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Price-leading Porsche Macan conquest car arrives

Hot property: The Porsche Macan will help Porsche Cars Australia grow its local sales to a hitherto unseen level.

Porsche Cars Australia launches all-new Macan SUV this week with 600 pre-orders

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27 May 2014

PORSCHE Cars Australia (PCA) has taken a remarkable 600 ‘money down’ pre-orders on its new range-opening Macan compact SUV ahead of this week’s official launch, about 70 per cent of whom are first-timers to the brand.

The launch this week of its long-awaited second SUV line after the larger Cayenne marks not just a new entry point of $84,900 plus on-road costs for Porsche in Australia, but also the next phase of its steady move up the sales charts as it continues to branch away from niche sportscars.

This ravenous early demand also means that three-quarters of Australia’s yearly allocation of about 800 cars has been spoken for, meaning a buyer looking to get a Macan into their driveway will be lucky to get behind the wheel before Christmas.

Longer term, the company expects the Macan to make a splash against the rival BMW X3 and Audi Q5 in 2015, projecting it could take up to 10 per cent of the sales in its segment with between 100 and 140 monthly deliveries, or between 1200 and 1680 units a year, supply permitting.

That said, with global Macan production near the German city of Leipzig pegged this year to 50,000 units (out of a complete range-wide total of 200,000) and growing to about 70,000 in coming years, Australia’s piece of the pie will be limited and the Cayenne is expected to remain the brand’s top-seller – at least for now.

For the sake of comparison, Porsche sold 1120 Cayennes last year, up 30.7 per cent, and is on track to deliver about 1500 units this year based on its 32.2 per cent growth to the end of April.

Speaking with GoAuto this week, PCA managing director Sam Curtis – three months into his tenure after joining from the retail side of Mercedes-Benz – said the company expected little cross-over between the two SUVs, with the overwhelming majority of Macans to add incremental growth rather than tempting away prospective Cayenne owners.

Conversely, the restrictions on Macan supply are in fact expected to drive Cayenne sales, if those people unwilling to wait for the smaller SUV are amenable to being steered into the larger model, which operates under a much smaller waiting time.

All told, PCA is on track to smash its Australian sales record in 2014. The company delivered 1905 units last year, but is up 35.3 per cent in 2014, and has around 800 incremental Macan sales to throw into the mix as well.

The sales breakdown last year was: Cayenne (1120), 911 (276), Boxster (249), Cayman (179) and Panamera (81).

But Mr Curtis said this week that the company was not about “growing for growing’s sake”, and reiterated the internal company motto to build one less car than demand requires. For Porsche, relative exclusivity is too valuable to sacrifice.

Interestingly, despite the sharp value equation – prices kick off at $84,900 for the S diesel, $87,200 for the S petrol and $122,900 for the Turbo – Porsche’ s local arm is also keen to emphasise the car’s sporty attributes rather than continuing to promote the bottom line figure.

“With the new Macan, for the first time you can get a petrol (Porsche) for under $100,000,” said Mr Curtis.

“So the question for us was, do we go out with that message? Is that the launch message? Is that the retail message? But we haven’t gone out with that. It’s not about price, it’s about brand.” Mr Curtis said the company had considered launching with a driveaway campaign, but subsequently opted against such a move.

Among the 600 pre-orders, PCA says a solid 21 per cent of demand had been for the flagship Turbo, 46 per cent of buyers had opted for the range-opening diesel and the remaining 33 per cent had ordered the S petrol.

Though loosely based on the Q5 from fellow VW Group member Audi, Porsche claims the Macan has about 70 per cent new or modified components. It is understood Porsche was directed to limit this to about 30 per cent instead, but put its foot down.

As reported, the range comprises a trio of biturbo V6 engines — two petrols and one diesel — matched to a PDK dual-clutch paddle-shift transmission sending power through a rear-axle-biased all-wheel-drive system.

It is the first time a Porsche model has been available with the PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) gearbox only. Fuel-saving idle-stop is integrated into the transmission, plus all versions regenerate energy during braking and on overrun.

