Porsche Macan: The little tiger emerges

By Alastair Sloane

Porsche's Macan compact SUV. Photo / Supplied
Porsche's Macan compact SUV. Photo / Supplied

The all-new Porsche Macan has broken cover ahead of its launch in Europe next year and New Zealand in 2014.

The fifth Porsche model line is a smaller and more fuel-efficient SUV positioned below the Porsche Cayenne in both price and size. It takes its name from the Indonesian word for tiger.

This spy image shows the Macan looks a lot like a scaled-down version of the Cayenne but with a lower and more curved roofline, much like the profile of the Audi Q5, on which the Macan is based.

The Macan will be around 90mm wider than the Q5, to give it a sportier stance. The model pictured here has five doors but a sportier three-door version is expected to follow.

Inside, the four-seater cabin promises more luxury than the Q5. The centre console will be set higher to cocoon the driver and give the car a small and nimble feel, and the Panamera-inspired dash design and switchgear, set to appear in the new Boxster and Cayman, will ensure the model looks like a true Porsche.

"The Macan combines all sports-car characteristics with the benefits of an SUV and is a genuine Porsche," said Bernhard Maier, member of the Porsche executive board for sales and marketing.

"The name of a new Porsche has to fit with the brand, sound good in very many languages and dialects and evoke positive associations."

The Macan is a central plank of Strategy 2018, by which Porsche aims to expand its model portfolio, and use the new SUV to emulate the success of the Cayenne.

The Macan will use more efficient, smaller-capacity engines than its bigger brother, sourced from the Audi Q5 range and developed by Porsche itself.

The flagship is likely to use a 256kW turbocharged 3-litre V6 sending power to all four wheels through a seven-speed PDK gearbox. Expect a 0-100km/h time of less than four seconds.

The more fuel-efficient models are likely to use a new 2.4-litre flat-four engine Porsche is busy developing for its baby Boxster sports car, known internally as the 9X1. The flat-four will be crucial in keeping the brand's core identity, while offering performance and efficiency, as well as a bold exhaust note.

There will also be a diesel version, most probably a 3-litre TDI with 175kW and 550Nm of torque. The planned hybrid model is expected to use the 2-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine mated to an electric set-up, just like in the front-drive Audi A8 Hybrid and forthcoming Audi Q5 Hybrid. The Macan, however, will be strictly all-wheel drive.

Expect it to use Porsche's PASM and torque-vectoring technologies to offer class-leading grip levels and a choice of ride height and suspension stiffness. There will be bigger brakes than the Audi Q5, larger wheel and tyre combinations and quicker steering.

The Macan, which will be built on its own line in Leipzig in Germany, not only broadens the Porsche range but will help Porsche to hit the EU's emissions targets for niche manufacturers, which means reducing average emissions by 25 per cent, compared with 2007, by 2015.

The Leipzig plant is being expanded into a fully fledged production factory including body assembly line and paint shop.

- NZ Herald

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