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Porsche Macan: One to outrun the crossover competition?

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This is the Macan, little brother to the Cayenne and the Porsche’s newest mass-market attack vehicle.

Launched in Los Angeles and Tokyo on 20 November, it’s a five-seat SUV to rival the Range Rover Evoque, Audi Q5 (with which it shares a basic skeleton), BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz’s GLK.

Except, claims Porsche, the Macan will be a much sportier proposition than that raft of SUVs. It boasts, in fact, that the Macan will handle like a proper sports-thing. A bold claim, but if any firm can deliver, it's Porsche.

There’ll be three Macans at launch, all of which coming with a seven-speed PDK ‘box as standard. All are four-wheel drive, a rear-biased system that varies torque across the back axle, and if that doesn’t work, can shunt up to 100% of grunt to the front wheels.

Three usual suspension set-ups are also available, ranging from the basic standard steel springs to full four-corner air suspension. The smallest wheels available are not-so-modest 18-inchers.

The engines aren’t too shy, either. Things kick off with the 3-litre V6 turbodiesel in the Macan S Diesel, which gets a 3-litre V6 making the 258bhp and 428lb-ft motor. That’s good for a zero to 62mph time of 6.3 seconds and 142mph.

Then there’s the Macan S, equipped with a new 3.6-litre V6 biturbo petrol engine producing 340bhp and 340lb-ft and hitting 158mph and 62mph in 5.4.

Top of the tree is the Macan Turbo, which uses a boosted version of the same engine to give 400bhp, 406lb ft, zero to 62mph in 4.8 and 165mph. Yes, you’re looking at a 400bhp, sub-five-second-to-60mph SUV.

If you don’t need quite such fastness, down the line we’ll see four-cylinder Macans, with 2-litre turbo variants in both petrol and diesel.

There’s much green tech on board. The Macan gets electro-mechanical power steering, energy recuperation during braking and overrun, active radiator shutters, while the PDK ‘box can decouple the clutch and coast whenever the throttle isn’t on active duty. Officially the diesel will manage 44.8mpg, the S petrol 31.3mpg and even the Turbo 30.7mpg.

Though the same height and only a smidge wider than the Audi Q5 with which it shares its architecture, the Macan looks lower and more purposeful. And, with its rear-biased transmission and sportier brief, should be a sharper drive than the secure but uninvolving Audi.

Sure, traditionalists might grumble (just like they did at the launch of the Cayenne), but – with Porsche expecting to build 50,000 Macans a year – there’s little doubt this’ll help Porsche maintain the financial stability to make the 911, Cayman and Boxster even better.

A version of this story originally appeared on TopGear.com.