When a young footballer makes his debut, the crowd can make a very quick judgment on the boy’s future. Is he a potential Lionel Messi or is he destined to be released to a lower division club?
If you’re lucky enough to be at the match and see for yourself a 16-year old local lad making a man of the match performance, the hairs on the back of your neck will tingle and you’ll tell your mates to remember his name. I was sat in the crowd when a young Wayne Rooney scored at Goodison Park for Everton against Arsenal. That night the fans knew there was a very bright future for the scouser and Evertonian. Today I’m giving you a new name, not a footballer, but a name that will be talked about for years - Porsche Macan.
Automobile manufacturers are targeting the compact SUV market because it holds 1.2 million car sales over the next few years. It will be the fastest growing segment in automobile history and Porsche hope the Macan will set the standard.
Sure, there are already players: Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes GLK, but the Porsche Macan is the Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney. Porsche have dubbed the Macan ‘The first sportscar in the compact SUV Segment’.
I’ve been over to Germany to witness prototype Macans on the test track and they look very impressive. Porsche are investing 500 million Euros into extending their Liepzig plant to build 50,000 units of the Macan every year (at optimal peak) - they believe in this kid.
According to its figures the Macan is weaving in and out of its competitors and leaving then behind with powerful yet efficient engines (6.1 litres/100km to 9.2 litres/100kms) while Porsche VarioCam Plus allows the engine to almost read the road ahead and adjust its power output with spontaneous power when needed or efficient smooth cruising. Porsche Traction Management, all-wheel drive, a clutch whose mapping is seriously scientific and PDK (double-clutch) all come as standard. The chassis has been developed purely for speed and steering and is derived from 911 technology.
Available in two V6 petrol models - Macan S (340-hp) and Turbo (400-hp) both have a list of optional extras, including ‘Hang On’ AWD borrowed off the 911s where rear wheels send power to front wheels up to 100% if needed. Also, air suspension is optional where the normal mode is actually 15mm lower if this option is paid for and height is adjusted to level the car depending on road conditions, improving ride comfort. The car can also be lowered or raised by 40mm to help with loading in the rear.
PTV Plus (Porsche Torque Vectoring) is computer speak for a variable standard torque split at the rear wheels and electric diff lock or, more simply, computer braking on the inside rear wheel to help with steering precision - like four wheels turning. Added to the effect is electromechanical steering - a first in any Porsche SUV.
Visually the Macan is very similar to a lot of compact SUVs, especially the Infiniti Ex and shares bits with the groups Q5. Macan will accommodate four adults perfectly well and still have room in the boot. Interiors are taken for granted, leather and comfort with plenty of refinement.
Thanks to the Porsche badge, the selling point and star asset is in its heritage. You know how this car is going to drive because Porsche have been making great cars for generations. I managed a little run out in the car and to be honest I feel it has been over developed (not a negative, just unnecessary). I took the car off road, going up sheer steep embankments and, with the hill decent on, coming back down them effortlessly and with ample clearance. Over developed I feel because who is going off roading in this car? I also threw it around bends, tyres squealing and rubber gripping - who’s going to be doing that in a compact SUV? The balance of the car at speed is frighteningly good, cresting hills with sharp bends - can’t see anyone doing that either. The Macan has the agility of a lightweight boxer.
The target market for the car is 20-something professionals, maybe with a kid in the back, entering the Porsche family probably for the first time (prices from $70,000). They are not going to be petrol heads driving like they stole it. This is a car to be proud of, to be kept clean, to pull up at 5-star hotels - not pimped up with One D blaring out.
The reason it will be world champ is because winners take practice and dedication and the Porsche Macan’s career path will be littered with spotlights, awards and serious demand to see it perform. And remember, the Cayenne accounts for half of all Porsches sold - and they said Porsche should never build a 4x4!