So much more than a baby Cayenne.
It wasn’t all that long ago when fans of the Stuttgart brand were objecting to the idea of a Porsche SUV from every corner of the world. Owners and admirers were unified in their pleas, but change was inevitable: An SUV came, and it was called the Cayenne.
Fast forward to today, and Porsche’s SUV offerings have rooted themselves firmly in the landscape. And while the bigger Cayenne sold strongly through its years, Porsche thought it might be lonely, so it gave it a new sibling. The Macan has been critically acclaimed since it was introduced in 2014; Porsche kept trying to reassure critics that it’s a Porsche through-and-through, like we had any doubt to start with.
With impressive agility, attractive pricing, and great practicality, the Macan quickly gained traction among buyers, and is now a firm favourite in the segment, despite stiffening competition. Are the accolades deserved? Or have critics been won over solely by the badge?
“With a clear family resemblance, the Macan is unmistakably a Porsche. It’s arguably the most attractive non-sports car in the line-up, and looks compact and neatly proportioned in a way the bigger Cayenne doesn’t.” - AutoExpress
The Macan is “unmistakably Porsche.” The firm’s first attempt at an SUV was largely regarded as awful, but Porsche clearly got the message as they moved forward with new all-road offerings. The Macan is a marvellous looking thing, with an all-round design cohesion that is hard to match. Admittedly though, the Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Evoque get dangerously close in terms of outright aesthetics. Visually, choosing between the three is down almost entirely to preference.
Handsome looks aside, the Macan’s variety of suits will ensure that there’s a Macan for everyone. The range starts with the base Macan, before rising to the Macan S (available with either petrol or diesel power plants), the Macan GTS (the most aggressive looking of the lot), before topping out at the Turbo. While all cars enjoy the handsome bones, the different trim levels offer different dress up bits to make it appeal to more specific buyers.
Engine & Drivetrain
“The Turbo can complete the standing quarter in 13.5sec at 106.3mph.” - AutoCar UK
Are you sitting down? This may take some time. The Porsche Macan is available with a raft of engines. Turbocharged, naturally-aspirated, petrol, and diesel. The range kicks off with a base four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, with 185kW and 370Nm. It then rises to the Macan S, which is available with a V6 diesel or petrol; the 3.0-litre oil-burner manages 190kW and 580Nm, while the 3.0-litre bi-turbo petrol manages 250kW and 460Nm.
The next two trim levels are much, much hotter. There range goes up another step to the Macan GTS, with a 3.0-litre that manages to push out 265kW and 500Nm, completing the century sprint in just 5.0-seconds (with the Sport Chrono pack). The range tops off with the Macan Turbo, which takes a 3.6-litre turbocharged V6 and massages no less than 294kW and 550Nm out of its cylinders.
All Macan SUVs come with a 7-speed Porsche PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission as standard.
“Very classy, and easier to use than it looks at first glance.” - Telegraph UK
The interior of the Macan is, like the exterior, unmistakably Porsche. There’s a raised central tunnel lined with buttons, and a large central touchscreen for the infotainment system. The 7” screen displays the image from the standard-fit reverse camera, and plays its tunes out of no less than 11-speakers. I think it goes without saying that bluetooth and GPS are also standard fare.
Despite the concessions made to design, the Macan remains a very practical proposition regardless of trim level. All cars get lots of room for all passengers, with only the lankiest passengers able to complain of rear headroom. Space in the boot is large too, with 500l of cargo space with the seats up, and 1,500l with the 40:20:40 split-folded rear seats down. The boot lid is power-operated as standard as well, minimising the risk of Macan owners ever breaking a sweat.
