2014 Porsche Macan
What It Is: A cleverly disguised prototype of the upcoming 2014 Porsche Macan crossover. The Macan—which previously went by the codename "Cajun"—is Porsche's second SUV and is smaller than the Cayenne. It will do battle with other mid-size luxury crossovers like the BMW X3, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, the Audi Q5, and the Mercedes-Benz GLK.
Why It Matters: Porsche's Cayenne has been a gold mine for the sports-car brand, and the smaller, less-expensive Macan should rake in even more dough. As they did when the Cayenne launched, Porsche purists may shed tears, but moneymakers like the Panamera sedan and Cayenne help fund development of the myriad variants of the 911 sports car, as well as the Boxster and Cayman.
Platform: The Macan will share its architecture with the Audi Q5. (In fact, there's one following the Porsche test mule in these spy photos.) The Macan will be wider and shorter than the Q5, and it will get completely unique, Porsche-specific styling.
The front end is heavily disguised, and it appears as if some Cayenne pieces are actually affixed to this test mule. Look closely, and the headlights and the radar camera in the grille are inset, meaning the Macan's actual front overhang should be shorter. Things get a bit, uh, weird out back, where there's a lot of previous-generation Renault Mégane going on. Luckily for those who have nightmares about the Panamera's bizarre rear-end styling, the bulbous, trunk-like protrusion sticking off the back is elaborate camouflage. The production car's rear should be less diaper-ish and look more like that of the Cayenne. Porsche also did its best to fool us with the window trim; the trailing edge has been extended with the help of tape.
Powertrain: Here in the U.S., Macan buyers will be able to choose from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four with around 237 hp and a supercharged V-6 engine making something close to 288 hp; a hybrid almost definitely will be available. The Macan's powertrains will be borrowed from the Audi bin. Europeans probably will get a diesel engine option as well, but no oil-burners will come here. (Porsche recently announced a Cayenne diesel for our market, though.) We expect an eight-speed automatic to be part of the mix, and a six-speed manual transmission is a possibility, too.
Competition: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Infiniti EX35, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz GLK.
Estimated Arrival Time and Price: Expect to see the Macan hit Porsche dealerships in 2013 at a starting price of around $45,000