A Porsche is out of reach for most Australians, but its most affordable model means it’s closer than you might think.
Porsche’s top seller has received yet another update with more power and fresh styling ahead of an all-new electric model circa 2023. The Macan mid-size SUV family has shrunk from four models to three, with the top of the line-up Turbo – in name at least.
The Porsche shuffle starts at $84,800 before on-road cost sees the most affordable way.
That car, known simply as the Macan, is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo that is used in various Volkswagens and Audis. The engine now makes 195kW and 400Nm (up 10kW/30Nm), reducing the 0-100km/h time to 6.4 seconds. Like all Macans, it drives all four wheels.
It gets a powered tailgate, electric front seats, leather, smart-key entry, three-zone ventilation, 360-degree camera and 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat. There’s also an attractive range of colors and trims for personalization.
The flagship turbo (they all have turbos, but Porsche also uses this as a model designation) has been discontinued, but its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 stays in the GTS guise at 324kW/550Nm, Which costs more than $129,800.
Slotting between them is the Macan S ($105,800), which picks up the engine tune from the previous GTS, the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 making 280 kW and 520 Nm.
The 3.0-litre V6 used earlier in the Macan S has been discontinued.
New bumpers at the front and rear and refreshed wheels enhance the look, while the center console picks up a black plastic panel with integrated touchpad buttons around the gear lever, in line with others in the Porsche family.
The seats are hugged in all the right places and the rear ones have two USB ports that match the front ones. An old-school analog tachometer takes up space in the instrument cluster and there’s no button-press to start, just the turn of a fake key in the dash.
There are few clear spots for the phone and there is no wireless charging in the extensive options list. While Porsche is finally embracing Android Auto connectivity on other models, for now you’ll need an iPhone to use CarPlay functionality in the Macan.
The entry-level car lacks the radar for adaptive cruise and advanced auto braking functionality (that’s another $1620) that’s common on mainstream cars.
Aging but solid bones make for reassuringly sure progress through corners. The crisp, well-weighted steering is backed by great mid-corner grip that ensures it transitions from suburbs to sweeper with sweep.
Riding on standard 19-inch wheels ensures that the most affordable Macan tackles bumps well.
The four-cylinder engine is less reassuring. It’s fast—and helped by a sleek-shifting twin-clutch transmission that’s rare in an SUV—but it lacks the spark and outright oomph that some might expect in a Porsche.
The 2.9 V6 in the S resolves with a strong boom that rises to the upper revs. It’s a hearty unit that once you engage Sport Mode, or you can listen to 14-speaker Bose audio. Adaptive dampers control the ride while you’re pushing. The brakes are powerful and precise.
Riding on the optional 21-inch wheels further increases the level of grip, albeit with some low-speed fidgeting troubling comfort.
It’s not until you step into the GTS that you get heated front seats and the Sport Chrono system that brings launch control (it’s $1880 on the Macan and S).
With black highlights on the outside and a 10mm lower suspension, the GTS further enhances the agility. There are air springs instead of coils that widen the bandwidth between everyday normal mode and the most aggressive Sport Plus setting. While bumps can be made abruptly at low speeds, big hits have impressive control. Few SUVs attack corners with the speed and confidence of a GTS.
Acceleration is lively and when you press the throttle, it’s helped by a sports exhaust system with its beefy bass.
Macan in any form still shines through the corners.
The cheapest SUV from Porsche lacks some kit but delivers on cornering pizzazz.
Porsche Macan Vitalas
Price: Over $84,800 On-Roads
Warranty / Servicing: 3 years/unlimited km, approx $6800/75,000 km for 5 years
the protection: 8 airbags, lane-change assist, 360-degree camera
Device: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo, 195kW/400Nm
Thirst: 9.3 liters/100 km
Excessive: space saver
boot: 488L (Macan), 453L (S, GTS)