Behind the Wheel
“The nitty-gritty aside, with the Macan range as a whole, the most impressive feature for us was the ride quality over the terribly surfaced roads of country Victoria. Like the Cayman, Boxster and 911, the Macan somehow aligns the worlds between dynamic handling and comfort with near-perfect precision.” - CarAdvice
Although this might be as close to a Porsche hot-hatchback as we will ever see, the driving experience of a Macan is something else entirely. It’s barely comparable to other performance-oriented SUVs on the market, with the closest competitor coming in the shape of the Audi SQ5. It displays the poise, the precision, and the dynamism that you’d expect from the Porsche badge, and proves that ‘SUV’ and ‘handling’ truly can mix, in even better fashion than the bigger Cayenne.
For best results, we advise potential owners to look at the Macan S turbo petrol, or the GTS. The former offers a smooth V6 rumble that will delight commuters and enthusiasts alike, while the latter offers a more visceral experience with its uprated power plant. But all cars will keep even the keenest of drivers happy, regardless of engine choice. In terms of driving experience, you simply cannot go wrong with the Macan. We’d dare you to try.
Safety & Technology
“There is no ANCAP safety rating for the Macan.” - CarsGuide
All Porsche Macan SUVs host safety features like eight airbags, stability control, traction control, pre-tensioning seat belts, ABS, and electronic brake force distribution.
Available as options across the board are things like active cruise control and voice recognition, to make the baby Porsche SUV a little bit safer. The Macan was rated by EuroNCAP at a maximum five-stars.
The Porsche Macan, as upsetting as it may be to brand purists, is one of the most dynamic SUVs in its segment, if not the outright leader. Though it may pain some to admit it, Porsche has learned a lot about making SUVs since launching the first Cayenne (which can be described, to an extent, as a misadventure), and are now rooting themselves firmly on this end of the market. With SUV sales making up almost three quarters of Porsche’s sales here in Australia, it’s highly unlikely that the ‘sport SUV’ concept will be abandoned by the firm anytime soon.
Of the plethora of Macan variants on offer, our recommendation lies with the Macan S Diesel. For the majority of buyers, the 3.0-litre oil burner will do duty day-in day-out just fine, with a healthy helping of torque available whenever they want to take the long way home. And the impressive fuel economy of 5.1l/100km will definitely help to broaden any smile that might be pining for a V6 petrol instead.
TopGear UK - 80/100 - “The Macan is the quickest, best-driving SUV on the planet.”
CarAdvice - 85/100 - “Our first experience with the Macan, though, suggests it will be capable of satisfying the vast numbers of buyers who will be new to the brand, and even the sports car traditionalists looking for classic Porsche traits in a more affordable, practical offering.”
Motoring - 84/100 - “But that [aurally underwhelming V6] is a minor blight on a soul-stirring, hot-blooded SUV that, at least until the M version of BMW’s upcoming X4 arrives, is likely to remain the world’s most sporting utility vehicle this side of a Lamborghini Urus.”
CarsGuide - 80/100 - “What none of those [competitors] have is Porsche's engineering prowess (Stuttgart says the Macan is 70 per cent their own, and feels it too) and for many people that badge is going to be super-important (even if total cost of ownership isn’t). As is that price - at well under $90,000 before on-roads, the petrol Macan S is a performance bargain and a cracker of an entry into Porsche ownership.”
Car & Driver? - 100/100 - “Porsche is having no trouble selling every Macan it can build. Here’s something we do know: If Porsche Design started making yoga pants, it wouldn’t be able to keep those on the shelves, either.”
WhatCar UK - 80/100 - “The Porsche Macan is the most driver-focused SUV yet, and is aimed at the sort of families who have outgrown a Cayman but who don’t want to give up the Porsche badge and the driving enjoyment that goes with it. Think of it as the best of both worlds – an enjoyable yet practical SUV.”
AutoExpress UK - 100/100 - “No matter which variant you choose, the Macan is a brilliant driver's car, combining SUV practicality with driving characteristics to equal even some sports cars.”
AutoCar UK - 90/100 - “Porsche calls the Macan “the sports car among compact SUVs”, and there can be no arguing with that. Across the board, very few rivals challenge either the Macan’s completeness or its sense of polish. And where it excels, there is simply nothing else like it.”