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 owner’s club folks in the mental home, Porsche has created a smaller SUV that it has dubbed the Macan, which was originally named “Cajun.” This puppy is intended for people who find the Cayenne to be a bit too large and fancy something a bit more crossover like.
Porsche officially confirmed the small SUV in a statement detailing its 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 5/30/2013: Reports have revealed the unveil date and the rough release date of the 2015 Macan. See more after the jump.
More details on the Porsche Macan after the jump.
The spy shots show us that there shouldn’t be many surprises when Porsche finally unveils the Macan. It is essentially a downsized version of the Cayenne, plain and simple. The front end features the same signature Porsche headlights and air intakes that are basically identical to the Cayenne.
The front end is pretty clear in the spy shots, but the back end is another story altogether. The taillights look to be fake, so we cannot figure out what they will look like when it hits production. We can say that the fake Cayenne lights on the Macan we caught testing are pretty funny looking…
Exterior and Interior
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 Macan for you. Porsche placed the Cayenne in an oven and shrunk it.
The Macan 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 Macan 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 Macan’s interior will do without some of those sporty buttons that the Panamera had.
Overall, unlike the first generation Cayenne, the Macan 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 Macan will be the first new Porsche created under my influence."
Driveline, Brakes and Suspension
Along with the body structure of the Audi, the Macan 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. Rumor has it that base power will come from a four-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower. The Macan S in rumored to carry a 3.0-liter V-6, jacked up to put out 290 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.
In addition to those two powerplants, rumors point to a Macan Turbo on Porsche’s minds. It features the company’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 370 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Also rumored is a 2.0-liter diesel engine with about 190 horsepower and a future hybrid powertrain that uses a four-cylinder engine and electric motor that produces near 240 horsepower.
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 Macan 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 Macan, as it’s bound to be sportier and more expensive than those Japanese offerings.
The X3 will compete with the lower-level Macan models with its base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out 240 horsepower. From there, the BMW X3 jumps to a 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder that will compete with the Macan S. BMW will offer the X3 M at some point. It is rumored that this model will feature a revised turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line-six engine with up to 450 horsepower, putting it in line with the Macan Turbo.
Audi’s Q5 will be very similar to the Macan, but it will be slightly detuned. The gasoline variants will start with a 225-horsepower, 2.0-liter TSFI engine and peak with a 272-horsepower, 3.0-liter TSFI engine. Diesel models come standard with a 143-horsepower, 2.0-liter TDI engine. Up from the base model is a 2.0-liter TDI engine with 177 horsepower, then the Q5 diesel peaks out with a 245-horsepower 3.0-liter TDI V-6 engine.
Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque is one of our favorite looking small SUVs and we think it trumps the Macan 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 that pumps out 240 horsepower. But off the road, the Ranger Rover might have the advantage.
Pricing and Release Date
According to a report from Auto Express, Porsche will unveil the Macan at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, which kicks off in November. It will hit showrooms in the spring of 2014 and will be produced in Leipzig, Germany. The Macan start near the high-$30K mark.