What's New for 2014
The 2014 Porsche Macan will be an all-new performance-themed small luxury crossover SUV.
Prepare for more rhetoric between Traditionalist and Modernist with the looming launch of the 2014 Porsche Macan. The "baby Cayenne" has already reignited the debate about the qualities that make a true Porsche. Traditionalists maintain that SUVs (Cayenne) and four-door "coupes" (Panamera) dilute the brand identity. The Modernists, meanwhile, do their talking at the dealership, where the Cayenne and Panamera combined account for the bulk of Porsche sales.
Whether that's a good or bad thing largely depends on when you came through the door. But even the most hardened 911 purist will grumpily admit that the Cayenne and Panamera connect to the road as true as anything else that wears the shield. That they are practical for families and active lifestylers is simply a bonus.
Porsche hasn't divulged much about its new small crossover. We know that its name -- pronounced "ma-chan" -- is an Indonesian word for tiger, and replaces the development code name "Cajun" (supposedly for CAyenne JUNior, and not necessarily out of deference for some of Louisiana's earliest settlers). We know it will be built off the Audi Q5 platform, alongside the Cayenne at a German factory undergoing an expensive upgrade and expansion.
We expect Porsche to offer a pair of new 3.0-liter V6 engines, including a naturally aspirated mill making 290 horsepower, and a 350-hp twin-turbo edition. Porsche's seven-speed PDK automated dual-clutch manual will likely be the only available transmission. Faced with increasingly rigorous fuel-efficiency standards, Porsche's forthcoming turbo four-cylinder is probably destined for a Macan base option at some point, but not likely in time for the launch.
Does Porsche really need a small crossover? The company's Volkswagen parent thinks so, convinced that a growing product portfolio is the best path to global profitability. And a niche might exist for a performance-themed small luxury crossover SUV such as the Macan, as the segment's current leaders -- the Q5, the BMW X3, the Cadillac SRX, the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class and the Volvo XC60 -- don't stray much beyond practical.
The Macan is due in the fall of 2013. Look for a full review of the 2014 Porsche Macan, including driving impressions, specs and buying advice as it becomes available.