4 Dec 2014

Porsche Macan Review

Matt Hubbard reviews the new Porsche Macan, the Cayenne's smaller,  sportier sibling

Porsche Macan S Diesel
Porsche Macan S Diesel

Back in 2002 the Cayenne took all the 'why the hell is Porsche making an SUV?' flak, and then doubled Porsche's worldwide sales.

The deed was done, Porsche was no longer purely a sports car company, it was a manufacturer of sports cars but also of off-roaders and luxury saloons. The Cayenne introduced the concept of a large SUV to Porsche's customers, and made the company a pot of money. So much so it made sense for a smaller SUV to accompany it in the model line-up, alongside the Panamera, 911, Cayman and Boxster.

The Porsche Macan was launched earlier this year. It is sportier but less able off-road than the Cayenne. But it still looks like an SUV with five doors, the engine at the front and an elevated profile that still has that slightly odd front end that tries to look like a 911 and doesn't quite succeed. We've kind of got used to the concept with the Cayenne but it succeeds more so in the Macan.

Elsewhere the look is purposeful and muscular with a steeply sloped rear window atop which sits a small roof spoiler and huge air-gulping gills in the front quarters.

Interior space is quite reasonable and no worse than in an Evoque. The overall shape and feel of the interior is similar to the more expensive Cayenne but somehow feels better, more luxurious. The devil in the details and the details abound in the stitching, quality of materials and look and feel of the switches and dials. It says class, it feels quality.
Porsche Macan S Diesel
Porsche Macan S Diesel

It comes at a price though. The Macan S Diesel which I drove on the road (I took the Turbo for a spin on track) costs £43,300 but the leather interior costs £1,052, electric sports seats cost £1,214 and heating elements for those seats costs £219. Even cruise control is a £348 option.

The driver is cocooned in figure-hugging seats, with a tall centre console festooned with chassis and exhaust buttons. You sit relatively low for an SUV - the steering wheel sits in your lap and the pedal box is deep.

It's meant to feel like you're sitting in a sports car - and it does.

The touchscreen and controls are pretty much the same as they are in all Porsches, which is to say efficient, ergonomically constructed and with an expensive feel.  The steering wheel is trimmed in a lovely, soft leather and has the usual buttons and dials, although cruise control is dealt with via a lever below the indicator and is not as intuitive as in many other cars.

I tested the Macan S Diesel and the Turbo. The Turbo costs £59,648 and produces 400hp and 400lb ft from a 3.6 litre V6 petrol.  It is seriously, properly fast.

The S Diesel gets a 3-litre V6 with 258hp and a mighty 428b ft of torque.  It is also no slouch.
Porsche Macan S Diesel
Porsche Macan S Diesel

Both engines are more than up to the task of propelling the Macan in a straight line very quickly.  The  7-speed PDK gearbox is honed for road use but also works fantastically well on track. You hardly need to use the paddles.

The Turbo sounds great and the S Diesel is, thankfully, dead quiet and smooth - on the road you wouldn't know it is an oil-burner, aside from the masses of torque.

Power is delivered to the road by four wheel drive. The rear axle is in constant use and power can be sent to the front wheels if required - the opposite of many four wheel drive systems. A display in the instrument binnacle shows the proportion of torque going to each axle. Under hard acceleration or cornering it normally sits at 66 rear 34 front.

The Macan drives in a manner that belies its shape and bulk - the diesel weighs 1,880kg.  Fair enough the engines provide lots of power but it feels sprightly.

Turn into a corner and the transition from 5-seat SUV to sports car is startling. The Macan really does handle. The steering set-up provides for great grip and neutral turn-in whilst the wider rear track and rear-biased power delivery helps give it a push rather than pull in the corners.

The ride is good too, although not quite as good as in an Evoque.  Its off-road ability is also not quite so good - the handling and general abilities are more suited for on-road work, where it beats the Evoque hands down.
Porsche Macan S Diesel
Porsche Macan S Diesel

The Porsche Macan is one of the best all-round cars on the market. It's spacious, practical, fast, fun to drive, good value (unless or until you start speccing it with expensive options) and, in diesel form, economical.

The only real problem with the Macan is that you can't get your hands on a UK model until the end of 2015. Porsche GB has already used up it's allocation for 2014 and 2015 right through 'til the autumn. For those lucky enough to have ordered one and taken delivery there's not much to beat it.


Car - Porsche Macan S Diesel

Price - £43,300
Engine - 3-litre, V6, turbo-diesel
Tranbsmission - 7-speed PDK automatic
0-62mph - 6.3 seconds
Top speed - 142mph
Power - 258bhp
Torque - 428lb ft / 580Nm
Economy - 46.3mpg
CO2 - 159g/km
Kerb weight - 1,880kg

Car - Porsche Macan Turbo

Price - £59,648
Engine - 3.6 litre, V6, turbo
Tranbsmission - 7-speed PDK automatic
0-62mph - 4.8 seconds
Top speed - 165mph
Power - 400bhp
Torque - 406lb ft / 550Nm
Economy - 30.7mpg
CO2 - 216g/km
Kerb weight - 2,000kg
Porsche Macan S Diesel
Porsche Macan S Diesel

Porsche Macan S Diesel
Porsche Macan S Diesel

By Matt Hubbard