First Drive: 2015 Porsche Macan porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2015 Porsche Macan porsche luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2015 Porsche Macan porsche luxury cars first drives
2015 Porsche Macan S & 2015 Porsche Macan Turbo. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Lesley Wimbush

Originally published March 6, 2014

Leipzig, Germany – There are over six kilometres of rugged off-road trails at Porsche’s Leipzig test centre. Strapping ourselves into the company’s latest arrival, a luxury cute ute named “Macan”, we strike out into the Deutsche Outback for a hands-on demonstration of its off-road prowess.

Keeping a sharp eye out for wild horses, we tackle some 30-degree embankments and trundle along under a WWII Soviet tank bridge.

As we straddle a sheer granite berm, stones pinging off the car’s underbelly – it seems impossible to maintain our footing, or even continue at this angle without rolling off into the underbrush.

It’s fascinating to watch the suspension at play in the car ahead of us, extending and compressing to keep the cockpit on a fairly even keel, despite such improbable angles.  And while it doesn’t quite boast the same clearance as big brother Cayenne, the Macan is perfectly capable off the pavement – particularly when equipped with the air suspension, giving it an extra 40 mm in height.

The Macan, which may sound a bit like a bird of colourful plumage but is actually the Indonesian word for “tiger”, is Porsche’s entry into one of the most rapidly growing segments in the automotive market: the luxury compact crossover.

Over the last half-dozen years, the segment has exploded, selling well over a million vehicles globally, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

With the Macan, Porsche is well-poised to take advantage of that growth, and the company predicts it will surpass the full-size Cayenne to become their top-selling model.  A turbodiesel variant will also be released in other markets, but is still undergoing emissions-related development before arriving in Canada.

It’s been eleven years since Porsche debuted the Cayenne, unleashing a furor of wailing from those who considered it a blasphemous move from a brand known for its pure, raw sports cars.  Perhaps the passing of time has led to acceptance, or at least a wearing down in outrage since there has been very little backlash surrounding the Macan’s arrival thus far.  Even the purists must realize that the Cayenne has been credited with almost singlehandedly pulling Porsche through the economic meltdown a few years ago, and now accounts for about half of its overall sales.

Without such mass appeal and mainstream vehicles, it’s unlikely we’d have unattainable yet inspiring vehicles like the $800,000+ 918 Spyder.

There’s a misconception that this is a rebadged Audi Q5 – it’s not. While parts-sharing with the mother company helps keep costs down, the Macan and Q5 share only the floor pan and some interior components – roughly 30 percent in all.

When the 2015 Macan arrives in Canada late spring, it will be available in two trim levels: the Macan S and the Macan Turbo.

First Drive: 2015 Porsche Macan porsche luxury cars first drives First Drive: 2015 Porsche Macan porsche luxury cars first drives
2015 Porsche Macan. Click image to enlarge

Starting at $54,300, the Macan S features a 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 producing 340 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque, and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel-drive. The “S” model sprints from 0–100 km/hr in 5.0 seconds.

The Macan Turbo, $82,200, boasts a twin-turbo, 3.6L V6 with an output of 400 hp and 406 lb-ft and can blast from 0–100 km/hr in as little as 4.4 seconds.

Standard on the Turbo, our “S” models came loaded with performance options: Porsche Active Suspension Management $1,560 (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring $1,700 (PTV Plus), Sport Chrono Package $1,480 (Sport Plus and Launch Control) and Air Suspension $3,140.

There is one transmission offering, and it’s the seven-speed twin-clutch Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK).

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