For the Ma­can-do driver

The fifth and cheap­est Porsche model line is al­most here

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - PAUL GOVER CHIEF REPORTER

THE first Porsche for Gen­er­a­tion Next is ready to go.

It’s the Ma­can, a shrunk and sleeker Cayenne for younger sin­gles and fam­i­lies. Porsche says it still has true sports car DNA that can be traced to its en­dur­ing 911.

The good-look­ing Ma­can shares its ba­sic build­ing blocks with the Audi Q5, since they’re cousins in the Volk­swa­gen Group. But Porsche says 70 per cent of its new baby — en­gine, trans­mis­sion, torque vec­tor­ing, dampers, electrics and much of the cabin — is unique.

The big­gest change is the way the Ma­can per­forms.

“Noth­ing in the com­pact SUV sec­tor will match the Ma­can. The Ma­can is the sports car of its class,” com­pany chief Matthias Muller says.

“We don’t work for Porsche, we don’t just drive Porsches, we live them and drive them. And we don’t put that badge … on a car un­less it’s not just a great car but a great Porsche.”

The Ma­can ar­rives in Aus­tralia early in 2014 with a sub-$100,000 start­ing price and all sorts of prom­ises about bring­ing younger peo­ple, more women, and peo­ple new to Porsche, to its show­rooms. De­liv­er­ies start in June.

“We’ll an­nounce the price in a cou­ple of weeks,” Porsche spokesman Paul El­lis says. “It will be a price that peo­ple are not used to for a Porsche, but by no means does it mean this car is any­thing but a true Porsche.”

The Ma­can (In­done­sian for tiger, pro­nounced Ma-karn) is the fifth model in the Porsche range and the com­pany in­tends build­ing 50,000 a year at its Leipzig fac­tory.

The body is a good look­ing five-door SUV with plenty of curves, in­clud­ing a rad­i­cal drop in the tail. Aero work in­cludes a smooth floor and shut­ters in the nose to cut cruis­ing speed drag.

There are three mod­els — Ma­can S, Ma­can S Diesel and Ma­can Turbo — with V6 tur­bos. Th­ese are a 3.0-litre petrol (250kW / 460Nm), 3.6-litre petrol (294kW/550Nm) and 3.0litre diesel (190kW/580Nm).

Fit­ted with a seven-speed PDK au­to­matic and all-wheel- drive, they prom­ise 0-100km/h sprint times as low as 4.6 sec­onds and econ­omy as good as 6.1L/100km.

Stan­dard equip­ment in­cludes sports steer­ing wheel with shift pad­dles, pre­mium sound and power tail­gate.

It has an on-road fo­cus but the air sus­pen­sion has a 50mm lift func­tion for rough ground, al­though it can­not match the wa­ter wad­ing abil­ity of the Cayenne. In­stead, the likes of wheels as big as 19 inches on the Ma­can Turbo and the tun­ing of the sus­pen­sion ad­ver­tise a ve­hi­cle that’s a lot more than a Ger­man RAV4.

It has the right stuff to trump the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, and also the Mercedes GLK that should fi­nally hit Aus­tralia late next year or early in 2015.

Af­ford­able blue-riband: The Porsche Ma­can S

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