2015 Porsche Macan. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Lesley Wimbush
Los Angeles, California – Revealed at a private gathering the night before the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Macan is a small sports utility vehicle that joins the rapidly growing compact luxury SUV market. It’s an important debut for Porsche, an entry into what’s currently the most profitable segment in the industry. Sales estimates from Porsche have the Macan from 55,000 annually, up to an optimistic 75,000 – a large number that represents close to half of their total sales volume.
Anticipating the inevitable grumbling from purists, Porsche President and Chief Executive Officer Matthias Müller took to the stage at the World Premiere of the Macan saying that as with the, “Panamera and Cayenne, loyal fans had to be convinced. We are proud that we have such loyalists, not many car companies do”.
Since those two vehicles helped pull the company through the recent economic meltdown, Porsche fans might consider that an expanding lineup enables the company to produce the raw performance vehicles so beloved by its followers – as illustrated by the row of new 911s and the glorious 918 Spyder halo car at the event.
Its name inspired by the Indonesian word for tiger in reference to its “power, elegance and speed”, the Macan was introduced by tennis superstar Maria Sharapova. Also celebrating the Macan’s debut were comic Jerry Seinfeld – whose collection includes one of the original Le Mans Porsche 917k, race car driver Patrick Long, and actor/race car driver Patrick Dempsey.
Based on Volkswagen’s MLB platform, the Macan resembles a shrunken Cayenne, but with a hunkered down, wide stance and design elements borrowed from the 911. The underpinnings are similar to those found under Audi’s Q5, sharing 20 percent of its structural components. However, Müller was quick to point out that while they were “lucky to have access to the Volkswagen group platform” they built a “true Porsche” with genuine Porsche powertrains, sheetmetal influenced by the 911 and a 918 Spyder-inspired steering wheel.
Available in two versions, the Macan S and Macan Turbo, Porsche’s first compact SUV will include standard active all-wheel-drive and the Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK). The AWD drive system is a rear-biased setup that can transfer up to 100 percent of the torque to the front through an electronic multi-plate clutch.
Sport mode, which sharpens transmission, throttle and steering response, is standard, and there’s an optional Sports Chrono package which includes a launch control feature.
2015 Porsche Macan. Click image to enlarge
Turbo models receive Porsche’s Active Suspension Management System (PASM) which electronically adjusts the suspension system with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings. An optional air suspension system – a segment first – lowers the Macan for sportier driving, or raises it almost nine inches for a little light off-loading.
The Macan’s cabin shares similar elements with the Cayenne – with the same central bank of switchgear, premium leather upholstery and use of brushed aluminum. Trim choices include burled walnut or carbon fibre.
Safety and technology include lane departure, Porsche Active Safe (PAS) braking system, active cruise control, navigation and either a 545 watt Bose or 1,000 watt Burmeister sound system.
The Macan S will feature a new 3.0L V6 bi-turbo engine with 340 hp and 0-100 km/h time of 5.4 seconds. Estimated fuel consumption will be 9.0 to 8.7 L/100 km. There’s a wide range of wheels available for each model, although standard offering for the Macan S is 18-inch wheels, with 19-inch for the Turbo model. Ceramic brakes are available as an option, which, as Müller says, makes it “truly the sports car of its class”.
The Macan Turbo will be powered by a 3.6L bi-turbo V6 producing 400 hp, with a 0-100 km/h time of 4.8 seconds and average fuel consumption of 9.2-8.9 L/100 km. Torque figures for either engine haven’t yet been released.
Arriving later are a (Europe only) diesel and the first four-cylinder Porsche since the discontinued 968 – a move that Müller said will “make our marque accessible to drivers who didn’t think they’d see a day when they would own a Porsche”.
The Macan arrives at Canadian dealerships in late spring of 2014, and with prices starting at $54,300 for the Macan S and $82,200 for the Macan Turbo – it becomes Porsche’s entry level vehicle.