Porsche Should Build a High-Performance Van Already
The Vision Renndienst is proof that Porsche can build a cool looking, fast vanby Ciprian Florea, on LISTEN 05:54
Porsche recently unveiled several concept cars that it has kept out of sight over the last 15 years. Among them, there’s the Vision Renndienst, an all-electric van that pays tribute to the old vans that Porsche used as support vehicles for its racing program back in the 1950s and 1960s. They were mainly first-generation Volkswagen Microbus vans, usually painted red and labeled "renndienst," which is German for "racing service." The van concept looks surprisingly hot, and given that Porsche already built something similar in the past, maybe it’s time Stuttgart rolls out a production van. Of the high-performance variety, of course.
The idea behind the Porsche Vision Renndienst
The Vision Renndienst may be a tribute to Porsche's old racing service vans, but there's no relation between them beyond the label and the red color.
While the old Renndienst vans were mostly first-generation Volkswagen Microbus models, the Vision Renndienst is an original vehicle penned by Porsche’s very own design team.
And as you’d expect from Porsche, it’s quite the sporty hauler. While most vans and even minivans are bulky and square, the Vision Renndienst sports an aggressive front fascia with a V-shaped, sharp nose and a heavily slanted windshield. The heavily sculpted bumper sports big vents to the sides and a splitter-like element at the bottom.
The profile is very typical for a van. Although the front end is very sleek (it reminds me of the old Pontiac Trans Sport), the boxy become boxy toward the rear. However, the Vision Renndienst features larger-that-usual wheels and sculpted lower body panels. The front door windows also boast a more organic shape that extends into the sliding side door. The rear fascia is as simple as they get, but the design of the bumper mimics the shape of a diffuser, which is really cool. There’s also a tailgate spoiler and a 911-specific lightbar taillight.
But the biggest surprise comes from inside the cabin.
By no means a delivery van like the vehicle it is inspired by, the Vision Renndienst is a "family-friendly space concept for up to six persons."
So it’s also practical. But the interesting thing here is that driver’s seat is mounted in the center. Practicality and an F1-style driving position? That’s neat! Of course, like most modern concepts, the Vision Renndienst is an all-electric vehicle, hiding an undisclosed powertrain in the underbody.
The Porsche Vision Renndienst would be a cool production model
Yes, we all want to see sports cars, supercars, and electric hypercars with lots of power and aggressive styling. But the market also needs a high-performance van. This is indeed a strange concept. With very few exceptions, like Ford’s track-ready Supervan series back in the day, no company has built a performance van for the road. And I think it’s time for that to change. There’s nothing wrong with a beefed-up van. We have plenty of high-performance SUVs on the road, so we should definitely be able to buy a fast and powerful van. Just think about it: it can provide seating for five to eight people with plenty of trunk space left in the back, and it would have superior headroom front to rear. When needed, a van can offer a long, tall, and flat loading area that’s superior to any SUV out there, no matter how big.
A van with a Porsche badge would also guarantee top-notch quality, a premium interior, and a solid drivetrain. The German carmaker builds a wide variety of drivetrains now, ranging from small four-cylinder to big V-8 engines. What’s more, it’s already offering the Taycan electric sedan, so it has the technology to develop an all-electric van. The latter would hit several birds with the same stone: powerful motors, sports car-like acceleration, zero emissions, and competitive range.
Why would Porsche build a van?
Yes, I know, Porsche isn’t supposed to build vans; it would be a sacrilege and blah blah.
Well, please remember that there was a time when Porsche only built sports cars and grand tourers. No SUVs, no sedans, no electric cars
. Look at the company’s lineup now, which includes vehicles like the Cayenne, Macan, Panamera, and Taycan. It all starts somewhere, and heritage doesn’t matter all that much in this day and age. If I were the CEO of Porsche, I’d only be worried about two things: this van needs to look cool, and it needs to be fast. And that’s it!
Oh, and in case you didn't know, Porsche already built a limited-edition van back in the 1980s.
It’s called the B32 and we already featured it on TopSpeed. Sure, just like the old Renndienst vans, the B32 was actually a modified Volkswagen, in this case, the T3, but most internals were replaced with Porsche bits. Power came from a 3.2-liter flat-six from the first-generation 911 Carrera, as was the suspension, the brakes, and the transmission. With 231 horsepower at its disposal, the B32 needed only eight seconds to hit 62 mph while reaching a top speed of 135 mph. Porsche built around 15 of these vans. Some were sold to special customers, while others were kept by the company and its staff.
|0 to 62 mph||8 seconds|
|Top Speed||135 mph|
See, vans don’t have to be boring. And if there’s one company that can deliver a cool van, it’s definitely Porsche. And now that it has designed and built the Vision Renndienst, Porsche is definitely capable of putting one into production.
Shut up and take my money!