Porsche to offer 'greener' Macan in UK

Porsche will also sell a four-cylinder variant of the Macan, shown, in China.
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LONDON -- The UK is the only European market that will get a "greener" Porsche Macan SUV with a four-cylinder engine due to demand for the version from China.

Porsche unveiled the Macan with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine at the Beijing auto show on April 20. The variant is expected to outsell V-6 versions in China because the smaller engine attracts a fuel consumption tax of 12 percent compared with 25 percent for the 3.0-liter V6.

The model is Porsche's first four-cylinder car in almost 20 years.

Markets such as Germany and France miss out on the version because left-hand-drive production of the model is earmarked for China, Porsche said.

"Demand will be strong in China, whereas in right-hand-drive Asian markets such as Japan, there is not such an issue of availability for the engine," a Porsche spokesman told Automotive News Europe. He said the Leipzig, Germany, factory where the Macan is built is working “flat out” to meet Chinese demand.

The downsized Macan has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine also offered in the VW Golf GTI. It makes 237hp and has CO2 emissions of 168 grams per km, compared with 204g/km for the V6 and costs 40,276 pounds (48,980 euros) in the UK, compared with 43,300 pounds for the lowest priced gasoline V6.

Porsche said the 2.0-liter Macan is expected to sell in “very small numbers” in the UK.

The last time Porsche sold a four-cylinder car in Europe was in 1995, when production of the front-engined 968 sports car ended. European media has reported the automaker is working on a horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine to match the layout of the six-cylinder engines in its 911, Boxster and Cayman sports cars, but the company hasn’t confirmed that. Porsche’s new Le Mans race car is powered by a four-cylinder engine arranged in a V-shape, with assistance from battery power.

Earlier this year, Porsche CEO Matthias Muller said demand for the Macan could push the brand’s annual sales past 200,000 by 2015, three years earlier than targeted. Speaking at the start of production of the model in February, he said the company was prepared to expand annual capacity of Macan line at the Leipzig factory past 50,000 if demand warranted it.

You can reach Nick Gibbs at nick.gibbs@btinternet.com.

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