Porsche NZ firest back at rivals with entry-level Macan
When Jaguar created the F-Pace premium SUV, it made no secret of the fact that its No.1 foe was Porsche's popular Macan.
The German manufacturer launched the compact luxury crossover in 2014, and it went on sale in New Zealand in June that year.
It joined Porsche's successful Cayenne medium SUV here, and entered the luxury-premium at the right time as Kiwis began to embrace SUVs.
The Macan competes globally with Mercedes-Benz's GLC, BMW X3, Audi Q5, Jaguar F-Pace and the recently launched Range Rover Velar. But until recently it was priced at the top end of the segment.
But look out, that's now changed.
The premium-luxury SUV segment is highly competitive, with the Macan dominating the market thanks to is shape, capability and Porsche nameplate.
So when Jaguar created the F-Pace, it looked at only one luxury crossover as direct competitor: The Macan.
The F-Pace's muscular bonnet, sloping roof and rear spoiler looks like the Macan -- and that's what Jaguar HQ in the UK was hoping.
The F-Pace's project manager and chief engineer, Andy Whyman, told Driven at the Montenegro global launch that its SUV had to just right to match the Porsche.
"We are taking the fight to the Macan," Whyman said.
But Porsche NZ isn't taking the competition lightly and has introduced an entry-level Macan, at $109,900 for a new turbocharged four-cylinder model.
It has an new in-line 2-litre petrol engine that produces 185kW of power and 370Nm of torque and is paired with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. It goes from 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and has a top speed of 229km/h with fuel consumption of 7.4l/100km.
The Macan 2-litre is $5000 less than the F-Pace 3-litre, V6 petrol but is has an impressive array of standard features, including 19-inch alloys, bi-xenon head lights with dynamic head-light levelling, park assist front and rear with reversing camera, and lane departure warning.
Driven's test model was specced up with 14-way seats, black roof rails, heated seats and Connect Plus infotainment, with the final price at $116,390.
Driven has tested a number of Macans, including the awe-inspiring GTS, with its stunning exhaust soundtrack and crackling from gear downshifts. But for that you pay $147,700 plus have to be wary about waking your neighbours from the rumbling engine. But I do love the Macan GTS.
I interviewed Lamborghini's new designer, Mitja Borkert, at a launch in Spain this year. He had worked in Porsche's design department from 1999 until 2016 and lead the exterior design of the Macan, second-generation Cayenne, and the new 987 Boxster plus concepts Panamera Sport Turismo and Mission E.
So when he asked me what car I'd own, I said that I wasn't flattering him but it would be the Macan GTS.
However with the entry-level Macan you have an accomplished SUV with sporty driving dynamics. At just 1770kg, it allows for agile handling around corners at speed on open roads, or ease of turning around tight bends in central city roads.
The Macan boasts an active all-wheel-drive that works with the SUV's air suspension system.
Although the 2-litre engine may be "entry level" for the Macan lineup, it's more than capable with the 370Nm of torque available between 1600rpm and 4500rpm and you need a light tap to the accelerator to overtake.
Since the Macan was launched here, 518 have to sold to date, with 189 in 2015, 193 last year and so far in 2017, 47 have be registered.
The Macan line-up used to start at $125,700, but with the entry-level model now available,and making the Porsche brand more accessible, you can expect Macan to hit more than 200 this year.
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine (185kW/370Nm)