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Future models - Porsche - Cajun

First look: Porsche Macan a more compact crossover

Macan hay while sun shines: Porsche will launch its all-new Audi Q5-based mid-size luxury SUV in about a year.

Porsche reveals name and first official sketch of Cayenne’s impending baby brother

Porsche logo17 Feb 2012

By MARTON PETTENDY

PORSCHE has revealed the first official image of its all-new compact crossover, which was being developed under the working title ‘Cajun’ - as in Cayenne Junior – but has now been formally christened the Macan.

This sketch of the German sportscar maker’s first mid-size luxury SUV shows Porsche’s fifth model line will be significantly sleeker than the similarly sized Q5 from sister VW company Audi, upon which it will be based.

Due to enter production in Germany next year – and to reach Australia by early 2014 – the Macan also appears to feature a lower roof, narrower glass area and shorter overhangs than Porsche’s own Cayenne, which last year accounted for 60 per cent all Porsche sales here.

The Macan will therefore almost certainly supersede the larger but still five-seat Cayenne as the Zuffenhausen brand’s top-selling model here, where luxury SUV sales grew more than any other vehicle type last year, and where $60,000-plus mid-size SUVs attracted the most sales growth of all.

Released here in March 2009, the Q5 comprised a dominant 35.6 per cent of the premium medium SUV segment in 2011, when sales spiked by almost 20 per cent to 2800 sales, placing it second only to Jeep’s new Grand Cherokee among all luxury SUVs – including BMW’s evergreen X5 and its most direct rival, the all-new X3.

Porsche Cars Australia is quietly confident the Macan will also be a hit in Australia’s booming SUV sector, where it will be priced between the Q5 (from $63,400) and Cayenne (from $107,700), potentially from around $75,000.

That will make it pricier than Range Rover's new Evoque, which costs between $50,000 and almost $80,000 but opens with a 2.0-litre petrol-powered front-wheel drive variant.

Like the Evoque, however, the Macan will be produced in both sporty three-door 'coupe' and conventional five-door wagon (as seen in the sketch) body styles, powered by a mix of Porsche-tuned Audi petrol and diesel engines.

As with BMW's upcoming 3 Series-based X4 coupe-SUV (and Porsche's own Cayenne), the Macan is also expected to spawn a petrol-electric Hybrid eco-variant and a twin-turbo V6-equipped Macan Turbo performance leader.

“Porsche Cars Australia is looking forward to the arrival of the new Macan in 2014,” said public relations manager Paul Ellis. “It will be a very sporty compact SUV with sportscar-like dynamics and design.”

Global sales and marketing chief Bernhard Maier also stressed the Porsche-ness of the Macan - derived from the Indonesian word for tiger - when he announced the nameplate of the brand’s “new sportscar in the SUV segment” this week.

“The Macan combines all sportscar characteristics with the benefits of an SUV and is a genuine Porsche,” he said.

“The name of a new Porsche has to fit with the brand, sound good in very many languages and dialects and evoke positive associations.”

According to Porsche, the ‘Macan’ nameplate conveys the core characteristic of its new all-terrain model - suppleness, power, fascination and dynamics – in the same way the Boxster name combines the words ‘boxer’ (engine) and ‘roadster’, Cayenne stands for ‘sharpness’, Cayman “is snappy and agile” and the Panamera is a grand tourer “capable of also of winning the Carrera Panamericana long-distance race”.

Speculation of a sub-Cayenne crossover dates back to 2007, when Porsche registered the ‘Roxster’ trademark.

Porsche confirmed in November 2010 that it will produce the Macan alongside the Cayenne and Panamera at its Leipzig plant in Germany’s Saxon region from 2013.

The Macan is expected to beat to market the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar, which will become Porsche’s sixth model line after the 911, Boxster/Cayman, Cayenne, Panamera and Macan when it enters limited (and left-hand drive-only) production in September 2013.

In preparation, Porsche will spend 500 million euro ($A611m) to transform the plant into a fully fledged production facility, including a body assembly line and paint shop, creating 1000 jobs in the medium terms and representing one of the biggest building projects in the history of Porsche.

Porsche expects the Macan, which should emerge at a global motor show by the end of this year – possibly the Paris show in September - to play a pivotal role in its plan to double annual global sales to 200,000 within the next seven years.

The Macan could account for a quarter of that, with Porsche reportedly planning to build some 50,000 examples per annum.

“As a new addition to the Porsche model range, the Macan is a key pillar of the company’s Strategy 2018, by which the sportscar manufacturer wishes to expand its model portfolio. Porsche intends the Macan to emulate the success of the Cayenne,” it said.

Strategy 2018 was to have included the release of a new model every year until then, but as we reported earlier this month Porsche has for now shelved plans to produce an all-new mid-engined compact roadster, dubbed the 550 and based on Volkswagen’s 2009 BlueSport concept, in 2014.

The world’s most profitable car manufacturer last year sold more than 100,000 vehicles for the first time and says it will achieve its mid-term goal of 150,000 annual sales by 2015 ahead of time.

Porsche’s redesigned 911 coupe arrives Down Under next week and will be followed this year by the all-new 911 Cabriolet, a new-generation Boxster convertible and redesigned Cayman coupe.

Apart from rolling at least 22 derivatives of its latest 911, Porsche is expected to produce its first direct rival for Ferrari’s volume coupe, the 458 Italia, by creating a circa-$500,000 super-coupe to slot between the 911 range and the million-dollar 918.

A mild-hybrid version of the 911 and a plug-in hybrid Panamera are also on the Porsche agenda.

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