Remember when Porsche released the Cayenne? Remember all the people in their Porsche owners club shirts sitting around and telling you about how this new SUV was a disgrace to the Porsche logo and that all the company should design and produce are 911 variants?
While they might have had a point, the Cayenne sold like bottled water and like this water in plastic, it’s completely pointless. People don’t need this much power from something that will be used to haul around families. Yet, it became the automaker’s best selling model, despite its looks.
Now, to put the owners club folks in the mental home, Porsche is created a smaller SUV, the Cajun. No, it’s not intended for people in New Orleans, but it is intended for people who found the Cayenne to be a bit too large and fancied something a bit more crossover like.
Porsche officially confirmed the small SUV in an official statement detailing their hopes for the vehicle: "Under the working name "Cajun," this efficient and sporty model will further expand the world’s most successful Porsche segment in the SUV sector. In addition to the new Cayenne, which has clearly consolidated its market position as the most successful sporty SUV in the premium segment, the "Cajun" will also have a very positive impact with its typical Porsche features such as light weight, ease of handling and agility. As an attractive entry model in the Porsche world, the "Cajun" will attract new and even younger customers to the premium brand along with the Boxster, the market leader in the segment of two-seater, mid-size sports cars."
UPDATE 02/16/2012: Porsche has confirmed that its new SUV - known until now as the Cajun - will in fact be called the Macan, a name derived from the Indonesian word for tiger. The name "combines suppleness, power, fascination and dynamics." The new Macan will be the fifth model in Porsche’s line-up and will be produced in Leipzig starting 2013.Next to the official name, Porsche has also unveiled a teaser video and a rendering of the next SUV.
UPDATE 04/16/2012: According to Autocar, Porsche will fit the Macan Turbo with a new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that produces 370 horsepower and 400 lb/ft of torque. Likewise, the Macan will also be mated to a standard seven-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed, dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission.
In addition to the top-of-the-line Macan Turbo, Porsche will also offer less powerful engines for other variants of the Macan. Look for a four-cylinder engine to be offered, one that produces around 220 horsepower. Similarly, Porsche will likely offer a Macan S variant that comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that develops 295 horsepower.
A diesel engine is also in the pipeline in the form of a 2.0-liter turbo diesel with 190 horsepower and last but certainly not least, a hybrid model that could carry a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with an electric motor, producing an output of 241 horsepower.
More details on the Porsche Cajun after the jump.
Do you remember those plastic things that you would lay out on a tray and place in the oven, then after a few minutes they would shrink to half their normal size. Well, that’s the Cajun for you. Porsche placed the Cayenne in an oven and shrunk it.
The Cajun will be very similar to the Audi Q5 in mostly every way because after all, they are just about brothers. The Porsche will be dimensionally similar to the Q5, albeit slightly lower, shorter, and wider. What really differentiates the vehicle’s stance is the wider nineteen- and twenty-inch wheels, as they add the bit of bling that the Audi lacked.
All exterior and interior panels will be new, but the windshield angle, the firewall, and the roof pillars have to remain as they are on the Audi. To give drivers that classic Porsche sporting feel, the Cajun receives its own sporty seats, a different steering column, and the dashboard from the upcoming Boxster.
The massive center stack rises at an angle like Porsche’s sedan, the Panamera. Although the base model is a four-seater, a five-seat option will be offered at a later date. Although the Panamera was sinfully ugly, the interior was something to behold, albeit a little confusing to use with all those buttons. We imagine that the Cajun’s interior will do without some of those sporty buttons that the Panamera had.
Overall, unlike the first generation Cayenne, the Cajun looks pretty good. Imagine a shrunken Cayenne or a raised up 911 and you’ll get the idea. We don’t expect much from Porsche’s design team, but it’s not bad at all.
In an interview at the Paris auto show with industry publication Automotive News, Walter de’ Silva, VW Group’s design chief, said, "I really hope to be able to add something positive to Porsche’s new models, which will remain coherent with the great tradition of Porsche...The Cajun will be the first new Porsche created under my influence."
Along with the body structure of the Audi, the Cajun will be using the Audi’s chassis, steering, axles, and Quattro drivetrain. Some of the benefits from having so many fantastic companies under one room. Power will come from a 3.0-liter V-6, jacked up to put out 290 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Amazingly, there is a chance that Americans will be able to get the diesel motor too.
In addition to those two, there is a Cajun Turbo S on Porsche’s minds. It features the company’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 350 hp. Being a Porsche it will come with a few tweaks, including the Sport Chrono pack with launch control, excellent brakes with optional carbon-ceramic discs, wheels and tires, and a complete exhaust system including a switchable free-flow sport muffler.
The Cajun will have some stiff competition in its own country from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, plus Range Rover will be offering up the Evoque. Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura all offer smaller SUVs, but nothing in the same ballpark as the Cajun, as it’s bound to be sportier and more expensive than those Japanese offerings.
BMW will be offering the X3, but the one that will compete with most Cajun models will be the X3 M. The current X3 isn’t available in M format, but there are rumors circulating that it will be ready by 2012, around the same time as the Cajun. You might be able to throw the X1 into the mix if it’s ever offered with an M Division motor.
Audi’s Q5 will be very similar to the Cajun and will offer some of the same motors. Being a Porsche, some things will be changed to add a sportier feel, but overall, the two will be very close. Based on style, we like both, but the Audi looks a bit more sophisticated. The Q5 is offered in many different diesel and petrol variants, the most powerful petrol being a 3.2-liter V6 with 266 horsepower, still way down on what the Cajun offers.
Range Rover’s Evoque is one of our favorite looking small SUVs and we think it trumps the Cajun in the style department. In terms of performance, we would expect the Porsche to blow the Evoque out of the water on the road, as it’s only offered with a new 2.0-liter Si4 turbocharged engine. But off the road, the Ranger Rover might have the advantage. The new Evoque will go on sale in the fall of 2011.
The two-door Cajun is expected to debut in 2013 as a 2014 model.