- Porsche Macan
- Cheapest Porsche
Nothing could be easier than treating the arrival of Porsche’s second SUV model with a healthy dose of cynicism.
Porsche is most famous for its sports cars after all, and putting its badge on a 4WD wagon based on an Audi Q5 hardly seems the kind of cutting-edge engineering that has made the Porsche 911 iconic and delivered virtually every trophy worth winning in the world of motorsport.
The only problem is that even running an eye down the Porsche Macan’s specification chart makes for mouth-watering reading. Take the range-topping Turbo: with 294kW of power it has virtually as much grunt as a Porsche 911 Carrera S and with a claimed 0-100km/h figure of 4.6 seconds in the version fitted with launch control, is every bit as fast in a straight line.
More importantly, the Porsche Macan Turbo simply can’t be matched in horsepower terms by any rival which, if you believe in marketing-induced categories, includes other “premium” smaller SUVs such as the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q5, BMW X3 or possibly the smaller Mercedes-Benz GLA.
None of these offer supercar performance but then, none approach the Porsche Macan Turbo’s price tag that will be $122,900 when it goes on sale in Australia in June.
And while cynics might say that’s the price to pay for a Porsche badge, there’s a reasonable argument that with only a claimed 30 per cent commonality between the Porsche Macan and the Audi Q5 that excludes the petrol engines, all body panels and glass, suspension components, interior and pretty much anything the customer and touch and see, you’re getting quite a bit of Porsche for the money.
The same goes for the rest of the range, starting with the $84,900 diesel that Porsche Australia believes will be the biggest selling model. It uses the same 3.0-litre Audi V6 fitted to the larger Porsche Cayenne but puts out an even meatier 190kW of power.
Then there’s the Porsche Macan S, which uses a smaller 250kW, 3.0-litre version of the Turbo’s all-new 3.6-litre petrol V6. At $87,200 it is also expected to attract new buyers to the brand and in fact, Porsche Australia reckons only five per cent of Porsche Macan sales will go towards buyers who might otherwise have considered a Porsche Cayenne.
That’s partly because of pricing, but also because the Porsche Macan is quite a different type of car despite its visual similarities. At 4681mm long, it’s a good 140mm shorter than its bigger brother and weighs a little less, even if the Turbo comes in at a not insubstantial 1925kg.
There are obvious Porsche styling cues such as the rounded headlamps, slatted air intakes and bulbous rear wheel arches, but with features such as a heavily sloping roof and tailgate and a wrap-over “clamshell” bonnet, the Porsche Macan has a tighter and tauter look than the Porsche Cayenne.
The idea is to give Porsche-style performance with five-seater practicality and the Porsche Macan does a pretty good job of that. There’s 500 litres of boot space, expandable to 1500 litres once the rear seats are folded flat although there’s no facility to do that from the cargo area.
Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch automated PDK gearbox is the only transmission choice, although all Porsche Macan models feature four-wheel-drive. It’s also Porsche’s own system, based on that found in the Porsche 911 Carrera 4 sports car that in normal circumstances sends drive to the rear wheels, but apportions torque forward when wheel slip is detected.
All three models come with conventional coil-sprung suspension, although the Turbo gets Porsche’s PASM electronically controlled dampers. Air suspension will be optional across the range, although there’s no word yet on how much extra it will cost. Like other options such as ceramic composite brake discs that are pricey options on the Porsche Cayenne, the air suspension is unlikely to come cheaply.
Despite performance figures that seem more in the supercar realm – the Turbo model fitted with optional launch control as part of the Sports Chrono package will hit 100km/h in a claimed 4.6 seconds from standstill – the Porsche Macan was also designed for off-road use.
To that end, there are features such as an off-road program for the combined 4WD, traction control and transmission systems, plus hill descent control. Short overhangs help provide descent approach and departure angles on steep hills, and the Porsche Macan’s ground clearance of 198mm can be increased to 230mm in vehicles with adjustable air suspension.
Fuel consumption is aided by features such as auto stop-start and active aerodynamics that close off cooling openings at speed but as could be expected, the almost two-tonne Turbo is no fuel-sipper, consuming a claimed average 9.2 litres per 100km, while producing 216g of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
The diesel variant does better at 6.3 L/100km and 164g/km, and still manages a decent turn of speed with 100km/h coming up in 6.3 seconds (or 6.1 with launch control).
Being the cheapest Porsche in 30 years will no doubt help the Porsche Macan take over the Cayenne’s crown as the best-selling model as well, but there’s more to this car than just a vaguely accessible price. Performance, the promise of better than average handling, the capacity to carry at least four passengers in comfort and more than a modicum of off road ability point to a car that’s deserving of the Porsche badge.