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by Tim Beissmann

The Porsche Macan – the highly anticipated and hugely important fifth model line from the German luxury car maker – has been unveiled simultaneously at the Los Angeles and Tokyo motor shows.

Tipped to become Porsche’s top-selling model, the Macan will sit beneath the larger Cayenne when it launches in Australia in mid 2014.

The range will initially comprise three variants: the Macan S, Macan S Diesel and high-performance Macan Turbo.

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The flagship Porsche Macan Turbo is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6, which produces 294kW at 6000rpm and 550Nm between 1350-4500rpm, and launches the mid-sized SUV from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.8 seconds, or 4.6sec with the optional Sport Chrono package fitted. Its top speed is rated at 266km/h.

Porsche claims combined cycle fuel consumption of 8.9-9.2 litres per 100km for the top-performing Macan variant.

The Porsche Macan S produces 250kW at 6500rpm and 460Nm between 1450-5000rpm from its twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, propelling it from 0-100km/h in 5.4sec (5.2sec with the Sport Chrono pack) while consuming a claimed 8.7-9.0L/100km combined.

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The Porsche Macan S Diesel is the economy king of the range, consuming between 6.1-6.3L/100km on the combined cycle despite producing 190kW at 4250rpm and 580Nm between 1750-2500rpm from its 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel.

Porsche claims a 6.3sec 0-100km/h acceleration time for the standard car and and 6.1 sec for the Macan S Diesel equipped with the Sport Chrono pack.

The trio is equipped with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddleshifters that sends power to all four wheels. Also available is Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, which has been tailored to Macan, distributing varying levels of torque to the rear wheels and working in conjunction with an electronically controlled rear-axle differential lock.

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Entry-level Porsche Macan and Macan Diesel models powered by turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines will join the line-up sometime after the launch of the higher-powered variants.

Built on the same platform as the Audi Q5, the Porsche Macan is pitched as a performance-oriented rival to that car, as well as the BMW X3/X4 and the Range Rover Evoque.

At 4699mm long, 1923mm wide and 1624mm tall, the Macan is 70mm longer, 24mm wider and 30mm lower than the Q5. The Macan S is the lightest of the trio at 1865kg, while the Macan Turbo weighs 1925kg.

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The cabin features a clean dashboard with a large central display screen. Most of the buttons sit in columns either side of the gearlever on a raked console panel. A three-spoke steering wheel sits in front of a simple analogue instrument cluster.

A red leather upholstery option adds a racy flavour to the Macan Turbo’s cabin, which also features carbonfibre-look trim inserts and an extra gauge binnacle at the top of the dash.

Porsche says Australian pricing and specification details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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