Porsche is about to to do something for the first time in four years – launch an all-new volume model. The model in question is the Macan, a little SUV brother to the Cayenne. And that’s extremely good news if you’re in the market for a midsize SUV, like the BMW X3 or Audi Q5.
Audi’s strong-selling 4×4 can feel a bit miffed, because its platform was handed over to sister brand Porsche, to underpin this in-house rival. But the two SUVs are very different in appearance, character and ability. The Macan is more sporty and less upright than the Q5, and the nose is more aggressive than the Cayenne’s. Wheel size ranges from 18-inch to eye-catching 21-inch Sport Classic alloys with low-profile rubber.
The engines are familiar from the VW Group parts bin, though with extra Porsche punch in some cases. The Macan will go on sale in early 2014 with 3.0-litre V6 engines, in S, Diesel S and Turbo guise. The naturally aspirated petrol S packs 335bhp and 332lb ft, the Turbo 395bhp and 406lb ft. That’s the same amount of torque as the 242bhp Diesel S. All Macans have a four-wheel drive system blooded on the Panamera, and the transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box.
While V6 Macans start at £43,300, some cheaper, four-cylinder models are coming. First up in 2014 is a 2.0-litre petrol with 230bhp and 258lb ft. For model year 2015, spies are predicting a 2.0-litre diesel with 201bhp and 295lb ft.
Porsche-fans will find the cabin as unoriginal as a One Direction song. The dials could be from Cayenne or Cayman, the button-infested centre console from 911 or Boxster. Standard kit includes automatic headlamp and wipers, a Cayenne-derived steering-wheel, eight airbags and Porsche’s stock infotainment system. You’ll be able to tart up the cockpit with carbonfibre, brushed aluminium or colour-coded finishes, and pick from four sound systems, including posh stuff from Bose and Burmester.
The equipment list is full of Porsche acronyms: PASM (adaptive dampers), PDCC (active anti-roll bars) and PTV-plus (variable torque vectoring), which should help keep the Macan off the Armco if you stray onto the ‘Ring.
Audi’s Q5 went straight to the top of the class dynamically, when launched back in 2008. A solid base for Porsche’s whizzkids to work with, so we expect the Macan – the Indonesian word for tiger – to be 2014’s sharpest SUV.
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