The Cayenne was one thing, as a sporty entry into a class that already started at a luxury price point, Porsche’s SUV entry found its calling and became an instant player. But with the Macan it’s different. This segment is as mainstream as it gets, and the players in it are decidedly ordinary and for the most part, uninspired. Will it stand out? I have no doubt whatsoever that it will. But I also get the feeling that Porsche is placing itself on the precipice of The Abyss, staring at a product leap that could inexorably alter its future, whereupon it becomes too common and too part of the mindless suburban crawl, or for performance-luxury manufacturers, what’s known as The Dark Side.
That Porsche was once exclusively a maker of sports cars that had a narrowly defined appeal with a hard-core group of enthusiast drivers – both for the brand’s enduring engineering quirkiness and the fact that when driven hard, the cars – the hallowed 911 in particular – demanded a considerable level of skill from its drivers in order to maximize their performance potential – seems like a distantly quaint notion now.
(That link might have gone stale by the time you read this, since De Lorenzo doesn’t use permalinks on his columns until they go into the archives.)
I’m not a Porsche Man. I’ve already owned one five-months-a-year car here in Colorado, and it’s just a silly expense. That’s doubly true since we have two boys to put through college, and I want them to live long enough to get there. It’s one thing to steal the keys to the Mercedes truck one weekend, and quite another to “borrow” the Porsche. But I’ve always been glad to know Porsche Men are out there — guys with the money and skill to buy a challenging sports car and to drive it the way it ought to be driven.
If Porsche ever loses sight of that — their core customers and those of us who are happy just to share the road with them — it’ll be a corporate crime at the capital level.