Porsche has confirmed it intends to produce the Macan, a small sport-utility based on the Audi Q5 platform that will be positioned beneath the larger Cayenne SUV. The Stuttgart-based automaker has provided a few details, including a production date of late-2013, and has released a concept drawing.
The image shows a sleek and compact 4-door sport-ute, with a low greenhouse, a front fascia similar to the one found on the current Cayenne, and modestly pronounced rear fenders. Exaggerated wheels are common to these drawings, and that holds true with the Macan. Don't count on the production model wearing anything like the mega wheels sketched into this drawing.
Eye of the Macan
While early speculation about the vehicle referred to it as the , the name was only a temporary tag, an eye-roll-inducing amalgamation of Cayenne and Junior. Porsche tells us the Macan name is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger. After similar odd-named German sport-utes like the VW Tiguan and Touareg, we can't wait to hear how the Macan name is pronounced in various parts of the U.S. and during upcoming auto shows.
Our spy photographers have caught the Porsche Macan undergoing winter testing. Wearing a crafty Audi body-shell, and parked between a pair of Cayennes, these prototypes offer a few tantalizing details. The two test cars appear to sit lower than the Q5, and seem to have a slightly wider stance than the Audi.
A close-up photo of the front grille shows two pipes running to either side of the engine bay. That hints at a possible twin-turbo arrangement – a powertrain definitely not offered in the Q5.
While it's been expected for some time that the smaller Porsche will be based on the architecture of its corporate sibling, there have been few indications about specific drivetrains.
Like the Cayenne, which shares a platform and certain engines with the VW Touareg, some mechanical overlap appears likely (at least with base models).
Four and Six-Cylinders
Expect the Macan to be offered with a version of the Q5's 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and the direct-injection 3.2-liter V-6, both upgraded from their current horsepower of 211 and 270 respectively. Judging from the plumbing fitted to these test mules, we wouldn't be surprised by a range-topping turbocharged V-6 with somewhere in the region of 350-400 bhp.
A hybrid version seems likely, as does a diesel variant – though the latter might only be offered in European markets. Audi's highly regarded Quattro system with typical Porsche tweaks – such as a bias towards sending more power to the rear wheels – is likely to be standard across the range. An 8-speed automatic transmission equipped with paddle-shifters mounted on the steering wheel is also probable. In a promotional video released by Porsche, the driver can be seen changing gears via paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.
Investment and Competition
The Macan promises to be a hugely important addition to the Porsche lineup. Introduced approximately 10 years ago, the Cayenne SUV has become the brand's best-selling vehicle. Porsche will be investing $655 million to upgrade the Leipzig factory that now builds Cayennes and Panameras to include the Macan. This is the same factory in which the Carrera GT supercar was assembled.
Production will begin in 2013, though U.S. sales of the Macan might not start until early 2014. Speculation suggests Porsche might offer a 2-door version, similar to the 2 and 4-door format offered in the Range Rover Evoque. Pricing has not been revealed, though the Macan will likely be a considerable step up from the $36,000 to $44,000 price range of the current Audi Q5.