Porsche Macan - Life Intensified
What a lovely sight seeing six Porsche Macan S models awaiting us. From the front, these compact sports SUVs leave you in no doubt of their heritage, for they reflect many areas of the Porsche brand’s well-known characteristics. The 911 and 918’s influences are clear in the design. Not only is the look sporty, but the cars also ooze agility. The Macan is labelled as the first sports car in the compact SUV segment.
If one considers that SUVs are seen as the main growth point of the motor industry worldwide, Porsche is already creating a frenzy with the Macan. Not only is Porsche the first manufacturer to enter the compact SUV segment with the Macan as the first sports car, but it is also setting the trend and the benchmark for other brands to follow.
A number of manufacturers would like to claim the same thing, but only after experiencing the Porsche Macan first-hand will they realise that there is still a lot of work to do to be a contender for this position. The Porsche Macan S is truly a premium and quality brand that is both sporty and agile when driven hard, yet docile and comfortable for day-to-day driving.
Although it is said to be compact, the Macan never gives one the impression of being compact. I was amazed at its size and the comfort provided for its occupants. The interior is typical Porsche with its high-quality finishes and its standard equipment. The interior forms a unit with the driver and its sporty steering wheel makes for great handling, especially when driving fast through bends. The seats ensure that you are not thrown around and are also comfortable. It takes a while to get used to the array of switches around you, but I do wish that the middle-console switches could be swapped over for right-hand-drive models. When you drive a sports car, you want the most important switches nearest to you. Unfortunately, this is lacking, as the vehicle is set up for left-hand drive models. That said, this would not be a problem for any ‘normal’ person, because it is just us petrolheads who need to ‘play’ and change settings so regularly!
The business end of the Porsche Macan is what is of interest to most of us, and this is where the sports car craftsmanship comes into play. There are three models in the range, being the Macan S Diesel 3.0 V6 Turbo delivering 180kw at 580Nm and accelerating to 100kph in 6.1 seconds, with a top speed of 230kph. Following on this beautiful and fuel-efficient sports car is the Macan S 3.0 V6 bi-turbo delivering 250kW at 460Nm and accelerating to 100kph in 5.2 seconds, with a top speed of 254kph.
We did not have the chance to test the Macan Turbo with its 3.6 bi-turbo engine delivering 294kW at 550Nm. It reaches 100kph within 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 266kph.
The Macan brings together the most powerful engine range in its class, coupled with one of the finest driving systems in the world, namely the sporty seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) gearboxes and Porsche Traction Management (PTM). There are three choices of sporty suspensions for the Macan and then one which features air suspension that is exclusive to the Macan’s segment.
Driving the Macan is an experience, as you get true sports car acceleration and performance from the throaty V6 engines and their typical Porsche bark. Although the Macan diesel does not have the exact-same sound track, it does not give you the idea that you are in an oil burner. Acceleration is brisk. Reaching top speed is easy and handling is great when one considers that this is still a SUV. I only got past the SUV feeling when I tailed Tobie Venter driving the Panamera Diesel and could go turn for turn with him in the Macan S. This is also due to the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) system, which has been specially tailored to the Macan. This system distributes varying levels of drive torque to the rear wheels and works in conjunction with an electronically controlled rear-axle differential lock. Fuel consumption, of course, was way out of the advertised limits owing to our brisk driving, but even then the Macan S Diesel returned a figure of 9l/100kms. The Macan S bi-Turbo reflected 16l/100kms. Sedate driving saw the figure drop to a very respectable 9.3l/100kms.
The new Macan is really the market leader at this time and, although expensive for a compact SUV, you get a real Porsche and not only a vehicle branded as a Porsche.
I am sure that the Porsche Macan is going to take the sales of Porsche to new record highs. Despite the high price, the practicality of this amazing vehicle will make it a bestseller for the brand. There is an options list as long as one’s arm that ensures that the Macan can be individualised to your taste. The words of Ferdinand Porsche thus ring true. “In the beginning I looked around and could not find quite the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself.” His visionary words have again given us an amazing vehicle – the Porsche Macan.
OUT OF OFFICE | Porsche
by Carl Wepener
* Prices as at date of publishing