Porsche Macan review - The SUV that wants to be a sports car
Still the most exciting sports SUV
The Porsche Macan is an unusual thing. Half huge hot hatch and half baby Cayenne, but this seemingly awkward mash-up actually works and has created a car that delivers a more exciting driving experience than you might expect.
Built on VW group’s MLB platform, the Macan shares around a third of its underbody components with the Audi Q5. The driving experience, however, feels distinctly Porsche, with an emphasis on interaction and enjoyment, rather than the load-lugging approach of the Q5.
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Porsche has worked hard to mask the Macan's mass and height, with the car exhibiting decent roll control and a steering setup that brings proper interaction. Opt for the driver-focused Macan GTS and things get better still. Although Porsche's attempts have been successful, and the Macan is certainly impressive, don't for a second think it comes close to a non-SUV Porsche for driver involvement.
The Macan ticks all the standard SUV boxes by offering a wide range of engines, from 2-litre four-pots, to a 3-litre turbodiesel V6 to taken from Audi, plus the range topping 434bhp twin-turbo petrol V6 in the Macan Turbo Performance Package.
Ultimately, it’s a well-rounded package with a price point that will likely see potential buyers of specced-up X3s and Q5s jumping ship for the Porsche badge. While it’s no 911, the Macan is sharper than most of its rivals, including the Cayenne. It isn’t a proper sports car, but the GTS and Turbo are the closest we’ve ever seen an SUV come to one.
Porsche Macan in detail
> Performance and 0-60 time - The basic 2-litre Macan manages a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds, but it's the Turbo Performance Package which is really quick off the line with a 4.4sec sprint time. Read more about the Porsche Macan's performance here
> Engine and transmission - None of the character of a naturally aspirated Porsche flat-six is here, but the turbo engines are impressive none the less. Read all about the Porsche Macan's range of engines here
> Ride and handling - Porsche has managed to engineer a steering system which makes the Macan a genuinely exciting car to drive. Best in class dynamics put it above other SUVs. Read more about the Porsche Macan's ride and handling here
> MPG and running costs - 44.8mpg for a Macan S Diesel makes it the most economical car in the range. Quicker Macan S and Turbo models are predictably less efficient. Read more about the Porsche Macan's MPG and running costs here
> Interior and tech - Fit and finish is very good, while added customisation options over rivals leave the car feeling more special than your standard premium crossover. Read more about the Porsche Macan's interior and tech here
Prices, specs and rivals
Pricing for the new Macan starts at just over £46,000, for the entry level 245bhp four-cylinder simply badged ‘Macan’. Move up the model pyramid a little over £2000 and you’ll find the similarly priced Macan S and Macan Diesel S, both sporting two more cylinders, both favouring performance rather than frugality compared to the four-pot.
The next jump (much bigger) lands you the Macan GTS sitting not far shy of £60,000. The Porsche 911 baiting, Macan Turbo Performance Package sits atop the range around the £70k mark, carrying a £6,000 premium on the regular Turbo.
Core German rivals come in the shape of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, although neither can match the Macan in terms of driving dynamics or interior quality. The recently released X3 undercuts the Macan by a significant £7000 at base level, with the range-topping 355bhp, M40i derivative elevating the sticker price into Macan territory, at nearly £53,000. With a few options ticked, though, the base level 4-cylinder Macan can very easily exceed the price of BMW’s range-topping X3 M40i. The Audi Q5 has a similar setup to the X3 but again, doesn’t have the premium feel of the Porsche.
Jaguar's F-Pace could well be the closest rival to the Macan. The entry-level F-Pace (about £35k) doesn’t provide genuine competition. The cheapest equivalent though, with a price price tag a few thousand less than the four-pot Macan is the 25t AWD. The British SUV is generally less expensive than the Porsche and offers more cabin space too. It’s the way the F-Pace drives that really takes it to the Macan. While not as dynamically resolved as polished the Porsche, it feels more natural to drive quickly.
The 434bhp Macan Turbo falls behind the F-Pace SVR in terms of pace and performance. Jaguar’s performance SUV sports a 542bhp supercharged 5-litre V8, capable of a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds and a 176mph top speed. The SVR is rather expensive though, setting you back around £10,000 more than the £63,000 price tag of the Macan Turbo. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio should get a mention, too, with its price almost identical to the Macan Turbo’s. It’s 95kg lighter and a second quicker from 0-62mph, but we’re not sure it has the fit and finish of Porsche’s offering.
Our first drive of the Range Rover Velar unveiled a car befitting of the brand’s luxury remit, erring more toward refinement in the same way the Porsche favours dynamics. Its boxier shape is neat and tidy, but doesn’t look as sporty as its rivals. The Land Rover off road legacy hasn’t been in ditched for their most focused model. Hit the rough stuff and the Macan will come up short where the Velar conquers on.
Options on the Macan are pricey, but standard kit isn't that bad. Parking sensors, cruise control and LED daytime running lights are all included. Opt for the GTS model and you get black exterior trim as standard as well as the option for alcantara interior touches.
The Porsche Communication Management system is now standard and facilitates Apple car play and bluetooth phone connectivity.
The Macan Turbo features PASM adaptive suspension as standard, but it's an £800-plus option on lesser variants and well worth considering.