CAPE TOWN, South Africa - Panamera, Cayenne... Porsche’s family vehicle strategy may have met initial pessimism from purists but fortunately for the automaker its paying dividends. Its family-orientated vehicles continue to be a resounding success for the brand so it’s natural that it continues to offer models in growing markets such the luxury performance niche.Just released in South Africa (July 2014) is yet another high-riding Porsche, the compact Macan (it’s Indonesian for tiger), an all-wheel drive uber chic SUV positioned beneath the Cayenne but also using VW’s *MLB platform.It’s 4.68m long, (Turbo version 4.69m), 1.9m wide, 1.6m tall and has a 2.8m wheelbase.SPORTS-CAR HERITAGEThe Macan exudes sports-car heritage with Porsche design cues: an interior inspired by the 911, elements from the 918 but most of its exterior is pure Cayenne. Three models are available in SA: Macan S, Macan Turbo and Macan S Diesel, each a V6 – three and 3.6-litre petrol bi-turbos and a three-litre turbo diesel lifted from the Cayenne. • The Macan diesel is capable of 190kW/580Nm, 100km/h in 6.3sec and 230km/h. Fuel consumption 6.1 litres/100km, CO2 emissions 159g/km. • The three-litre Macan S makes 250kW/460Nm, 0-100 in 5.4sec and 254kmh. Fuel consumption 8.7 lirtes/100km, emissions 204g/km. • The range-topping biturbo generates 294kW/550Nm for 0-100 km/h in 4.8sec and 266km/h. Fuel consumption 9.1 litres/100km, emissions of 213g/km.Each engine is mated to a slick seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifts. All-wheel drive and traction management send power all four wheels on demand.HANDLING - IST WUNDEBAR!The Macan is very quick, as its performance figures show, and provides the kind of handling grace and precision on par with its sports-car siblings.Sure, great cornering is what you would expect from a Porsche, but the Macan delivers responsive, confidence-inspiring stability and traction that beggars belief in a vehicle of its size. Body roll is present but negligible and its traction control will keep you on the tar during spirited driving (read: your default driving mode in a Macan).Due to its ride height and ‘comfort’ orientation in diesel and petrol S guise it’s not as visceral as a Porsche sports car; after all it is an SUV and its refinement (read: isolation) means that its engine growl though present comes across more as a tame purr.Like the 911, it has staggered tyre sizes for optimal handling and grip.The performance hero of the range is the Macan Turbo. Its sheer ability to blast to sports car-hunting speeds and its impeccable road-handling sets the bar incredibly high in the luxury performance SUV market. Off-road mode can be activated at less than 80km/h and when used in conjunction with the optional air suspension chassis, ground clearance can be increased by 40mm to 230mm. Downhill assistance is provided by Porsche hill-descent control that can be set from three to 30km/h.The car’s other off-road capabilities are the same as the Cayenne, except for wading depth.Though similar in size to the sister ship the Audi A5, Porsche says its Macan is for the most part a new vehicle with two-thirds of its components completely new. However most of its mechanical, design and interactive parts are unique to Porsche... and it shows.SPORTS CAR INTERIORIn terms of crash protection it has front, side, knee and curtain air bags, anti-lock brakes and stability control with active suspension management.The interior features luxury trim and the high-level of specification we’ve come to expect from Porsche. The instrument cluster sports a three-dial design with a central rev counter and the cabin is replete with soft-touch quality materials. Its steering wheel was inspired by the 918 Spyder.The cabin is roomy and luggage capacity rated at 500 litres can be expanded to 1500 with the rear seats folded.The Macan S and S Diesel are fitted with 18" Macan S alloy rims as standard, while the 19" Macan Turbo is available as standard for the Macan Turbo. There are six rim designs to choose from, ranging from 18 to 21" .OVERALLThe Macan’s sports car-like handling and performance put it bove more conventional luxury SUV’s; for purists that could be justification enough to get behind the wheel of a Macan. It sets the bar high for performance, handling and driving experience in the luxury compact SUV market. It’s aPRICES (include three or five-year DrivePlan)Porsche Macan S - R873 000 - R923 000Porsche Macan Diesel - R862 000 - R912 000Porsche Macan Turbo - R1 239 000 - R1 289 000•Modularer langsbaukasten translates to modular longitudinal matrix.