Porsche Macan Review
Pick the right model and the Porsche Macan SUV feels like a more practical 911. It’s an impressive engineering achievement.
- Great engine choice
- Luxurious cabin
- Amazing handling
- Expensive, as are optional extras
- Not that spacious inside, especially back seats
- Limited off-road ability, especially on bigger wheel options
Purists thought it sacrilege when legendary German sports car company Porsche started making the Cayenne sports utility vehicle in 2002.
But it became Porsche’s best-selling car, a veritable cash cow, and this time Porsche is showing SUVs don’t have to look ugly either with the smaller, sexier Macan.
Despite being based on the Audi Q5, as the Cayenne is on the Volkswagen Touareg, the Macan behaves like a proper Porsche.
Porsche expects the diesel model to be the best seller in the UK, even though it is the least exciting of the three main models to drive.
On the Road
Brilliant driving enjoyment is matched by acceleration that will surprise your passengers because the Macan is truly sporty.
Even the 2-litre 237bhp petrol takes only 6.9 seconds to go from rest to 62mph, says Porsche, but I doubt if anyone has ever seen one as buyers tend to go for higher models.
The Macan S with its 3 litre V6 twin-turbo and 340 hp reduces this time to 5.2 seconds.
The top of the range Turbo model with its 3.6 litre V6 twin-turbo engine is ridiculously fast. Thanks to its 400 hp 0- 62 mph takes just 4.8 seconds. Hilarious.
Our test Macan S Diesel feels like an elevated long distance sports car but with 258bhp on tap can still claw its way to 62mph in 6.3 seconds.
The turbo diesel engine comes from Audi – the VW Group now owns Porsche – and it’s a strong motor with a whalloping 427 lbs ft of torque. The petrol engines are smoother though and sound much throatier.
On non speed limited autobahns in Germany the S can reach 156mph, the S Diesel 143mph and the Turbo 165mph.
Whichever model you choose you get a get a fast changing, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Porsche proved that even big SUVs don’t have to be lumbering elephants when it launched the Cayenne back in 2002.
Yet how the Macan can attack a twisty road is the car’s biggest surprise. Despite its size and weight you need a test track to really find its amazing limits and in a powerful enough engine version it’s not far off the excellent Porsche Cayman sports car and that’s incredible.
If you weren’t impressed initially you would be once you pressed the little ‘sport’ button because the accelerator response gets sharper, the steering quicker and the gear change faster.
The rear wheels are wider than the front for handling balance and because the car is rear-wheel drive most of the time, power being sent to the front as well depending on traction and weight transfer.
The suspension also firms up on Macans fitted with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) for £785, which is standard on the top of the range Turbo.
I f comfort matters more than maximum g-force cornering ability, limousine-style air suspension is optional in place of steel springs.
You would be hard pushed to know how many gears are in the automatic transmissions because it slurs its changes so smoothly.
Wind and road noise are impressively low and the Macan boasts a sound system better than most of us have at home so that long journeys simply melt away – traffic permitting!
Any engine noise virtually disappears at cruising speeds.
Even on the sport setting the suspension copes well with our poorly maintained and harshly surfaced (compared to Germany where the Macan is made) roads.
All the controls, except for the slightly dead feeling brakes on the test car, work with a precision which makes them a pleasure to use.
There were no annoying creaks or rattles, even when tackling a farm track.
In the car
The driving position is spot on and with electric seat adjustment you can make small changes on a long journey to keep you comfortable.
But the centre console is like a giant mobile phone with a mass of buttons and is confusing at first.
The huge glass sunroof makes the interior feel spacious, but it reduces headroom.
Rear seat legroom is quite tight if you are tall.
Cruising is relaxed and comfortable so that fuel and comfort breaks are going to be the only reason to stop on that holiday trip to Cornwall.
Porsche brakes are usually exemplary, but the Macan’s did less than inspire.
Wide windscreen pillars mean care to watch for motorcyclists at staggered junctions and the rear window is small too.
Standard kit on all models includes 18in alloy wheels, an electric rear tailgate, folding door mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a multi-function steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, leather and Alcantara seats, tyre pressure monitoring and electrically adjustable driver’s seat.
There’s also a DAB radio, colour touch screen and a 14-speaker audio system. Only Turbo models, from £60,338 get satellite navigation and bi-xenon headlights as standard. Even then Bluetooth( £271) and cruise control (£350) are extras.
You wouldn’t buy a Porsche Macan if cabin and boot space were your main criteria.
The front seats are fine but taller passengers wouldn’t want to spend ages in the rear pews.
Boot space is a sensible rectangular box of 500 litres capacity but there are rivals with more room. At least, the rear seats fold flat easily to increase carrying capacity to 1,500 litres.
The car is easy to load but you need a protective cover if you don’t want to damage the plush carpeting in the boot area.
Similar ‘issues’ have not harmed sales of the Range Rover Evoque and the Porsche Macan will suit an equal number of people’s lifestyle, especially if they want something sportier.
According to the official fuel tests the S Diesel achieves 44.8mpg on the combined cycle and one motoring magazine recorded 40.7mpg.
We got near this cruising but over a typical half hour 17 miles mixed journey out of an urban area the test car’s on-board computer said only 29.4mpg.
Fuel consumption was 33.7mpg when hustling and 40.9mpg coming back from Stansted Airport when gentle driving in heavy traffic I actually saw a best of 45.3mpg.
Fuel consumption is very throttle dependent clearly!
The car comes with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty.
High demand for the Macan means depreciation isn’t going to worry you, even after three years.
We have even heard of owners being offered over list price by dealers with customers willing to pay to jump the waiting list.
Carbon dioxide emissions of 164g/km put the Macan S Diesel into band G with annual road tax of £180.
Options include communications and navigation pack £2,007, Bluetooth phone £793, cruise control £348, front sports seats £1,214 and bi-xenon lights £1,060.
Visually and to drive the Porsche looks and feels a tough, quality product at a premium price.
Certainly there are no reports of any significant problems so far.
But we had one electronic glitch. On a motorway doing 60-65mph there was suddenly a chime and a message saying there was a fault in the 4ngine control system.
The glow plug warning light also came on. We couldn’t pull over because of road works and at the next exit turning the engine off and back on ‘cured’ the problem.
In a crash the Macan deforms in a planned way to absorb impact energy. High-strength steel reinforcements protect occupants in a side impact.
Two-stage driver and front passenger airbags; side and knee airbags for driver and front passenger and curtain head airbags at the front and rear provide further protection.
Safety systems include lane departure warning and lane change assist.
Radar monitors continually vehicles ahead. If it detects a possible collision it prepares the braking system and brake assistant. If a collision looks more likely the system emits visual and audible warnings and jolts the brake pedal.
If the driver doesn’t brake enough, the system can increase the brake pressure up to full braking.
About a quarter of injury accidents are multiple collision ones where a second collision follows the first. On the Macan, the system automatically brakes the car if in a crash to reduce the residual energy.
When the airbag sensors detect a collision the system initiates maximum braking. The Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system limits deceleration to 0.6 g, so the driver can maintain control.
The Macan scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests with 88% front seat protection and 87% child protection.