It has been conceived to appeal to both dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts and family car buyers and will be a key part of Porsche’s plans to pass 200,000 annual sales.
The initial line-up, due to arrive in the UK next April, consists of the trio of highly specified six-cylinder models. The £59,300 Macan Turbo, £43,300 Macan S and £43,300 Macan Diesel S all feature a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and permanent four-wheel drive as standard.
In a move crucial to its existence, the Macan is based around the same platform as the Audi Q5. The two share a similar high-strength steel floorpan, bulkheads and body structure, together with various driveline, chassis and electrical components. However, the Macan will be built in Porsche’s Leipzig factory, separately from the Q5.
Read Autocar's first ride in the new Porsche Macan 4x4
Drawing inspiration from the second-generation Cayenne, the Macan has an aggressive appearance fully reflecting its positioning as a sporting rival for the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Range Rover Evoque. The design and detailing brings a family look to Porsche’s SUV line-up — something Porsche says was driven by feedback gained in early styling clinics for the new model.
At 4699mm in length, 1923mm in width and 1624mm in height, the Macan is 146mm shorter, 16mm narrower and 82mm lower than the second-generation Cayenne, itself due to receive a mid-life facelift next year. Compared with the Q5, the Macan is 70mm longer, 24mm wider and 30mm lower.
Double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension feature with variable damping control and an electro-mechanical steering system. Air suspension is optional.
The original Audi set-up has been optimised with tracks that are up by 35mm in width at the front and 36mm at the rear, along with unique suspension components and revised geometry and software to provide the Macan with what Porsche describes as “the most agile handling in its class”.
A kerb weight of 1865kg for the Macan S makes it 200kg lighter than the Cayenne S, while the Macan Turbo tips the scales at 245kg less than the Cayenne Turbo, at 1925kg.
The Macan, whose name is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger, will be launched in the UK with the choice of three V6 engines: two in-house direct-injection petrol units and a single Audi-sourced turbodiesel. Porsche has fitted the petrol units with an exhaust flap that is claimed to provide them with what it describes as “robust acoustic qualities”.
The most powerful engine is the newly developed twin-turbo 3.6-litre V6 in the Macan Turbo. It develops 394bhp at 6000rpm and 405lb ft at 1350-4500rpm to give the initial range-topper a 0-62mph time of 4.8sec (or 4.6sec with an optional Sport Chrono pack) and a 165mph top speed.
Below it is the mid-range Macan S. It runs a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 with 335bhp at 6500rpm and 339lb ft at 1450-5000rpm. Porsche claims 0-62mph in 5.4sec (or 5.2sec with the Sport Chrono pack) and a 158mph top speed.
Also available from launch is a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel in the Macan Diesel S. It produces 254bhp at 4250rpm and 427lb ft from 1750-2500rpm. This is sufficient for 0-62mph in 6.3sec (6.1sec with the Sport Chrono pack) and a 143mph top speed, along with a claimed 46.3mpg combined and 159g/km of CO2 emissions.
Further engines are planned in 2015, including a turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit with 280bhp in the future base Macan. Also set for introduction is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel in a price-leading Macan Diesel. These will be the first four-cylinder Porsches since the 968 of 1995.
In a weight-saving move, the Macan eschews the mechanical Torsen torque-sensing four-wheel drive system used by the Q5 in favour of an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch arrangement engineered by Porsche for a rear-biased drive, although up to 100 per cent of drive can go to the front wheels if conditions demand it. An off-road mode also features.
Nothing is official yet, but in tests the Macan Turbo is said to have lapped the Nürburgring in the low eight-minute bracket, placing it on a par with performance cars such as the outgoing BMW M3.
Read more 2013 LA motor show news.