Originally published November 17, 2014
When it comes to siblings, two things are assured. Bickering over who gets the toys, especially if they’re close in age, is an absolute given. But, as they get older and even if they don’t get along, they learn to share.
Audi and Porsche are stepchildren in the overall Volkswagen Group, adopted by their much larger parent in 1964 and 2012 respectively. While Audi has fully acclimatized to Volkswagen ownership over the last 50 years, Porsche is still working out how to get along with everyone else in the family.
Porsche’s newest model – the Macan – is the sports-car maker’s interpretation of a formula that seems to be working for almost every other automaker. No matter if it’s mainstream, near-luxury, or premium, every automaker that has a compact SUV is selling them in droves these days.
But it isn’t like Porsche had a platform they could leverage for the task, so they stole a toy from Audi in the form of MLB/MLP (Modular Longitudinal Platform), which underpins all Audi sedans and our other tester, the Audi Q5, this one in sporty S trim to face Porsche’s more sporting ethos in every model.
So it’s from common lineage that these two up-tempo compact SUVs do battle.
2014 Audi SQ5 vs 2015 Porsche Macan S. Click image to enlarge
As you’d probably expect, the SQ5 and Macan S have the exact same wheelbase, while other measurements, such as width (body and track), height, and length are separated by only millimeters. On paper, it’s easy to see the vehicles come from the same platform. But, in pictures, the untrained eye may not be able to tell.
Unlike Chevrolet and GMC, Audi and Porsche design their vehicles separately and make the best use of the constraints dictated by the platform. Aside from the dimensions above and the shape of the overall glass areas on each side, their designs are not alike at all.
The differentiation is incredible as Audi is able to highlight the strong, upright single-frame grill at the front of the SQ5 at the same time Porsche is able to give a much lower, tapered look to the front fascia of the Macan that the automaker has never been able to pull off with the Cayenne.
Again, these are two different brands within the same company making use of the same platform. That needs to be reiterated over and over. Other automakers seem unable able to bake this amount of brand DNA into their multi-model platforms.
|2014 Audi SQ5 vs 2015 Porsche Macan S. Click image to enlarge|
The Audi’s box-like styling – even though the roofline slopes down toward the rear – radiates a sense of strength. The rounded features of the Macan, namely the rear greenhouse, pinch above the rear wheels to give the SUV some curvaceous haunches, evoke a more sporting nature. Both of the vehicles play into their brand DNA quite well.
The Macan literally looks like one of their sports cars on stilts and, while looking at it from some angles can make it look somewhat unattractive, it’s a very cohesive design. The headlights are iconic and the rear design is simple yet classy.
On the other hand, the SQ5 rear taillights bug me especially; the taillight shape narrows as it gets closer to the middle of the car and it doesn’t seem to fit everything else. That said, the optional 21-inch wheels on the SQ5 look better than the 19-inch Turbo wheels on our Macan S tester.