Stuttgart. Shortly before the world premiere of the new Porsche Macan, Michael Mauer discusses the challenge of updating the familiar design of the successful SUV. “The new Macan is the first model that we are electrifying from an existing, established product identity,” says the Vice President Style Porsche. In his view, “every new sports car has to be very clearly recognizable as part of the Porsche product family and the model in question, but also has to be perceived as ‘the new one’”. Mauer believes that this visual consistency is critical for the Porsche brand. Striking the right balance between “quintessentially Porsche” and “innovative” is a tricky proposition at times, admits the designer.
New powertrain offers flexibility yet poses challenges for designers
The switch from an internal combustion engine to an all-electric powertrain in the Macan posed a challenge for the Style Porsche team while offering new possibilities.
“The technical requirements of the car are always absolutely fundamental,” continues Mauer. “This is considered very early in the process with the packaging – the arrangement of various components in the car. The packaging is critical for getting the basic proportions right – the classic Porsche flyline would not be feasible with just any arrangement."
The electric powertrain offers new levels of flexibility yet poses challenges here: “Removing the bulky engine block allows us to enhance the distinctive shape of the hood. At the same time, the battery is still a rather large component that requires a lot of space and could disturb the defining width-to-height ratio. And of course aerodynamics plays a big role in terms of the range of an electric sports car.” The success of the close collaboration between designers and aerodynamics engineers is clear from a single number: with a drag coefficient of 0.25, the all-electric Macan is one of the most streamlined SUVs on the market.
In general, Porsche has decided not to distinguish its electric models completely from its combustion-engined sports cars, Mauer explains. “Porsche remains Porsche – even an electric Porsche is a sports car in its segment. From this standpoint, it’s only logical that we’re not abandoning our proven Porsche design DNA.” The chief designer is certain that this is also clearly recognizable from the first all-electric SUV developed by the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer: “The new Macan is also very clearly a Porsche and a Macan at first glance. We have fundamentally kept the proportions that define what a sports car in this segment embodies for Porsche. The design has been refined both inside and out – the new model has an even sportier and more dynamic vibe.”
Interview and livestream of the world premiere in the Porsche Newsroom
The full interview with chief designer Michael Mauer can be found in the Porsche Newsroom. The world premiere of the new all-electric Macan will also be broadcast there on Thursday, January 25, 2024. The event will be livestreamed from Singapore from 7:30 a.m. (EST). A recording of the unveiling will also be available afterwards, in the Newsroom.
Further information, as well as film and photo material, is available in the Porsche Newsroom: newsroom.porsche.com