Porsche Macan review - engine and transmission
No diesel these days, but the four- and six-cylinder petrols are strong, the seven-speed PDK smooth, and the chassis well-equipped for deft handling
The entry-level Porsche Macan uses a 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine derived from the EA888 unit you'll find throughout much of the Volkswagen empire – and in cars such as the Volkswagen Golf R. In this application it actually develops less power than in VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda's hot hatchbacks, with 242bhp at 5000rpm, but there's a meaty 273lb ft of torque available from 1600rpm so performance is still on a par with many vehicles in the hot hatchback class.
It's not the most inspiring of engines though, particularly for a car wearing the Porsche crest. Step up to the petrol Macan S and things get more interesting. Its 3-litre twin-turbo V6 produces 349bhp and 354lb ft of torque, the latter from 1360rpm. The engine here is a marked step above the four-cylinder in the entry-level car in performance, character and response, and feels much more suited to pushing the heavy Macan body along. And, more importantly, more fitting for a Porsche.
Within the Macan range the GTS is not, perhaps surprisingly, at the top of the tree. Instead it sits between the S and the Turbo, both in terms of price and power output, with its turbocharged 3-litre V6 dispensing 375bhp at 5200-6700rpm, and 384lb ft from 1750 to 5000rpm.
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Really, though, it’s the Macan Turbo that delivers the most exhilarating performance. The most recent model update ditched the old 3.6-litre engine and brought in a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 similar to that of Audi’s RS4 and RS5 models. Power has risen by 39bhp to 434bhp at 5700-6600rpm, and it also gets 406lb ft from 1800 to 5600rpm.
It uses a seven-speed PDK twin-clutch auto – the transmission standard across the entire Macan range. It seems that the overlong gearing that blights the Boxster and Cayman is also present and (in)correct with the Macan. The PDK works well enough, with fast and smooth shifting, but if you hang on to gears in manual mode you’re looking at high (and illegal) speeds in second and third. Shifts are very smooth, very fast and particularly responsive to the paddles, though – PDK remains one of the best dual-clutch transmissions on the market.
While none of the turbocharged engines has quite the character of one of Porsche’s (increasingly rare) naturally aspirated flat-sixes, it’s hard to argue with the figures they produce, particularly given the size and weight of the Macan. A basic 2-litre Macan is 1795kg, rising to 1945kg for the Macan Turbo.
It’s got a proper sports car chassis though, with double wishbones at both ends and on the GTS and Turbo, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is standard fit (it’s £816 on the others), with an air-sprung PASM set-up optional at £1860 on the Macan and S, or £1044 on the GTS and Turbo. Ceramic brakes are an option too, at nearly £5700.