In Depth

Porsche Macan: Everything you need to know

Luxury carmaker's baby 4x4 is one of the best SUVs out there. Here's all you need to know

Like most manufacturers, Porsche has submitted to the demands of the market and has produced a new SUV.

The Macan is the second sport utility vehicle to wear a Porsche badge, after the introduction of the Cayenne in 2002. It's a smaller car than the full-sized Cayenne, though, and places more emphasis on driving dynamics and performance.

A rival to the sportier versions of the Jaguar F-Pace and Audi Q5, it's an expensive car, but you could be buying the best SUV on sale for pure thrills.

Here's how the Macan shapes up.

Design

The Macan adopts some of the firm's 911 styling cues into its compact, four-door body far more successfully than Porsche's other non-sports car entries, Autocar says.

Its looks won't be to everyone's taste, given that the marque has pushed an aggressive design language on the Macan, particularly around the front. There's an assortment of huge grilles and air intakes mounted in the front bumper, which feeds around into a side profile featuring some particularly pronounced and muscular looking creases.

A sloping roof leads to the back of the car, which features long, wide taillights. Wheels of up to 21ins can be specced to make the Macan look even chunkier.

The overall profile resembles the Audi Q5, a car with which the Macan shares around 30 per cent of its components, leaving 70 per cent of the car and its platform to be re-engineered by Porsche.

Interior

The Macan's interior is biased towards it being a sporty model more than a premium-but-rugged family wagon. The switchgear layout is similar to that found in the Porsche Panamera – there are two rows of buttons running down the centre console to flank the gear lever, feeding up into a centre console where the infotainment display sits between two vents. The materials used are high quality, but it is very button-dense.

Auto Express says that overall, the interior boasts the sort of premium, sporty appearance you'd expect it to – the cabin gives the game away that this is a car "that begs to be driven".

Practicality

Despite the hunched, chunky, sporty rear end, the Macan boasts a decent boot, with 500 litres of space on offer. That's behind rivals such as the Audi Q5 and Jaguar F-Pace, which boast 540 and 650 litres respectively, but enough for Auto Express to call Porsche's baby SUV a "genuinely spacious car, with room for a family and a large suitcase each". In addition, the rear seats can fold down, turning the boot and back row into a 1,500-litre luggage bay.

The shape means there's not as much headroom as you'll find in more traditionally styled SUVs, Auto Express adds, but it will carry five adults easily and comfortably, with decent amounts of legroom.

Equipment

The Macan comes with eight-way adjustable electric seats, air conditioning, parking sensors and safety features such as a frontal collision-warning system as system and there are plenty of optional extras to mull over. 

Sat nav comes automatically fitted to higher spec cars such as the Macan Turbo and GTS, although at more than £1,052, it's a pricey option for the S and S Diesel. 

Infotainment packages include two sound-system upgrades – a Bose stereo system costing £801 and a £3,230 Burmester setup with 16 speakers – and the Macan can also be specced with big rear-seat entertainment options. There are two separate packages that will allow screens with a DVD player and USB slots to be fitted for back-seat passengers to watch, with prices starting from £2,096. 

Smartphone-related options include the Connect and Connect Plus packs. These grant a smartphone tray plus Apple CarPlay, while the more expensive Plus package, at £801, introduces on-board wi-fi.

Engines,  drivetrain and performance

There's no choice when it comes to drivetrains and gearbox options. As standard, every car is all-wheel drive and comes with Porsche's PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The entry-level diesel Macan S will make sense for most buyers, says CarBuyer, offering the lowest running costs and greatest fuel efficiency while not compromising too much on performance. Porsche claims it's capable of 45mpg and has a CO2 score of 161g/km. With 258bhp on tap, it can do 0-62mph in 6.3secs and a top speed of 143mph.

The rest of the Macan's engines are petrol-power units. The standard car has a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 249bhp. Sitting above it is a petrol version of the Macan S, using a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 producing 335bhp.

The top end of the range is marked out by two performance variants. The Macan GTS has the 3.0-litre V6 of the Macan S but with a little extra power – 355bhp. The range-topper Macan Turbo gets a 3.6-litre V6 with 395bhp, making it capable of 0-62mph in 4.8secs and on to a top speed of 165mph.

Reviews

"Sorry, Porsche purists: the Macan is another irritatingly good SUV," Top Gear says, adding that the Cayenne's little brother is one of the best driving SUVs you can buy right now. It doesn't quite serve up an experience on par with driving any of the firm's sports car models, says the mag, but it is mighty close - and the range-topping turbocharged car is "eye-wideningly quick".  The torque shifting four-wheel-drive system is "fabulous" and grippy, allowing the Macan to take corners at impressive speed, it adds.

Top Gear recommends the Macan S diesel, fitted with the £1,700 optional adaptive air suspension, which it says makes the car corner even flatter while ironing out bumps for a suppler ride than many of its rivals.

The Daily Telegraph's verdict is also positive, with the paper giving the Macan eight out of ten and saying it is surprisingly comfortable and copes well with poorly surfaced roads. It can be a fairly quiet car too, it adds, and the seats are comfortable and supportive, making it a decent long-distance cruiser.

One slight negative the Telegraph does highlight is the boot space, but while it says this may be smaller than on the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, the paper adds that it should swallow a couple of large suitcases no problem.

Again, the Macan gets top marks for the way it drives - "the best handling 4x4 you can buy," says the critics – with the only real drawback being the price. It's an expensive car to buy and run, says the paper, "but if you have the necessary funds it's a great choice".

Performance Package reviews

The Performance Package adds a further £5,553 to the Macan Turbo S price tag, says Auto Express, which includes an extra 40bhp and 37lb-ft torque, bringing "peak power" to 436bhp and torque up to 443lb-ft. 

In rough conditions, the increase in power is "pretty much undetectable", the magazine adds, with the throttle response hampered by the "overworked traction control". This means that throttle inputs need to be "delicate and smooth" on the road, which is helped by the Macan's "inherently well-balanced" chassis. 

The array of added driver settings means the Performance Package enjoys a "faster throttle response without hanging onto gears" with the flick of a switch, says Evo. It also features bigger brakes to handle the increase in power and uprated suspension that takes "15mm from the ride hight". 

"In essence, the Performance Package feels as capable" as the regular Macan Turbo, the magazine continues, with its "great driving position" and "quality cabin" remaining the same as the standard model. 

Prices

Prices start at £43,553 for the standard Macan petrol engine. The Macan S kicks off at £45,945, while the Macan S diesel is £3 cheaper at £45,942.

Macan GTS starts at £55,188 and the range-topping Turbo comes in at £62,540.

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