Porsche has been receiving some (deserved?) flak this week, what with their ludicrous statement from 911 project chief, August Achleitner, that the next GT3 could very-well receive a PDK-only gearbox, arguing that “No one complained when we made the Turbo PDK-only”… Really Mr. Achleitner…? Well, if we’re resorting to that level of grade-school justification then it’s safe to say that no one complained when the last two hardcore, driver’s-choice GT3 models (996 and 997) came with three pedals and a proper gear-stick with cogs… 100% approval from customers I’d say- they bought a GT3 for that very reason.
So before I ruffle myself up into a tiz again, let’s move on… The promised Porsche baby-SUV has been confirmed and its name is Macan – translates to ‘tiger’ in Indonesian and is apparently a safe bet for worldwide translations (important when naming a new car). It goes without saying that its main rivals will be the Audi Q5 and the sleek ‘n sexy Range Rover Evoque, what with its compact dimensions (ie: no space inside, yet jacked-up to look like it has space) and ‘sporty’ coupe-like roofline. And, as is the Porsche way, its face and rump looks as though it has been designed by the same lazy designer of every new Porsche over the last 12 years – just imagine a smaller Cayenne… there you go, job done.
It goes without saying that this new Macan is a direct result of Porsche’s long-term expansion plans, with an eye dead-set on China where Panamera and Cayenne sales outnumber sportscars sales by a substantial margin. The numbers tell all – Porsche sold 118,967 vehicles last year, 59,897 of those were Cayennes. One-quarter of Porsche’s total production last year landed on China’s shores…
The old saying (belief ?) goes that Porsche only builds these Cayennes, Panameras and Macans solely as cash-cows to help fund development of their ‘true passion’: sportscars like the Boxster, Cayman and 911 derivatives (and to some extent, the forthcoming halo 918 supercar). But with the current fleet at an even ‘3 on 3’ now and with sales gravitating heavily towards the success of the big ‘n chunky sort in developing markets like China, it will be interesting to see what direction Porsche takes with the brand’s sporting origins amidst the oncoming horizon.