Tuesday, June 4, 2019

MIXED PARENTAGE - IMPRESSIVE OFFSPRING

VW Golf 3
VW Group has mastered the art of breeding genetics. Its engineers can mix and match genes with great success and impunity. 

Modular design has been around since Golf 3, and since then all manner of offspring are delivered by multiple parenting genes.

Take the VW Phaeton and Bentley Continental GT coupe; the VW Golf, Audi A3 and the Skoda Octavia, just to mention a couple.


Actually, dig deeper and all is revealed. Whether the engine is MQB (transverse) or MLB (longitudinal), it just doesn’t matter.

What impresses most auto industry insiders is how each marque has been able to develop unique characteristics for powertrain, performance, ride and handling and other overall capabilities within VW’s modular system of engineering its vehicles.

For example, the Porsche Macan S, and the Lamborghini Urus.

Both vehicles were created from Audi gene donors, but both SUVs are true to their respective marques’ DNA, and their origins are completely obscured by brilliant engineering.

The Macan S shares its underpinnings with the Audi Q5; whilst the Urus is bred from the Audi SQ7. The Bentley Bentayga also uses the same platform architecture of the Urus/SQ7.
However, in the Urus/Bentayga example the two vehicles could not be more different. Whilst the Bentayga is a decent off-road performer, the Urus is quite frankly, hopeless. The Lambo is much more cut out for autostradas than straddling creek beds.

The Porsche Macan S is also a very different animal to the Q5. It’s stiffer, handles better, and the full-throated roar from the turbo V6 tells you much more about its Porsche heritage and development than the various VW-sourced components under the hood.

However, to the Urus – Urban Cowboy? Yep! Stradale Screamer? Yep! Bush-Basher? Nope!


I shifted the ‘surface selector, from ‘Strada’ to ‘Terra’, drove into my secret off-road test location, and after several attempts at climbing a slippery slope, I reversed out and crossed that ability off my list.


This AUD$500,000 SUV is aimed at ….. “I don’t know”? I guess the buyer profile is someone with mucho money, a few more cars than the average owner, and a desire to escape pursuing police cars. If you want to make a statement, this is the car to buy, but apart from that I can’t see the point.

Now, the Macan S is a whole different kettle-of-fish. Mounted on specialist SUV tyres, with lots of suspension travel, the Macan S performed very well off-road, but was very at home in an urban setting.


A neighbor who recently forked out AUD$50,000 for an Audi Q2 expressed desire for the Macan S, but when confronted with the AUD$100,000 pricetag, retreated to their garage, and lovingly patted the Q2 with passion.

If you want an SUV-thingy with a Porsche badge, the Macan is entry level, because you’ll pay another AUD$55,000, for its Cayenne S big brother.

The big difference with the Urus are the rather 'dinky' interior/exterior graphics, which seems to me a very overt effort to 'appear different'.



But, in both instances, you get what you pay for. Personally, if you follow this Blog regularly, you will know SUVs of any size/type/performance hold absolutely NO appeal for me, but I thought that sampling these two cars recently made for an interesting comparison of the actual differences between various VW badges, and the unique qualities of both SUVs.

I must say the ride quality of the Urus was exemplary, and at least as impressive as its acceleration. Yes, it's much more a sportscar in SUV clothing than any sort of competent off-roader.

One of the most impressive features of both cars are the big wheels and brakes.


Driving the Lambo was a blast, literally, but my fuel consumption never dropped below 12 L/100km – would a Urus buyer care? An emphatic NO!

The Macan S pointed like you expect from a Porsche, and the interior quality was absolutely great.


Materials quality, trim margins, fit-finish and comfort was truly First Class.

And at the end of it all, I am still impressed with how the VWAG marques engineer badge DNA across the ranges, with a small number of genetic donors.

That’s why VWAG is Europe’s biggest carmaker. They know stuff!

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