Unlike the Cayenne, the Macan also gets fuel-saving electromechanical steering like the 911.

Kicking off the range is the Macan S, powered by a 250kW (between 5500 and 6500rpm) and 460Nm (between 1450 and 5000rpm) 3.0-litre biturbo V6 with an aluminium engine block and cylinder heads, capable of sending the 1865kg SUV from zero to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds.

The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 in the Macan S diesel is borrowed from the Cayenne but “enhanced”, and produces 190kW (between 4000 and 4250rpm) and 580Nm (between 1750 and 2500rpm). Porsche claims NEDC combined-cycle fuel consumption of 6.1 litres per 100km.

Sitting at the top of the model tree is the $122,900 Macan Turbo S, sporting a stroked version of the regular petrol version’s Zuffenhausen-produced biturbo V6 pumping out 294kW at 6000rpm and 550Nm of torque between 1350 and 4500rpm.

The 0-100km/h sprint is dispatched in a sportscar-like 4.8s despite the 1900kg-plus kerb weight, or 4.6s with the optional Sport Chrono package that tightens the chassis, transmission and throttle responses and adds a Launch Control system.

As reported, the circa-174kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder version revealed at the Beijing motor show last month for the Chinese market – the first model from the German sportscar brand to rely on just four cylinders since the 968 from the mid-1990s – is off the Australian radar.

The power is reined in by what Porsche calls the “most powerful braking system in the segment”, including 350mm front/330mm rear discs behind 19-inch alloys on the S models and 360mm front/356mm rear units behind 20-inch wheels on the Turbo.

A Multi-Collision Brake system also features, which brakes the car automatically a second time following a collision, to stop a repeat.

The Macan’s platform, and elements of its relatively low-slung body highlighted by the distinctive wraparound bonnet with hidden shutlines and integrated cut-outs for the headlights, use either super-high strength steel or aluminium (on the bonnet and rear lid).

Dimensions are as follows: 4681mm long, 1923mm wide and 1624mm high on a relatively long 2807mm wheelbase.

The cabin has echoes of Porsche’s coupes. A 4.8-inch screen with navigation sits in the driver’s instruments, while a seven-inch touchscreen dominates the central fascia. The base sound system has 11 speakers and 235 watts, though Bose or Burmester systems can be optioned at extra cost.

There is also a lower seating position and a small leather steering wheel with a steep incline to give a “sportscar feel”. All variants get leather seats (the Turbo’s front seats have 18-way electric adjustment), with a rear bench that flips 40:20:40, taking cargo space from 500 litres to 1500L.

Active and passive safety features – many as extra-cost options – include lane departure warning, a reversing camera, radar-guided cruise control and autonomous brakes. All Macans get dual-front, dual-side and curtain airbags.

There are three chassis tunes: the S and S diesel get standard steel-spring arrangements, with aluminium axles (five-link front, trapezoidal-link rear), while the Turbo comes with Porsche Active Suspension Management, a system that includes sensor-based active dampers with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes of varying firmness.

Also standard on the Turbo is class-first levelling air-suspension that sits 15mm lower at normal level, but also bumps maximum ground clearance to 230mm (an extra 32mm over normal) or lowers the rear 50mm below normal level to make loading cargo easier.

All versions also come with Porsche Traction Management, a rear-drive biased AWD system borrowed to a large degree from the 911 Carrera 4 that can send up to 100 per cent of torque to the front axle if necessary, via the electronic multi-plate clutch.

Porsche even says the system allows throttle-induced (lift-off) oversteer if the Sport Plus mode is engaged and the rear diff lock optioned (as part of a torque-vectoring system).

Meantime, the standard off-road setting can be activated at up to 80km/h, and adjusts the shift revolutions and speeds, as well as front/rear torque split ratio for low-grip terrain. Hill descent control is standard.

2014 Porsche Macan pricing*
Macan S Diesel (a) $84,900
Macan S (a) $87,200
Macan Turbo (a) $122,900
*Excluding on-road costs

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