Expected to become the automaker’s best selling model just as surely as brand purists decry it as another example of the company abandoning its sports car roots, Porsche introduced the brand’s first compact CUV, the Macan, the firm’s fifth distinct model. The little crossover will compete with vehicles like the Range Rover Evoque.
Initial production will be 50,000 units a year and it shares a platform with fellow VW Group brand Audi’s Q5. Positioned below the larger, more expensive Cayenne, the Macan will come in three versions, two gasoline powered and one diesel. The base Macan S has a 340 hp 3.0 liter twin turbo V6, the Macan S Diesel has a 258 hp 3 liter V6 oil burner, and the top of the line Macan Turbo with another bi-turbo gasoline engine, this one a 400 hp, 3. 6 liter V6, the first application of this particular engine. All models come with all wheel drive and a seven speed dual clutch transmission. Suspension is with a five-link front end and a rear trapezoidal link design, available in three grades.
Prices in Germany start at 57,930 euros ($78,190) for the Macan S and Macan S Diesel and 79,826 euros for the Macan Turbo. The Macan will hit dealer showrooms dealers on April 5.
It’s likely that the Macan and Cayenne will eventually make up more than half of Porsche’s sales. That’s a point of contention with sports car purists, but while Porsche sold just 1.6% of the cars the VW conglomerate sold through the first nine months of 2013, it accounted for 22% of the group’s operating profit, so don’t expect Porsche to abandon the product planning and path that has made it the most profitable car company on the planet.
Siegfried Buelow, head of the Leipzig plant, which will assemble the Macan and already makes the Panamera scoffs at the notion that Porsche has lost its way. When the Cayenne was introduced 11 years ago, Buelow said, ”there were calls back then that Porsche was diluting its profile. Today, we work three shifts a day and are struggling to keep up with demand.”