagen Group, which includes Audi, allows it access to state-of-the-art compression-ignition engines that deliver the performance Porsche buyers expect along with lower emissions and reduced running costs.

The Cayenne V6 diesel develops 240bhp and a mightly 406lb ft of torque. Its claimed EU Combined fuel consumption is 30.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 244g/km. Equipped with a Tiptronic-S automatic transmission as standard, it is expected to cost from £40,250.

It will be initially sold only in Europe, although Porsche is paving the way for its introduction to other markets. The Stuttgart-based sports car maker is confident that the new, low-consumption model will continue the success of the all-wheel-drive Cayenne, which enjoyed its best ever 12 months in the financial year 2007-08, with 45,478 units sold.

The use of a high-performance diesel is a logical step for Porsche, which has traditionally had an exclusively petrol-powered range. The Cayenne has employed petrol direct-injection technology to reduce fuel consumption since 2007, and Porsche now fits a refinement of this system to its seminal 911 sports car.

Porsche is also working on a petrol/electric hybrid drivetrain, in conjunction with Volkswagen and Audi, for possible use in the Cayenne. The prototype made its debut at last year's Los Angeles Auto Show.