2014 Porsche Macan revealed

* New rival for Audi Q5 and BMW X3 * Two petrol models and one diesel * Order books now open; prices from £43,300...

2014 Porsche Macan revealed

This is the new Porsche Macan, which will prove a serious rival for the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 when it arrives in the UK in April 2014.

The Macan is baby brother to the ultra-successful Cayenne, and is designed to further boost Porsche's SUV sales by offering a more focused drive than its 'mainstream' rivals.

The Macan is about the same size as the X3, and there's no mistaking it for anything but a Porsche. Indeed, many will see a lot of the Cayenne's styling in the Macan, particularly the front end. The rear is more distinctive, with slim, high-set LED lights and short overhangs that give a more sporting look than most SUVs offer.

Some chassis parts are shared with the Audi Q5, albeit substantially overhauled, and even though the Macan has an aluminium body it weighs almost the same as our favourite six-cylinder BMW X3 xDrive30d.

What engines does the 2014 Porsche Macan get?

From launch there will be two petrols and one diesel engine, and all come with a dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The 3.0 V6 turbodiesel Macan S Diesel puts out 255bhp, does 0-62mph in 6.3sec, hits 44.8mpg and emits 159g/km of CO2.

Both petrol models are powered by V6 bi-turbo engines. The Macan S gets a 3.0-litre that puts out 335bhp, propels the car to 62mph in 5.4sec and returns 31.4mpg and 212g/km. Topping the range is the 394bhp 3.6-litre V6 Macan Turbo, which cracks 0-62mph in 4.8sec, averages 30.7mpg and emits 216g/km.

It's likely that the four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines from the Volkswagen Golf GTD and GTI will join the Macan range later in 2014, although these have yet to be confirmed.

All Macans comes with on-demand four-wheel drive. In normal road use the system sends all the power to the rear wheels, but up to 100% can be sent to the front wheels, or shuffled between both axles as required.

There are various suspensions set-ups across the range. Steel springs are standard on the Macan S and S Diesel, but buyers can opt to add electronically controlled adjustable dampers (dubbed PASM) for £785; they're a standard fit on the Turbo. Air suspension is a £1789 option across the range.

What's the 2014 Porsche Macan like inside?

Anyone familiar with the latest Porsche models will feel at home in the Macan. The central console houses neat rows of buttons and runs from the sloped centre console to bisect the front cabin, which is otherwise dominated by the standard seven-inch touch-screen. Another, smaller colour screen is set into one of the three driver's dials and shows everything from trip info to nav instructions.

Standard features include Alcantara-and-leather seats, a multifunction steering wheel and paddle-shifters, powered tailgate, an 11-speaker sound system, and USB input. However, you will have to pay £2007 to get sat-nav and an integrated 40GB hard drive on all but the Turbo model.

There's also a range of optional safety equipment, including lane-departure warning and blind-spot assist, while the eight standard airbags include knee airbags for the driver and front passenger and head airbags in the front and rear.

The 40/20/40 rear bench can seat three, while the boot offers 500 litres of space with the seats in place and 1500 with them folded. That's slightly less than the 550-1600 litres on offer in the BMW X3, but still more than enough for most families' needs. 

How much will the 2014 Porsche Macan cost?

The Turbo tops the range at £59,300, but the bigger sellers will be the petrol and Diesel S which both cost £43,300. However, buyers may hesitate over the fact that the base Cayenne Diesel is only £4k more than the admittedly quicker Macan Diesel S. The Macan also looks pricey next to the diesel-only BMW X3, at around £4000 more than the xDrive30d.

Even so, the Macan's closest competitor will be the BMW X4 that arrives next year. Only time will tell if Porsche's baby SUV can justify both its price and the badge on its nose.

By Tom Webster