Porsche Macan – Still The One To Beat
Let us turn the clock back. Porsche, renowned maker of desirable sports cars wanted to expand. Much to many aficionados’ consternation, jumping on the SUV bandwagon was seen to be the way forward. But what a smart move this was. Cayenne was the first to be launched, with the smaller Macan following a few years later.
Sales have undoubtedly exceeded expectations and the money generated from these new family-friendly models has clearly helped finance the latest generation of more overtly sporting cars, such as the latest 911. Others have followed suit; Lamborghini, Maserati and most recently Aston Martin.
What is it?
In order to keep the Macan at the top of its game, it has recently undergone a facelift. With cars just arrived in the UK, I was invited to get behind the wheel, the paint hardly dry.
There are now three versions, the range opener being powered by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Boasting 265PS and mated to a seven-speed PDK gearbox, it is a brisk performer.
The mid-range model is now the ‘S’ and firepower is provided by a 380PS twin-turbocharged V6, whilst the crowning glory is the ‘GTS’ with the same engine in 440PS form.
A Macan can be on your driveway for as little as £47,780 though no doubt most buyers will raid the extensive options list.
Exterior styling has been enhanced with a newly designed front spoiler and side blades, whilst at the rear the LED lighting strip and redesigned black diffuser will be most noticeable.
The interior now boasts improved tech, with touch control for switches on the ascending centre console and an easy to use 10.9-inch touchscreen neatly integrated into the dash.
Porsche Macan, ‘S’ and ‘GTS’ models
Price from £47,780 (S from £53,300, GTS from £64,770)
7-speed PDK gearbox
0-62mph in 6.4secs (S – 4.8, GTS – 4.5)
Combined economy 24.1 to 28mpg
Emissions 228-265g/km CO2
On the road
Those familiar with the iconic 911 will feel immediately at home. Cosseting seats, a clear dash with the rev counter in pole position, signalling intent.
Fire up the engine, engage drive using the diminutive new lever, a squeeze on the accelerator and you are off.
I began my day with the 2.0-litre, a great way to enter Macan ownership. However, the test car did come with around £10,000 of desirable options and if I was ordering, I would tick those boxes. BOSE sound system, electric comfort seats, metallic paint… You get the idea.
On paper the Macan has great acceleration figures, though in practice the 2.0-litre engine does need to be worked quite hard to drive in a suitably brisk manner.
Ride comfort was on the firm side as one would reasonably expect of a Porsche and with all-wheel drive, traction was never in doubt despite the rain-soaked roads.
Next to be driven was the mid-range ‘S’ with its 380PS V6 engine. The increase in power and torque was immediately noticeable, the Macan now having the performance to shame many a sports car.
Another welcome feature was the Adaptive Air Suspension, an £1,044 option. Being able to stiffen things up when on the charge was much appreciated, the car feeling much more planted on the road and eager to corner at speed.
My day ended in the topflight ‘GTS’. The additional 60PS makes the world of a difference, the Macan now being blisteringly fast in all situations – addictive and mighty enjoyable.
S and GTS models boast the amazing ability to cover the ground at a remarkable rate. They do so with almost the complete absence of body roll, the chassis being beautifully balanced. The more you push them into the corners, the more they seem to respond.
Economy won’t be a Macan forte, so expect early 20s to the gallon if driven with restraint, mid-teens if you push the envelope, as I did.
Almost all mainstream manufacturers have an entry in this sector. Premium rivals include the following offerings from Germany - The BMW X3, Audi Q3 and Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLB and GLC. Nearer to home we have the Jaguar E-PACE and F-PACE and from Italy Alfa Romeo offers us its Stelvio.
All are desirable and I could spend quite some time making a case for each one.
However, the Macan stands head and shoulders above them all, not only in the desirability stakes but more importantly in the way it drives. Build quality is exemplary too.
The Macan’s facelift will see it through until electric models put in an appearance. Updated styling and the revised interior are notable, but my lasting impression once again is the way the Macan drives.
How Porsche makes a high riding performance SUV ride and handle with such aplomb is witchcraft and no other manufacturer comes close.
I would be content with any model, but that sonorous V6 fitted to the S and GTS makes these the cars of choice.