Spied: Porsche Macan

WHAT: A new all-wheel-drive crossover that’ll take Porsche into a fresh automotive category. Think of this as the baby Cayenne, similarly positioned as the driving-enthusiasts’ choice, but in a compact instead of a midsize package. Wearing familiar Porsche-SUV styling (though the headlamps here are disguised with decals), Macan will compete with the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Range Rover Evoque. It’ll also tussle with the Audi Q5, though it’ll be a family feud. Macan is based on the underskin design of Q5; Porsche and Audi are both branches Volkswagen. A wider body, lower roofline, and racier interior will help position Macan as the sportier cousin, though. So will its powertrains: look for a choice of 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6s, with 340 horsepower in the S model, 400 in the Macan Turbo.

WHEN: Macan goes on sale in late 2014 as a 2015 model.

WHY: Porsche purists blanched with the model-year 2003 introduction of the German sport-car maker’s first SUV, the Cayenne. It quickly became the brand’s best-selling vehicle – nearly outselling all Porsche cars combined. Macan is an entry in premium strata of one of the fastest growing automotive segments, compact crossovers, and Porsche is banking on a repeat of Cayenne’s success, at even higher volumes. In fact, it’s confident Macan will easily become its most popular vehicle, establishing a profit foundation that’ll allow it to keep building those pure 911, Boxster, and Cayman sports cars.

HOW MUCH: With Cayenne base prices in the $51,000-$146,000 range, look for the Macan S to start in the low-to-mid $40,000s, with the Turbo coming in around $70,000. Of course, both will be available with Porsche’s legendarily long list of tempting extra-cost features, so Macan stickers – pushed by first-on-your-block demand — could easily climb by $10,000 or more.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]