Just over 10 years since Porsche defied convention and released their first ever SUV they have given purists yet another reason to fret with the release of the Macan, a small crossover with even more of a sporting edge, albeit with relatively small engines. Very much a scaled down version of the larger Cayenne, the Macan was known as the ‘Cajun’ for much of it’s development – I thought because it was a pepper (as with the Cayenne) but was apparently down the it being a ‘CAyenne JUNior’. For whatever reason they have instead chosen Macan (pronounced Ma-shan) which is the Indonesian word for tiger…kinda cool but yet another name from the VAG stable that is difficult to pronounce, although I guess we should be thankful they havn’t gone all alphanumeric on us…well nicely excluding the 911 and new 918!!!
The exterior of the Macan has been one of the worst kept secrets in the auto-industry and the final result whilst not a shocker, has at least been received a lot more positively than the original Cayenne was. The car is based on the same platform as the current Audi Q5 and as such is relatively compact, although at 4.7m it is only 8cm shorter than the original Cayenne (and 14cm than the current one). Although I am a fan of more truck-ish designs I can appreciate the sleeker design of cars like the two Porsches…admittedly I prefer the larger size of the Cayenne but the Macan has a more affable face to it and much more interesting tail lights so combined with it’s lower entry price I am sure it will become a massive seller for Porsche. Inside continues the design trend seen on the marque’s other models and for the majority of buyers this will be a massive plus point; it is quite button heavy on the centre console and lacks a central controller like some other premium badge, but the overall impression seems to be very sport focused and classy…maybe not something traditionalists want from an SUV but nevertheless a good effort.
I havn’t seen any reviews from journalists who have driven the Macan yet, but those who have had rides as a passenger seem to suggest that the car handles fantastically and does not ride too badly either with optional air suspension. I am sure that Porsche would not have settled for anything less than perfection on the road so that isn’t a surprise, plus the Q5 is no slouch in the corners so they had a decent starting point anyway. There is an optional Sport Chrono pack which adds even sharper responses from both steering and engine, plus I am sure there will be loads of electrical wizardry that Porsche will add to your Macan (for a hefty fee no doubt). The launch line up engines will all be 6 cylinders; the Audi sourced 254bhp 3.0 V6 ‘S’ diesel is the current entry level engine and will probably be the volume seller at £43.3k (plus options!). That same price will get the petrol powered ‘S’ with a turbocharged 335bhp 3.0 V6…probably not a popular option in the UK but nevertheless it will be quick and offer reasonable mpg for a petrol model (I’d guess 30mpg vs the 43mpg quoted for the diesel). Range topping Turbo models get a 3.6 V6 petrol with 394 from it’s twin turbo engine…the Turbo will cost £16k more than the other 2 models at a pricey £59.3k, and with options many will undoubtedly stray close to £70k easily. I am actually quite surprised that the Macan is priced quite so highly considering that the Cayenne currently starts £47.3k for the diesel version, but I presume that the Cayenne’s price will climb with it’s upcoming facelift. The Macan range will also gain 2 smaller engines at the bottom of the range (a 2 litre petrol and diesel) which will command lower prices, I’d guess around £37k for the diesel at the very least, which is still expensive compared to a similar Q5.
It’s this ambitious pricing that makes me question the overwhelming success that people are predicting for the Macan…I mean I am sure that it will sell very well whatever the price tag but to me it is uncomfortably close to the Cayenne in terms of price and dimensions – especially as the Cayenne does not feature 7 seats. Whilst this could mean that the Cayenne’s sales suffer (and they probably will a bit), if people are buying a car on finance or a lease then the difference of £70 a month or so might not be enough for them to choose the smaller model, which might have a little less prestige on the school run. But what am I to know? The Evoque has done fantastically well for JLR and this market segment continues to expand rapidly regardless of fuel prices or economic conditions. Also the Macan’s performance levels will probably be on a par with more expensive Cayennes/rivals; the Cayenne S starts at £59k and the Turbo version is a massive £89k – £30k more than the equally as quick Macan Turbo! Plus 3.0 diesel versions of Q5 and X3 rivals start north of £40k anyway, so I may well be wrong…it remains to be seen!
I prefer larger vehicles so it’s unlikely I’d ever have a strong desire to own a Macan, but if I do end up becoming a Porsche owner it will be interesting to see if many recognise I am driving the predecessor to this new car!