Following its controversial decision to enter the SUV marketplace with the Cayenne of 2002, it took Porsche another 12 years before it added a second high-riding vehicle to its line-up. But the Macan was worth the wait – based on the underpinnings of the Audi Q5, Porsche’s chassis engineers nevertheless managed to work their particular brand of magic on it, so much so that we’re inclined to say it’s the most rewarding SUV to drive in the world. The Macan is a mid-sized, five-seat premium SUV.
Porsche launched the Macan with a three-strong line-up, made up of a pair of petrol models and then a solitary diesel. A twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol could be found in the 340hp/460Nm Macan S, while the flagship was the mighty Macan Turbo – its 3.6-litre biturbo V6 could deliver 400hp/500Nm as standard, or 440hp/600Nm if fitted with the Performance Pack. Meanwhile, the Macan S Diesel used the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel to pack 258hp/560Nm. That meant all launch Macans could do at least 230km/h and 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds or less (as low as 4.4 seconds, in the case of the Turbo). In 2015, a Macan GTS arrived, which had a 20hp/40Nm boost to the V6 of the S for peak outputs of 360hp/500Nm, while a 10mm lower, upgraded chassis, model-specific wheel and tyre package and the brakes from the Turbo made it an even sharper Macan to drive. A 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Macan (252hp/370Nm) base model was also introduced in several key markets, where it was normally special order, but after a midlife facelift in late 2018 the 2.0-litre model became the default entry point – power had dropped marginally to 245hp, although torque remained the same. The Macan S, meanwhile, gained the same engine as used in the Audi SQ5 TFSI, rated at 354hp and a slightly lower torque level of 480Nm (500Nm in the Audi), which nevertheless still meant increases on the pre-facelifted Porsche SUV’s peak figures. Facelift-model Macans can be most easily identified at the rear, where a full-width light strip was added to the boot lid, while inside they also gained a larger display screen for the Porsche Communication Management infotainment.
If you’re going pre-facelift, then the GTS is a sound purchase – as it’s a little more special to drive than the S, without being as expensive to buy and run as the Turbo. Post-facelift, the 3.0-litre V6 S is definitely the one to go for.
Porsche Macan S (2019MY)
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol
Maximum speed: 254km/h
0-100km/h: 5.1 seconds
Fuel consumption: 8.6 litres/100km
• Stunning chassis dynamics
• Strong line-up of engines
• Appealing aesthetics
• Cramped rear-seat space
• 2.0-litre models uninspiring
• No diesel option any more
SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle and there are many detractors of this particular breed of car that say they cannot possibly be sporty in any way, shape or form. The Porsche Macan, though, scotches that hypothesis – this is a brilliant machine to drive, best considered as a sports car that just happens to ride a little bit higher off the ground. Avoid the four-cylinder models and what you have here is one of the best SUVs on the planet, pure and simple.