Porsche has always had due reverence for heritage and tradition in its designs. It’s been building the same car for almost 60 years, after all. When it comes to the new Cayenne’s interior though, the company has made a break with the past, and the analog tachometer was placed on the chopping block.
The decision to drop the analog tacho wasn’t made hastily, according to Ivo van Hulten, director of UX design. “I think we can be super transparent about that. That was a pretty intense discussion that we had there inside of the company,” said van Hulten, adding “We understood this has a great legacy to us, to have an analog rev counter. But also if you look at the old 911s, we had five analog dials.”
The final call came down to a realistic assessment of what newer technology could provide in this space. “So at a certain point, we realized this [all digital display] gives us more flexibility for the future. We think there is actually a lot of cool ways to solve this in a digital way,” van Hulten explained. In the end, Porsche specified a 12.6-inch curved display to serve as the instrument cluster, with the analog tachometer and gauges made a thing of the past.
The all-digital cluster provides many layout and color options, adding flexibility that analog gauges don’t have. Porsche
Porsche’s first EV had an influence in this regard. The Taycan was released with a much more digital interior interface concept than the company’s previous efforts. That provided a familiarity with the technology for Porsche’s designers. “I think that also liberated us a little bit, and then we decided let’s do this and go forward with a digital approach [for the tach],” said van Hulten. With the analog gauge deleted, the screen-based cluster had to step up. According to van Hulten, “I think we found a way to still give you this feeling, but in a digital way.”
Ultimately, it’s easy to see why Porsche made the call. Real analog gauges simply aren’t practical to blend in with what is otherwise an all-digital instrument cluster. Regardless, the company has made an effort to include a wide variety of “analog” tachometer skins for its digital gauge cluster that ably do the job. There’s also a “Signature” mode that replicates the traditional Porsche five-gauge layout. It’s reminiscent of the way Ford implemented a throwback Fox Body mode in the digital cluster in the new Mustang, to great adulation.
Die-hard old heads will likely miss the analog tachometer when it’s gone. For the Cayenne market, though, it’s perhaps not a big deal. It’s unlikely SUV owners would be too upset with the new design. And, in any case, as the company moves towards the future, it’s still giving a friendly nod to the past. For most of Porsche’s customers, that should be enough.
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