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The facelifted second-generation Porsche Cayenne may have only just arrived on Malaysian shores (mid 2015), but Porsche isn’t wasting any time getting on with developing its third-gen model already. However, don’t let this hold you back from buying a current-gen Cayenne, because the next-gen model is only expected to debut late 2017.

Spied for the first time ever, little is known about Porsche’s third Cayenne. We can, however, tell you that it will be built on the Volkswagen Group’s new MLB Evo platform for SUVs – meaning that just like the new Audi Q7, the next Cayenne will shed a significant amount of weight and gain a more rigid chassis.

The Cayenne mule here doesn’t appear to be styled too differently from the existing model. The silhouette of the SUV remains as it were, while several body panels, and even the lighting (front and rear) appear to borrowed straight out of the current Cayenne. Then again, this is a test mule and we shouldn’t think too much of the its current styling — Porsche will want to keep its final designs under wraps for now.

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The most obvious difference this prototype bears is on its sides. The C-shaped air vents on the front fenders reflect what we saw on the Panamera test mule we spied not too long ago, and is a nod to the Panamera Sport Turismo concept we saw back at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.

While no pictures of the new Cayenne’s interior have been snapped yet, we do imagine that it would adopt a similar approach to the coming Panamera’s all-touch centre console and dash. The clean look is something we’ve longed to see featured in the Cayenne, which is currently a bit too button-heavy for this writer.

Just like the new Panamera also, we expect the new Cayenne to carry forward its existing range of petrol and diesel engines, in the same V6 and V8 configurations. A hybrid-powered option should naturally return, badged as the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, just like before.

This is about all we can tell you for the moment, so stay tuned to paultan.org as we track the development of the third-generation Porsche Cayenne SUV.