The 2015 Porsche Macan made its world debut at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, representing the German automakers first foray into the luxury compact SUV arena.
Porsche isn't the only one making moves in this segment; both Mercedes-Benz and Lincoln introduced similar models at the LA Auto Show this year with the GLA250 and MKC respectively, which means the Macan steps into a loaded battleground from the outset.
Porsche has worked hard to prove its credentials as a maker of more than just sports cars; it wasn't all that long ago that they received raised eyebrows and worse when they announced plans to first build an SUV (the Cayenne) and then a luxury, grand touring sedan (the Panamera). The Macan won't inspire the same level of vitriol from Porsche enthusiasts, partly because the Macan looks like a mini-Cayenne in many respects, but also because they have proven their mettle in other segments without distilling their sports car offerings.
And at first glance, it seems that they have succeeded. The 2015 Macan stands out from the competition on both the spec sheet and in the skin. Porsche announced two models will be available at the Macan's spring 2014 launch: the Macan S and the Macan Turbo. A diesel model is offered in foreign markets, but there was no word on its future availability here in the states.
Don't let the names fool you; both the Macan S and the Macan Turbo benefit from the use of forced induction. Macan S models get a 340-hp, bi-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 339 pound-feet of torque, while the Macan Turbo gets a more powerful, 400-hp, bi-turbo 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 406 pounds-feet of torque. Both models come standard with Porsche's excellent seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox and active all-wheel drive.
The Macan S makes the run from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds, which shrinks to 5.0 seconds with the addition of the available Sport Chrono Package which adds launch control. Launch control. In a compact SUV. Weird world sometimes. The Macan Turbo does the 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, or 4.4 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package.
Off-road, the Macan benefits from a standard off-road button that can be triggered at speeds of less than 50 mph, retuning shift points and adding torque to the front wheels for better traction. Porsche is also offering the Macan with an optional air suspension, which can raise the Macan to give it extra ground clearance over rough terrain (up to 9.06 inches).
Inside, the 2015 Macan offers a well-appointed cabin with all of the expected features present. A 4.8-inch screen in the instrument panel relays vehicle information to the driver, with a larger 7-inch touchscreen in the center console to control audio/navigation (if equipped) functions. Like all Porsche models, there's a long list of available tweaks and options, at a cost of course. The layout is similar (again) to the one found in the Cayenne, which has an excellent cabin in its own right.
Many vehicles in this segment suffer from a space problem, particularly in the backseat. The Macan doesn't have a ton of rear legroom, although the rear floor is lower so it presents less of an issue. Porsche did do something smart to alleviate the feeling of claustrophobia for rear seat passengers that we would like to see become more widespread. Their panoramic moonroof subtly contours upward in the middle, so backseat passengers benefit from plenty of open air in front of them, leading to a feeling of space. The Mercedes GLA250 does the opposite; they opt for a double moonroof setup which leaves a large bar right in front of the heads of backseat passengers, impeding their forward view and making things feel cramped.
The Macan S will start at $49,900 and the Macan Turbo at $72,300 when they roll to dealerships in Spring 2014.