SPY PICS: Porsche’s new baby SUV ready to hatch

words - Marton Pettendy
Lightly disguised images of all-new Porsche Macan leave little to the imagination
Here are the sharpest, most revealing spy shots yet taken of Porsche’s all-new baby SUV, which will make its world debut at the Los Angeles motor show this November.

Production of the Macan at Leipzig is believed to be on target for October – a month after Porsche starts building the 918 Spider super-hybrid – ahead of the global media launch in February.

However, despite a starting price likely to be similar to many larger luxury SUVs like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class – and well above the Q5 with which it will share its platform – the Macan will be more popular per capita in Australia than even the 911.

Though the Macan is unlikely to be considerably cheaper than the Cayenne, which is currently priced from $109,400, a starting price of around $80,000 will see it supersede the Boxster (from $107,000) as Porsche’s most affordable model in SUV-mad Australia.

Given the bigger and more expensive Cayenne accounted for more than 60 per cent of Porsche Cars Australia volume last year, with 857 of 1373 sales, expect the Macan to push local Porsche sales to well beyond 2000 in 2014, when it will become the iconic German sportscar brand’s top-selling model here.

As evidenced by these crisp new Carparazzi spy shots, taken during cold-weather testing in Northern Hemisphere winter, Porsche’s direct response to Range Rover’s fast-selling Evoque is in the final stages of development.

Cleverly positioned appendages still cover the front and rear quarter panels and tailgate of this pre-production model, disguising the actual shape of the headlights and tail-lights, while engineers have even extended the rear side window by drawing a fake C-pillar line in an attempt to make it look like the larger Cayenne.

But shot against the white snow, the more compact proportions, heavily sloped rear roofline and far rounder – almost hatchback-like – rear-end of this jet-black Macan prototype are unmistakable.

Although there are many similarities with the Cayenne, which also offers seating for just five, look closer and you’ll see other key details like the longer front and rear overhangs, creaseless bonnet and larger central grille.

Expect the Macan to measure about 4600mm long, 1890mm wide and 1650mm high, making it around 200mm shorter, 50mm narrower and 40mm lower than the Cayenne.

There is no sign yet of the three-door version that is expect to follow the mainstream five-door on sale next year, but we suspect it will look even more coupe-like than the wagon.

Indeed, while the coupe derivative and pricing look to be the biggest differentiators between Macan and Cayenne, bespoke sheetmetal and a sportier chassis tune are likely to be what most separates Macan from Q5.

The Q5 has just received a midlife makeover so the replacement for Australia’s top-selling luxury SUV won’t appear until a couple of years into the Macan’s model cycle, but when it does both models will share an updated version of the current Q5's longitudinal-engined MLB platform.

To justify the Macan’s higher pricetag (Q5 pricing currently starts a $62,200), the Macan is also likely to offer higher-performance versions of the Audi’s 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and, perhaps, turbo-diesel engines, making it Porsche’s first four-cylinder model since the 968 was phased out in 1995.

The Q5’s six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are also expected to be beefed up for the Macan, which should out-perform even the SQ5’s 230kW/650Nm twin-turbo diesel (for the Macan Diesel S) and, for the range-topping Macan Turbo, 260kW/470Nm supercharged petrol V6 engines. A Macan Hybrid is also on the cards.

Expect the Macan to also offer the Volkswagen Group’s latest infotainment and safety technologies, including radar-based cruise control, as evidenced by these latest spy shots.

– with Carparazzi

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Published : Thursday, 17 January 2013
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