Porsche Macan review – still the high performance SUV benchmark
Recently updated, the Porsche Macan is still the class champion and unlike most rivals a genuinely captivating drive
If it feels like the Porsche Macan has been around for a long time it’s because in car years it kind of has. First introduced in 2014, the Macan has been a raging success for Porsche, making the brand accessible (or justifiable) to a whole range of new buyers, while trading on typical Porsche character traits such as peerless driving dynamics and build quality.
It’s the first element of those which is particularly telling, as the Macan’s dynamic clout is the very element which has kept it relevant over all these years, driving with genuine involvement and capability.
For 2021, Porsche has given the range another shake-up, dropping the Turbo model and consolidating the engine range. Visual changes are very subtle, with only the gentlest of exterior updates, joined inside by an adoption of flat touch-sensitive controls around the gear lever and an upgraded infotainment screen.
What will come after the Macan? Porsche is in the final stages of development of its all-electric replacement, which just like the current Macan, will share underpinnings with an Audi equivalent. Rather than immediately replacing the current combustion model when it arrives in 2023, though, both will be sold alongside each other until legislation, or customer demand, eventually calls time on the petrol-powered model.
Porsche Macan: in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical specs – Only petrol four-cylinder and V6 options remain, the latter now just the one 2.9-litre unit
- Performance and 0-60 time – No Macan is slow, but S and GTS models are genuinely rapid
- Ride and handling – Weight counts against ultimate agility, but the Macan’s chassis is one of the best of any SUV
- MPG and running costs – The lack of a diesel or hybrid harms efficiency. The petrols do get close to their official figures, though
- Interior and tech – While the cabin architecture is aging, tech is top-notch and it feels brilliantly put together
- Design – It can look a little clumsy in some specifications, but choose well and it’ll still turn heads
Prices, specs and rivals
Pricing for the new Macan starts at £50,800 for the entry-level 262bhp four-cylinder simply badged ‘Macan’. The four-cylinder Macan T arrived in late 2022 with the same powertrain as the base Macan adding instead a raft of usually optional extra kit for £55,800.
Move up and you’ll find £56,800 the Macan S, sporting two more cylinders and another uplift in standard kit.
Sitting at the top of the tree is the Macan GTS at £68,800, which is a fair chunk more expensive than before, but now effectively replaces the previous Turbo. Both GTS and S feature the same 2.9-litre V6 engine; the GTS packing a higher state of tune.
Other German rivals come in the shape of the recently updated BMW X4 and Audi Q5, although niether can match the Macan in terms of driving dynamics. The X4 undercuts the Macan by only a few grand at base level, while the range-topping 355bhp M40i derivative elevates the sticker price into Macan GTS territory, at £61,910. The Q5 Sportback meanwhile begins at £41,420, and rises to £60,635 for the SQ5, which is now in diesel-only form. The GLC range is has been revitalised, but we're still waiting on AMG models to be revealed that will have the controverisal four-cylinder powertrain in mild- and plug-in hybrid forms.
Outside of the German brands the closest equivalents are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Velar. All feature high-performance variants, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio using a 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 and the other two a 5-litre supercharged V8, but of them all (and including the Germans) it’s the Alfa that gets closest to the Macan, and possibly even eclipses it.
The Macan naturally feels more sophisticated and is the better built of the pair, but the Stelvio’s startling performance, impressive ability and silly soundtrack will give it the edge for some. At £74,900 the Quadrifoglio isn’t cheap (though nor is it excessive for a car with 503bhp), but it’s a lot of fun.