Compact Cayenne copy is Porsche's mini Macan

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/ Updated: 23 November 2013, 6:52 am AEDT
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LOS ANGELES -- We all scoffed at Porsche when it built the Cayenne , but that model has gone on to become the brand's volume sales leader. In 2012, the automaker sold nearly as many Cayennes as it did 911s, Boxsters, and Panameras combined. Now, at the 2013 LA Auto Show, the automaker is set to do it all over again, unveiling the fifth model in its current lineup: the so-called "baby Cayenne," now officially known as the 2015 Porsche Macan.

Similar in dimension to the Audi Q5 (and no doubt sharing some platform underpinnings), the Porsche Macan is a compact crossover that will be offered in two versions when it hits dealerships. The Macan S is powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 twin-turbo engine that delivers 340 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The Macan Turbo bumps up the displacement of its V-6 to 3.6 liters, producing 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque in the process.

Both vehicles make use of direct-injection technology to spray precise amounts of Premium gasoline directly into their aluminum cylinder blocks. Power exiting either engine flows through Porsche's seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is standard on the Macan, on its way to the also-standard active all-wheel-drive system.

Porsche claims that this all-wheel-drive system offers optimal performance both on pavement and off-road, but this ain't a Jeep and I doubt that potential owners are really looking at a small Porsche crossover for blazing trails. We won't know for certain how capable the Macan is when off of the beaten path until we're able to test one, and Porsche could still surprise me. After all, there is a specific Off Road mode for the Porsche Terrain Management system that boosts traction and raises the optional air suspension's ride height by 1.58 inches, but let's call this one a "soft-roader" and move on.

Helping the Macan's tarmac performance are standard 19-inch wheels (with different designs for the S and Turbo models, but identical 235/55 R19 front and 255/50 R19 rear dimensions), paddle shifters, and a Sport PDK and engine programs. The Macan Turbo also features standard adaptive suspension, where the S model's standard suspension is fixed. Adaptive suspension can be added to the Macan S and an optional self-leveling, height-adjustable air suspension can be added to either model, adding four different driving-height levels (Low, Normal, High, and High II) as well as an even lower loading height when parked.

2015 Porsche Macan
Josh Miller/CNET

Drivers who need even more of an edge can option the Sport Chrono package, which enables the chassis, engine, and transmission to be tuned to an even sharper level than the standard Sport mode and adds Launch Control. There's also the optional Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), which enables proactive and dynamic torque splitting on the rear axle for better power delivery while cornering.

Zero to 60 mph happens in 5.2 seconds for the S and in 4.6 seconds for the Turbo. Adding the optional Sport Chrono package knocks those times down to just 5 seconds and 4.4 seconds, respectively. The Macan S and Turbo are also capable of top track speeds of 156 mph and 164 mph, respectively. Fuel economy is still to be determined.

The cabin looks like standard Porsche fare, which means that the PDK's shifter is surrounded by a center console that's just overflowing with buttons. In the center of the dashboard is a standard 7-inch color touch-screen display that routes audio from a universal USB interface for connecting external storage media and devices to the standard 11-speaker, 235-watt audio system.

From there, there are a few upgrades. For starters, there's the optional Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with navigation module that increases the functionality of the infotainment system, and the optional Bose Surround Sound system, which features 14 speakers, including a 200-watt subwoofer, a total of nine amplifier channels, and a total output of 545 watts. Audiophiles will want to sample the top-of-the-line Burmester High-End Surround Sound System, which features 16 speakers, including an active subwoofer with a 10-inch diaphragm diameter and an integrated 300-watt Class D amplifier. The total system output for this ultrapremium system is over 1,000 watts.

2015 Porsche Macan
Josh Miller/CNET

Macan models equipped with the PCM also gain access to Porsche Car Connect (PCC) a telematics system that lets owners access information and control individual vehicle functions remotely using an iOS or Android app. The PCM also grants the driver in-dash connectivity for online features via the Aha Radio app.

The list of safety and convenience tech includes adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring.

Pricing hasn't been published for the 2015 Porsche Macan S or the Macan Turbo, but we're expecting that information, along with fuel economy estimates from the EPA, to be announced closer to the crossover's launch next year.

Stay tuned to the CNET's coverage of the 2013 LA Auto Show for even more hot tech, car, and SUV news.

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2015 Porsche Macan SUV

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