L.A. Auto Show: Porsche Unveils Macan SUV

Introduced by Maria Sharapova, the car is the automaker's entry into the exploding category already staked out by BMW, Land Rover and Audi.

Porsche's Cayenne occupies a comfortable niche in luxury SUV-crazy Hollywood, where the Mercedes G500, backordered for months, remains the alpha specimen of the category. Not nearly as ubiquitous as Mercedes' and BMW's SUVs, the Cayenne fulfills the essential specification of a Hollywood status vehicle: relative scarcity.

Introduced in 2003, the Cayenne was the first salvo in Porsche's long game of expanding its brand identity beyond its sports car heritage. The strategy was wildly successful -- the Cayenne is Porsche's best-selling vehicle and almost doubled the carmaker's market share. 

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Now, Porsche is doubling down with an entry-level SUV, the Macan. Introduced on Nov. 20 at the L.A. Auto Show by relentless luxury-brand endorser Maria Sharapova, the Macan is Porsche's debut in the fast-growing segment already staked out by Audi's Q5, Land Rover's Evoque and BMW's X3.

Like the Evoque, the Macan looks like the hip adolescent version of its big brother -- the Cayenne bloodlines are obvious, but the downsizing nudges the Macan closer to the lines of Porsche's Boxster and Cayman sports cars. Two twin-turbo V6 engines are specified, with a top speed of 164 mph -- just the thing for getting Junior to Crossroads in time for creative dance and movement class.

The Macan will go on sale next year and will sticker for approximately $50,000.