In recent years the premium small SUV market has exploded, the Evoque started it all and since then Audi, VW, and BMW have all jumped on the bandwagon. Porsche have spied this lucrative segment and launched the Macan.
We tested the whole range but will focus on the Turbo model. It packs a 3.6 litre twin turbo petrol V6, meaning this baby SUV has 394 BHP and 550 Nm of torque. 0-60 is 4.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono package (an optional extra fitted to our car).
A Macan Turbo in standard guise will set you back £59,300. Our test car had some notable options – 21 inch alloys, torque vectoring, panoramic sunroof, and a TV tuner. In total our Macan Turbo cost £67,423.
Looks wise the Macan is a mash up of its bigger brother the Cayenne, and the rear of the new 918. Up front is very much downsized Cayenne, it has the same instantly recognisable bonnet, grille and lights.
Its side profile is reminiscent of the Audi Q3, a shallow angled rear window meets the Macans falling roofline. At the back end you find some wide, futuristic looking LED brake lights, inspiration for these was taken directly from the 918 Spyder. A deep diffuser cuts up into the rear bumper, whilst up top you will find a stubby rear spoiler.
It’s a smart looker, I’m glad Porsche haven’t gone the route of some other manufacturers in simply scaling down a current design *cough* BMW.
Now with nigh on 400 BHP at your disposal the Macan Turbo was never going to be slow. Accelerate from a standstill and just watch as the numbers grow on the speedo, before you know it you’re at 60. But you are so well insulated from any noise, along with the outside world that it feels far more sedate. Much like the Range Rover Sport it builds speed like you wouldn’t believe…you simply don’t notice it.
Handling (naturally) is excellent. It feels like a hot hatch in terms of size and weight. Porsche based the driving dynamics of the Macan on the 911 not the Cayenne, they wanted to make a sporty small SUV…they have done just that!
Steering is very sharp through the electronically assisted setup, point it into a corner and it turns in without a problem, no understeer at all. Body roll is so minimal it’s basically non-existent when in Sport +.
We also tested a Macan with air suspension, this is meant to be the softer of the two setups and we did notice more body roll creeping in, but only when pushing the Macan to its limits on track at Goodwood.
Our Turbo was fitted with the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV) system, this gives you superb levels of grip in corners. It works the same way as any other torque vectoring system, in that it brakes the inside rear wheel allowing power to transfer to the outermost wheel (the one that has more grip). You can really push into tight corners at high speed completely trouble free, it makes for some great B road driving!
Exhaust wise we expected more, the standard note has a slight zip and barp on up change but no real backfire or rumbling. Unfortunately none of the models on test were fitted with the active exhaust, but here is what the standard one sounds like.
Now for the biggie…we also drove the Macan S on the day. There’s no easy way of saying this…but Porsche have made the Macan S too damn good!
It packs a 3.0 litre twin turbo V6 that produces 335 BHP and 460 Nm of torque, this means you get a 0 – 60 time of 5.2 seconds (with the Sport Chrono package). So it’s only 0.6 seconds slower…and to be honest you don’t really notice the difference, at all.
Drive both back to back and you will feel that the Turbo nudges you forward a little bit faster, but over everyday driving you wouldn’t miss it.
It’s not like the Turbo has any fancy gadgets or gizmos that you’ll miss out on either, you can still spec the Sport Chrono package, you can still add the PASM active suspension and it will cost you a packet less than a standard Turbo!
Finally we drove the Macan S Diesel, one word…wow. It’s truly amazing how far premium diesel tech has come in the last few years.
Fire up the Macan S Diesel and it doesn’t sound like a tractor at all, plant your foot to the floor, let the revs rise and still it doesn’t sound like a diesel. The only thing that will give the game away are the great big dollops of surging torque under acceleration, 580 Nm to be precise. All that being produced by a 3.0 litre V6 turbo unit. Again it’s not a slow car, 0-60 is 6.1 seconds and it’s tipped to be the UK’s biggest seller!
Once inside the Macan you will find standard Porsche fare. High build quality and a plethora of buttons. Up top the center console is kept quite simple, a large touchscreen sits above the infotainment controls. Below is a flap emblazoned with the Porsche name – just in case you forget what you’re in – behind it sits the CD slot.
Either side of the gearstick you find the bulk of the buttons. These control the temperature, seat cooling/heating, and the all-important driving modes. This is also where you’ll see a ton of blanking plates if you opt for a poverty spec Macan…a little disappointing. A single metal strip that covered all these blanking plates would have been far more subtle.
You get a gorgeous 3 spoke steering wheel, clad in aluminium it’s a work of art, and a joy to touch. It does however feel a tad big in the Macans rather more bijou cabin, I’m sure a small Alcantara covered model will be released in the near future.
Rear seat legroom is a little on the tight side, an averaged size adult can fit but their knees will be millimetres away from the backrest. Headroom is fairly decent thanks to the low seating position.
Boot space is great at 500 litres and easily on par with its rivals, only being beaten by BMW’s newbie the X3, but it looks as though Porsche have sacrificed some rear legroom to get this high capacity.
The new Porsche Macan proves you can still have a small SUV without sacrificing on performance. It’s so impressive how well this car handles seeing as it’s so stocky and upright, it just shouldn’t feel this good!
Model wise we would opt for the Macan S over the Turbo. Whilst the Turbo is a great car the inflated price tag can’t be justified when you compare the two…spec a Macan S with PASM, PTV, Sport Chrono and you can pick one up for a smidge under £46k.
Maybe wait for the Turbo GTS if you are looking for something more special in looks, and sound.
Porsche Macan Turbo – Damn quick, feels like a hot hatch, save money, buy the S!
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter