With its powerful engine and well-tuned chassis, the Macan is a blend of perfection, finds Alvin Thomas.
Wait, honey! Who shrunk the Porsche? Oh, wait! It’s the Macan (not the larger Cayenne) that I’m testing this week. And depending on one’s views, the new Macan may actually be visually similar or a whole lot different to its bigger brother. To me, however, it looks very much like a Cayenne – and I adore that.
And to be completely honest, I’ve been looking to get behind the wheel of a Macan for a while now. Ever since I test-drove the Jaguar F-Pace, I’ve always wanted to know which of the two is the better.
But you’ll have to read till the very end to get the answer.
Let’s start with the exterior: the Porsche Macan S, as aforementioned, looks very much like the Cayenne. But, thanks to its smaller exterior and shorter wheelbase, the Macan actually looks a whole lot sportier and more aggressive than its sibling.
The whole car also sits around 10cm lower than the Cayenne. Apart from that, you get the same four-dot LEDs, similar-looking air intakes on the bumpers and the same bold-looking menacing exterior, sans a boxy roof from the bigger SUV, thanks to its sloping coupe-like roofline.
My tester also had 50cm blacked-out Sport Classic wheels and Porsche’s air suspension setup with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and three modes, namely: “Sport”, “Comfort” and “Sport Plus” all very necessary for that added level of sportiness.
Inside, however, things are a bit different. Everything about the Macan’s interior is designed to be like that of the company’s 911 sportscar. It’s all very inspired and elegant. There’s a lot of leather everywhere, from the padding on the doorsills and the armrests to the seats. The rest comprises soft-touch plastics.
The headroom is excellent, both in the front and back – and this is despite the sloping roofline. The steering wheel is well-sized, and wrapped in leather while the seats offer excellent amounts of bolstering for lateral support during cornering. Overall, the Macan is a very nice place to be.
Now, let’s gloss over to the Macan’s powertrain. My tester – the Macan S, came with Porsche’s brilliant 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 breathing out a hefty 340 horsepower and 460Nm of torque, and connected to the company’s seven-speed dual-clutch “PDK” transmission sending power to all four wheels.
Driving the Macan is quite an event, to say the least. I found myself driving with the “Sport Mode” engaged at all times, and the suspension set to “Sport Plus” for maximum attack on our highways (well within the limits).
But since this is an SUV (and because I didn’t trash the F-Pace on the mountain roads), I spent most of the time driving on the roads, only going hard to overtake slow-moving traffic.
I found the engine to be potent, and the gearbox to be extremely responsive. Hitting the 100kph mark from a standstill took a mere 6.1 seconds (although that could be due to the summer heat). I would imagine that the Macan could do better when the heat drops.
But, I could feel no turbo-lag in the engine upon flooring the accelerator. Moreover, the gearbox is lightning-quick on upshifts and downshifts. It even held gears hitting 100kph in third gear – to maintain the revs for a quick acceleration manoeuvre.
The steering is extremely well-weighted, and precise, too. As an added treat, I was able to get feedback from the steering – a rare find in today’s day and age. Apart from that the brakes are excellent too, saving me when I messed up on a corner.
The Macan’s all-wheel-drive system also sends, at all times, above 50 per cent of its power to its rear wheels.
So, there’s no easy way to say this: the Macan is a mental corner-muncher. It does not take corners like a regular SUV; it devours them like a 911 sportscar!
The SUV is extremely tail-happy even with the traction control on the “on” position and the meaty tyres as it drifts itself into corners happily. But, don’t get me wrong: these drifts are actually easy to handle too as the computer kicks in to take control of the rear wheels.
My Macan S tester, despite sitting on the lowest of Porsche’s SUV food chain, also came with quad-exhausts that crackle and pop upon hard throttle, bringing back memories of my time with the Jaguar F-Pace.
This brings me back to my earlier question: is the Porsche Macan better than the F-Pace? It’s one of the hardest choices I will have to make so I’m going to be objective here. The Porsche Macan is everything Porsche claims it to be.
It really is one of the best SUVs they’ve ever built, and I would go as far as saying that the Macan is the 911 of the SUVs. So the real question here is: is the 911 better than the Jaguar F-Type?
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