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2015 Porsche Macan

By Tony Swan

On Sale: May 2014
Expected Pricing: $49,900 to $72,300

Porsche unveiled the much-anticipated Macan SUV at November's LA Auto Show, an unveiling that produced generally positive responses, followed a few days later by widespread surprise when it became clear that the company was raising the ante in more ways than one.

While Porsche Macan's Los Angeles debut presentation was well attended to the point of overflow, it contained few if any surprises. When the new five-passenger SUV rolls into showrooms next year as a 2015 model, we anticipate it will be the sportiest and fastest vehicle in its class, "the first compact SUV that is also a sports car," according to Porsche.

That's been Porsche's approach as the company has broadened its range offerings, bringing Porsche performance virtues to vehicles new to the company, and the Macan promises to be consistent with that ethic.

Porsche Macan shares architectural elements with the Audi Q5, as well as the same basic suspension system: multilinks front and rear, though the tuning differs and the Porsche offers the option of auto-adjusting shock absorbers in the form of Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). There's also a pneumatic system that allows the suspension to be adjusted to three different levels of ride height, as well lowered two inches below normal to facilitate loading.

Macan will also offer the option of torque vectoring, which apportions power from side to side at the rear axle depending on traction. And pressing the dashboard Sport button will alter throttle and transmission shift mapping, as well as more aggressive suspension tuning on PASM-equipped models.

At 184.3 inches, the Porsche Macan is 2.1 inches longer than the Audi Q5, on a wheelbase (110.5 inches) stretched by a modest 0.2 inches. It's also a smidge lower and an inch wider (75.7 inches). Q5 similarities, such as they are, end with the structure. There is no shared sheetmetal. Visually a scaled down version of Porsche's Cayenne SUV, the Macan's sloping tailgate, flared fenders, muscular haunches, and wide track (65.2 inches front, 65.0 inches rear) suggest power and purpose.

Power will be plentiful. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 propelling the basic (a term we use advisedly) Macan S is rated for 340 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque from 1500 to 5000 rpm, a veritable plateau. Porsche predicts 0-to-100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 5.4 seconds. If that's not quick enough, the 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 in the uplevel Macan Turbo generates 400 horsepower at 6000 rpm, and will achieve 62 mph in 4.8 seconds. Opting for the $1290 Chrono system, which includes launch control, will knock a couple tenths off acceleration numbers for both models, according to Porsche.

Both engines are mated to Porsche's PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission, and all Macans will come equipped with all-wheel drive.

A 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine will join the powertrain inventory at some later date, but at launch the engine options will be the two gasoline turbos.

Porsche has not yet finalized U.S. fuel economy projections for the Macan. On the European cycle, Macan S is rated for a range of 20.3 to 20.8 mpg in urban traffic and 30.9 to 32.2 on the highway. The Macan Turbo is forecast to achieve 19.9 to 20.5 city, 30.2 to 31.4 highway.

There are no surprises inside the Macan. The beautifully appointed interior is overtly sporty, with a set of bucket seats that are just this side of raceworthy, and a center dash with multiple buttons and knobs rather than the touch screens so common elsewhere.

But prospective buyers are likely to be startled by the Macan's window stickers. According to Porsche, Macan S will start at $49,900 MSRP, about the same as an Audi SQ5, which offers comparable performance. Macan Turbo will retail for $72,300. That's more than the price of the bigger Cayenne. Add $995 destination charge to those figures.

Porsche has never been shy about option prices, and that's true here. Adding a premium audio system to the Macan S, for example, will set you back about $5700. A set of 21-inch wheels (18-inch alloys standard) will cost $3300. Leather upholstery: $3470. Panoramic moonroof: $1670.

Basically, the lower end of the Macan price ladder overlaps the upper end of all its competitors: Audi Q5 and SQ5, BMW X3, Lexus RX 350, Mercedes GLK, and Range Rover Evoque. So the Macan raises the ante for this class in more ways than one. We expect it to be exactly what Porsche proclaims: the sports car of compact SUVs. But if you want to wear a superior smile as you guide your Macan Turbo past the lesser machines out there, be prepared to pay.

Porsche Macan is expected to begin arriving at Porsche dealerships May 2014.


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