Porsche Macan – Premium Compact SUV Is A Cracker.
Amazing Performance, Unbeatable Quality, Serene Ride.
“The Cayenne, probably the most universally loathed vehicle by non-Porsche drivers because of its sudden, scary, arrogant appearances in many rear-view mirrors seeming to say ‘get out of my way’”
For – fast, comfortable, useful, great quality.
Against – bland looks.
Rating – **** out of 5
GOODWOOD, Sussex – Maybe a shade sheepishly, Porsche calls its new Macan, the sports car among compact SUVs.
I say sheepishly because when Porsche first dived into the SUV segment with the Cayenne in 2002 it outraged the purists, who insisted the German luxury sports car manufacturer was trashing its heritage by making what was really a van. How could a utilitarian concoction like an SUV have anything to do with the tradition of super-fast, precise handling, spartan/luxury roadsters and sports cars?
It turns out that the Cayenne, probably the most universally loathed vehicle by non-Porsche drivers because of its sudden, scary, arrogant appearances in many rear-view mirrors seeming to say “get out of my way”, has been a money making machine for Porsche. So all doubts about tradition naturally disappeared.
The Cayenne was always a Volkswagen Touareg in disguise, originally bought by the company from VW for around £20,000, then sold on after being tweaked by Porsche engineers for sometimes north of £75,000. The new Macan, which means “Tiger” in Indonesian, is a smaller variation on this theme, with Porsche using the basic engineering from an Audi Q5, then weaving its magic. Porsche’s decision to hold the Macan launch at the Goodwood motor racing circuit underlines this vestigial “guilt” perhaps, as it was determined to demonstrate that this was above all else, a sporty machine at home on the track as well as the school run and the point to point.
Goodwood And Porsche certainly achieved that. Journalists at the launch were issued with crash helmets and instructors and let loose on the Goodwood circuit, a traditional old track with many fast, sweeping corners and not many tight ones. The instructors made sure all the handling gizmos were employed, like Porsche Torque Vectoring, which sharpens up throttle, steering and suspension responses at the touch of a button. Of course, at the limit, (which I of course got nowhere near) responses were impeccable with all gizmos employed. Well, at least I didn’t skid off the track or roll-over, not that I was brave enough to get close to that. Later, we ventured out into the real world with the diesel version, which of course is likely to be the big seller. The diesel felt extraordinarily sharp and eager when the “sports mode” switch was pressed. At other times it rode along quietly and serenely. And of course it is an SUV so it can also carry masses of stuff.
Seven speed automatic There are two petrol engine-powered versions. The Macan Turbo has a 3.6 litre V6 biturbo motor producing 400 hp. It blasts from rest to 60 mph in under five seconds with a top speed of 165 mph. The Macan S has a 3 litre V6 producing 340 hp and is not quite so fast. The 3 litre V6 diesel produces 258 hp. All versions have seven speed automatic gearboxes and four-wheel drive. Options include air suspension and the Porsche Torque Vectoring. Serious enthusiasts can order things like “launch control” for maximum performance on the race track, and ceramic brakes for longer-lasting and more powerful braking.
When you clamber aboard the Macan, you will be impressed with the fantastic quality of the interior, which seems to wrap itself around the driver. All the buttons and switches are top drawer, the dashboard and dials fabulous.
Porsche says several Macan styling cues are taken from other Porsche sports cars, and then enhanced.
“It is therefore clear to see from the very first glance that the Porsche Macan is the first compact SUV that is also a sports car,” says the Porsche blurb.
I’m not so sure about that, and Porsche’s claim that the body has a “coupe” look is risible. In fact, it is very hard to find anything negative to say about the Macan, but its looks are decidedly bland, just like its big-brother the Cayenne. They look very similar.
Off-road mode In the unlikely event you would want to risk damaging this expensive machine in the country, you can activate off-road mode by pressing a button in the centre console at a speed of between 0 and 50 mph. Another button activates downhill assistance from the Porsche Hill Control system, keeping the speed constant during descents, and can be adjusted to between 3 and 18 mph. I can’t imagine selecting 18 mph for a downhill jaunt, but maybe with a couple of valium tablets…….
The Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system has been adapted to the Macan in order to improve driving dynamics and driving stability. Every Macan is fitted with a Sport button as standard. Press the Sport button and the electronic engine management system makes the engine even more responsive. A touch on the accelerator pedal results in a noticeably more direct response from the engine, the rev-limiter is set to a more specific level and the engine dynamics take on a “motorsport feel”, whatever that is.
Choice of three There are three chassis versions available for the Macan, steel springs, a combination of the steel spring design and the so-called PASM system which comes as standard in the Macan Turbo top model, or the optional air suspension including a leveling system, height adjustment and PASM.
The Macan has come late to the scene, but it immediately seems to present a stronger case than even the other German opposition, although there will of course be a premium price to pay for all this. In an uphill struggle to find something negative to say about the Macan, the best I can come up with is that it looks a bit bland, a bit dull. Which of course it isn’t. At least that absolves me from awarding the Macan a perfect 5 out of 5.
|Porsche Macan S Diesel|
|Engine:||3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel|
|Power:||258 hp @ 4,000-4,250|
|Torque:||580 Nm @ 1,750-2,500|
|Acceleration:||0-62 mph-100 km/h 6.3 seconds|
|Top Speed:||143 mph-230 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined – 44.8 mpg-6.3 l/km|
|Emissions class:||Euro 6|
|Boot capacity:||500-1,500 litres|
|Competition:||Audi Q5, Mercedes GLK, Range Rover Evoque, BMW X3, X4, Volvo XC60|
|For:||fast, comfortable, useful, great quality|