- Effortless to drive at any speed
- Ticks the performance and practicality boxes
- Stop-start system could be better
Porsche broke out of the conventional sports car mould with its Cayenne sports utility vehicle and silenced a few doubters in the process. It has sold extremely well since the car first appeared in 2002, while the whole SUV market has continued to soar – hence the Macan.
Slotting right beneath the Cayenne in the range, the Macan shares some basic elements with the Audi Q5 but – as you would expect from Porsche – its design and execution are quite different. The Macan Turbo is a performance-focussed model designed to offer as much driving pleasure as any Porsche while being practical and usable.
The Turbo starts at £59,300. Our road test car checked in at £67,299 thanks to options like a panoramic roof and 21-inch alloy wheels. We went for a road test to find out if the Macan Turbo is a proper Porsche or a chunky wannabe.
“The Macan is leaner and more lithe and therefore more suited to tearing up a B-road.”There is a clear visual relationship between the Macan and the Cayenne but as is often the way, it’s the younger sister that got the looks. Its smaller size helps, of course, but the Macan is leaner and more lithe and therefore more suited to tearing up a B-road than plugging through axle-deep mud.
The front end owes more to the Cayenne than the rest, but it is at the rear where you will see welcome echoes of the 911 and the Panamera models. It’s wheel and colour sensitive like most premium cars, but get it right and you will be the proud owner of a great looking machine.
Porsche probably never will sell a family hatchback so the Macan is currently the closest thing. There’s not oodles of space inside like the much bigger Cayenne, but it makes efficient use of the space it has.
Front seat occupants have plenty of room and the high-set dashboard layout gives a great driving position and plenty of legroom. It’s much the same story in the back, too. Load it up with three tall adults and it may be a little bit of a squeeze, but under most circumstances you will have all the space you need.
Boot space is another highlight, with a generous 500 litres seats up and 1,500 litres with the seats down. The load securing system is useful and there’s an electric tailgate so you never have to waste any energy opening it yourself.
Performance and handling
Under the bonnet of the Macan Turbo is a 3.6-litre petrol V6 that dishes out a significant 395bhp and 406lb/ft of torque – more than a 911 Carrera S – and with four-wheel-drive and seven-speed PDK transmission to handle the power, you can be sure of being able to use it.
Not that you would know immediately, however, as the Macan’s mechanical set-up is very docile when driven sensibly. The gearshifts are super-slick and the torquey nature of the engine makes short work of town traffic.“The beauty of the Macan is that it makes going quickly effortless.”
Out on the open road, it’s easy to up the pace with just a gentle squeeze of the accelerator and the Macan responds beautifully to being driven hard. You can go the whole hog and switch it into Sport Plus mode and shift manually, but the beauty of the Macan is that it makes going quickly effortless.
Economy and environment
The Macan serves up some impressive economy figures despite its relative size and big performance. The stop-start system is a little hit and miss though; often it cuts out before the car has completely stopped and if you’re on the brake it will lurch to a halt.“The stop-start system is a little hit and miss.”
What works better is the PDK transmission, which has the ability to coast at higher speeds, all of which help shave off a vital few fractions of fuel consumption.
The overall combined figure is 31.7mpg with CO2 emissions of 208g/km – far better than many performance cars, although of course you will need to drive with care in order to hit them.
Equipment and value
With a standard list price in excess of £50,000 you would expect a spec list to match. Fortunately and the Macan doesn’t disappoint. Over and above the turbo motor and slick transmission you get 19-inch alloy wheels, electric leather seats, climate control, a BOSE audio system and Porsche’s clever PASM active suspension, which is most of the things you could possibly want.“You would have to be idiotic to find yourself in big trouble.”
It is a shame heated seats are an extra £259 and the torque vectoring system, which helps you drive even more quickly, is another £1,012. The 21-inch alloy wheels fitted to the test car also checked in at a hefty £1,942.
There are few cars better than a Macan for avoiding an accident in the first place, never mind actually having one. With four-wheel drive and decent off-road ability, strong brakes, big grip and a suite of clever active safety systems you would have to be idiotic to find yourself in big trouble. Should the worst happen, the Macan benefits from the ceaseless investment in crash safety.
It is hard to be unimpressed by the overall ability of the Macan package. It’s fast, fun, immensely capable, comfortable and surprisingly practical. You get the thrills without losing the usefulness. The practicality is an important point, because any Porsche fan would go for a 911 or Cayman unless they really needed the space. It also feels a long way away from Audi’s Q5, even the hot RSQ5 version.
Rivals are thing on the ground as BMW is yet to offer a sporty version of the X3. The Mercedes-Benz GLA AMG, meanwhile, is the closest competitor but it’s neither as good looking nor as much fun to drive.
|Engine||3.6-litre twin-turbo V6|
|Acceleration||0 to 62mph in 4.8 seconds|
|Emissions||208g/km of CO2|