Porsche first announced development of a compact crossover SUV based on the Audi Q5 in late 2010. The model has been going by its project name "Cajun" since it was but a rumor but has now been upgraded with its official name - the Macan. Porsche teased us with a sketch, video and website for the Macan crossover this week.

Porsche explains the reason it chose to abandon what appeared to be a trend of spicy names saying, "the name Macan is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger and combines suppleness, power, fascination and dynamics - core characteristics of the new off-road car."

Other Porsche cars were similarly named by way of defining characteristics. The Boxster was named for its boxer engine and roadster design, the Cayenne for its sharpness and the Panamera sedan for its perceived ability to win the Carrera Panamericana long-distance race.

In describing the car's design, Bernhard Maier, Member of the Executive Board Sales and Marketing of Porsche AG, said, "the Macan combines all sports car characteristics with the benefits of a SUV and is a genuine Porsche."

Ordinarily, we'd dismiss Maier's statement as pure advertising, but after looking at the initial sketch of the car, we think he might have nailed it. When compared to the larger Cayenne SUV, the Macan sits lower and has a sportier roofline that rolls more naturally into the rear-end. The windshield is also more raked than the Cayenne's. In the sketch, the Macan rides on particularly large, sporty wheels, but that could just be a matter of artistic license.

Porsche hopes to mimic the success of the Cayenne with the new Macan. Despite a less than enthusiastic welcome from those Porsche faithful that wished to see Porsche remain a pure sports brand, the Cayenne has gone on to become Porsche's best selling model. In fact, the success of the Cayenne has helped inspire other premium Volkswagen brands - we're talking Bentley and Lamborghini - to launch their own SUVs.

Porsche will begin production on the Macan in 2013 at its Leipzig plant, which is undergoing a US$650 million upgrade. It hasn't indicated when it will debut the crossover, but the timing of this teaser seems a little too coincidental for anything but a Geneva Motor Show debut. If not Geneva, perhaps the New York or Paris shows later this year.

In the teaser video below, Porsche challenges us to live life to the fullest before (finally) revealing the Macan sketch.

Source: Porsche