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First drive: 2019MY Porsche Macan. Image by Porsche.

First drive: 2019MY Porsche Macan
Four-pot power headlines the list of changes for the excellent Porsche Macan premium SUV.

 



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2019MY Porsche Macan

5 5 5 5 5

Porsche's midlife updates for the phenomenally successful Macan SUV aren't revolutionary, but they do enhance what was already one of the very finest high-riding machines going.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche Macan
Pricing: from 46,344
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: PTM all-wheel drive, seven-speed PDK dual-clutch auto
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 185g/km (VED Band 171-190: 830 first 12 months, then 450 per annum years two to six of ownership, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 34.9mpg
Top speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 6.7 seconds (6.5 seconds if equipped with Sport Chrono Package)
Power: 245hp at 5,000-6,750rpm
Torque: 370Nm at 1,600-4,500rpm
Boot space: 500-1,500 litres

Model tested: Porsche Macan S
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol
Transmission: PTM all-wheel drive, seven-speed PDK dual-clutch auto
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 196g/km (VED Band 191-225: 1,240 first 12 months, then 450 per annum years two to six of ownership, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 32.8mpg
Top speed: 158mph
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds (if equipped with Sport Chrono Package)
Power: 354hp at 5,400-6,400rpm
Torque: 480Nm at 1,360-4,800rpm
Boot space: 500-1,500 litres

What's this?

The 2019MY Porsche Macan, subtly restyled (outside and in), blessed with new tech and given some engine revisions. Chief of these is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot petrol, which used to be a special order in right-hand-drive cars, in the model badged simply Macan, meaning those wanting V6 thrills are going to need to step up to the Macan S, which uses the same 354hp motor as that in the Audi SQ5 TFSI, only minus 20Nm of torque. Further powerplants and specifications will no doubt be inevitable, such as a more focused GTS variant and also a storming Turbo model, but with Porsche having dropped Rudolf's black fuel from its plans, the S Diesel will be no more - meaning it's likely a plug-in E-Hybrid drivetrain, as seen in the larger Cayenne, will satisfy the fuel-efficient fans of Porsche.

All 2019MY Macans have been discreetly redesigned. The rear is the main giveaway, because - like many products from the Stuttgart brand - it now gets a full-width light strip that incorporates the marque's name. It also has four-point brake lights, echoing the four-point LED daytime running lights (DRLs) up front, which is also a Porsche hallmark these days. Said DRLs are a different pattern, though, because the Macan now gets full LED headlights as standard as part of the updates, which means rejigging of the front bumper and intake area to match. Gone are the separate fog lights and gone are the ancillary light bars that used to sit right beneath the main clusters, in place of outer air intakes with an upright edge to their frames and thin strips of light 'hovering' on the 'airblades'. The front parking sensors have also been integrated into the various strakes of the cooling apertures of the Macan, for neatness, and along the SUV's flanks there are fresh designs of 18- to 21-inch alloy wheel, as well as the possibility to have the lower side blade trims on the doors in either Brilliant Silver or High-Gloss Black.

Inside, your eye will be inevitably drawn to the gorgeous 10.9-inch touchscreen of the Porsche Communication Management infotainment system, which was previously displayed on a piffling 7.2-inch monitor. However, if you've selected it come order-form tick-box time, then your hands will be resting on the 360mm-diameter rim of the GT sport steering wheel too, complete with rotary drive mode switch on models with the optional Sport Chrono Package. You'll want this last item, as it brings in Sport Plus mode with Sport Response, a feature that boosts the Macan's engine outputs for 20 seconds to allow the fastest possible acceleration - it trims two-tenths, for instance, from the 2.0-litre model's quoted 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds. Anyway, back in the cabin, the Macan's interior is a wonderful place to spend prolonged periods of time... provided you're not sitting in the rear seats, which are still on the, um, 'cosy' side in terms of passenger space.

How does it drive?

All 2019MY Macans confirmed so far have seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearboxes, Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive, revised front suspension arms (saving 1.5kg of unsprung weight), narrower front wheels/tyres than those fitted to the back axle (the reason? More steering feel from the front, all the grip and traction advantages of fat rubber on the rear, says Porsche), an uprated set of anti-roll bars and, on the models fitted with optional air suspension, different programming for the 'springs' that aims to promote finer body control.

Starting with the 2.0-litre Macan, there's no doubting it's an excellent creation. Packing the Performance Pack-enhanced version of the engine you'd find in a Volkswagen Golf GTI, you never once lament the punch it has nor feel like it is not quite enough motor for a 1,795kg 4x4. In fact, the performance is so good and strong that the Macan has little difficulty keeping up with a hard-driven convoy of its S-enhanced siblings for most of our test route, although we would say we couldn't discern much of an advantage to having a smaller, lighter engine over the nose of the Porsche in terms of keenness of corner turn-in.

And, ultimately, as good as the 2.0-litre is, to unlock the full Macan experience you really need the V6 'S' model. Porsche has worked hard on making the four-cylinder unit sound as appealing as it possibly can under duress, yet it never matches the symphonic highs of the 3.0-litre mill. Nor can the full-bore acceleration of the four-pot quite achieve the same 'push you back' sensation that the V6 does when it's lit up. And it's not like there's a huge amount between the two on paper in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and average fuel economy, so the only reason you'd opt for the 2.0-litre model is if it turns out the S is going to be ten grand or so more in terms of list price.

Anyway, although we'd say the Macan S is indubitably the place to be in terms of powertrain selection, there's little doubt the smaller Porsche SUV is a work of dynamic genius, no matter what's under its clamshell bonnet. It has all the ride and refinement qualities you need of one of these things, suppressing low-revs engine noise, wind buffeting and tyre chatter to the barest minimums of background murmur when being driven gently; it's a charming companion in this regard. But get it stoked up on the right roads and the wondrous steering - full of gritty feel, blessed with perfect heft when it comes to weight, as accurate as any modern Porsche rack we can think of this side of the hallowed GT department's output - epic body control and delightful adjustability of the Macan's underpinnings make it feel more like a Porsche hatchback than a Porsche SUV. Honestly, how this thing is related to an Audi Q5 in any way, shape or form is a mystery to us - and it's not as if the current Q5 is dreadful to drive, either.

Customers in the premium mid-sized SUV game have a wealth of talented choice these days and there are some absolutely superb machines out there - but, for the sort of vehicles that emphasise the 'S', over and above the 'U' of that three-letter epithet, nothing is better than the Porsche Macan. It has the sort of glittering handling to outwit any other SUV you can think of (save for, possibly, the much more expensive and potent Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio) and yet it does cultured, day-to-day civility as well as almost anything else this size - maybe an air-sprung Volvo XC60 would edge it out on this score, but without an example of the Swede on hand for a direct comparison, we wouldn't stick our necks on the line and say definitively that the Porsche was incapable of matching the Volvo. Yep, one of our favourite SUVs of all just got a little bit, er... favourite-ier. Ahem.

Verdict

The five-star rating at the top of this piece is for the Porsche Macan S - we'd have to give the 2.0-litre model four-and-a-half out of five. As noble and as worthy as the four-cylinder SUV is, it's the V6 that gives the most 'Porsche-y' driving experience and feel. And the reason we therefore think the Macan, as an overarching model line, deserves maximum marks is because every other product in the soon-to-be-expanded range will have a V6 engine (plus electric augmentation, in some instances) - and will therefore be one of the finest, sharpest-handling SUVs you could wish to find. No, it's not cheap, and no, it's not hugely practical, but the Macan is the family car for those people who still truly enjoy driving. For that, it should be commended most highly.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 10 Dec 2018









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