A decade after Porsche put on sale its first Cayenne SUV and sent purists howling in fits, the automaker is again jumping into new territory with its all-new Macan compact crossover SUV.
Porsche revealed the Macan to the world Tuesday night at the L.A. Convention Center. The Macan will go on sale in the spring with a starting price of $50,895.
This means it's the most affordable Porsche on the market, which the automaker hopes will lure in new customers to the brand. Yet that price tag also makes it one of the most expensive models in the burgeoning crossover SUV market. Porsche seems fine with that.
"We clearly see it as important to position Porsche in this segment," said Detlev von Platen, president and chief executive of Porsche North America. "We want it to be the most exclusive car in the segment."
The base Macan S will come with a 3-liter, 340-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and a seven-speed PDK automated dual-clutch transmission. A loaded model will do zero-60 in 5 seconds flat, Porsche said. It's not everyday you see an automaker release zero-60 mph times for a crossover, but this is Porsche after all.
The performance-oriented Macan Turbo will start at $73,295 and offers a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 400 horsepower. It too will have the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and will be capable of a zero-to-60-mph run in 4.4 seconds.
The Macan will hope to replicate the success the Cayenne has had over 10 years and two generations of sales. The Cayenne is Porsche's biggest seller both in the U.S. and abroad, and has been immensely profitable for the automaker.
The wind should be at Porsche's back as it jumps into the compact crossover space. Market share has quadrupled in the last five years and is expected to continue to grow, according to Tom Libby, lead analyst at auto research firm R.L.Polk & Co.
"It's the sweet spot in the luxury market," Libby said. "A luxury make has no choice — they have to get into it."
Yet the Porsche will certainly not be the only brand looking for a hit in the compact crossover space. Lincoln, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Jaguar all have plans to enter this segment in the next several years.
Good thing the Macan is fast; it will need plenty of speed to get out ahead of rivals.