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Driven: Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.

Driven: Porsche Macan S Diesel
Say what you like about SUVs diluting the Porsche brand, this new junior 4x4 is a simply remarkable piece of engineering.

 



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Porsche Macan S Diesel

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: driving manners, stunning drivetrain, general air of quality, all-round brilliance.
Not so good: rear space is a bit limited.

Key Facts

Model tested: Porsche Macan S Diesel
Pricing: 43,300 basic; 57,088 as tested
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel
Transmission: seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 159g/km
Combined economy: 46.3mpg
Top speed: 142mph
0-62mph: 6.3 seconds
Power: 258hp from 4,000- to 4,250rpm
Torque: 580Nm from 1,750- to 2,500rpm

Our view:

The last time I was in a Porsche Macan, it was travelling sideways at a quite indecent rate whilst nudging against the lock stops, scribing out a perfect drift. It was a Turbo model being demonstrated at an ADAC test centre near Grevenbroich in Germany and I was sitting in the rear nearside passenger seat of a left-hand drive example, which was sliding about in the hands of an experienced Porsche test driver. Looking out of the side window, I had as good a view of the road ahead as the two blokes sitting up front. A pointless demonstration, you might argue, but the mere fact that this first 'sports car SUV' (Porsche's words) could do such a preposterous thing whetted my appetite for some extended time behind the wheel.

You see, while no one actually drives on the road in such a lunatic, oversteering manner, to have engineered in such handling balance shows that Porsche is serious about delivering on its brave tagline for the Macan. So we decided to take the predicted best seller, the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel model, and try it out for size on UK roads.

As at the launch, we maintain that the Macan beats the larger Cayenne SUV hands down for visual appeal. It's tauter and there's something much more Porsche-like about its profile and general shape, with the rear end treatment particularly successful and the front clamshell bonnet a nice detail too. This example looks superb but to get one looking like this, you'll need to dig deep into your pockets. The Rhodium Silver metallic paint is 607, the 20-inch RS Spyder Design alloys are 1,700 and the black detailing will set you back 219 for the roof rails and 138 for the window surrounds. There's more than 2,500 gone on detailing, before you consider 1,060 for the bi-Xenon headlights with Porsche Dynamic Lighting System.

The leather inside is also an option, at 1,052, as is the panoramic roof (1,093), Porsche Communication Management 3.0 with nav and Jukebox function (2,007), Sport Chrono Package (728), Bose Surround Sound 14-speaker audio system (801), adaptive sports seats with 18-way adjustment (1,214) and heating function (259), Bluetooth (271), cruise control (348), reversing camera (332) and the sunblinds in the rear windows (146). Oh, and the analogue and digital TV tuner, at 1,028. Coupled with the one dynamic upgrade, of Porsche Active Suspension Management (785), we're suddenly at a place where a mid-sized diesel SUV costs more than 57,000.

Still, it's probably unfair to list the Porsche's options like this, as you can easily drop sixty grand on a BMW 530d M Sport these days, and buyers can pick and choose what they want added on to their Macans. So it's a case of stripping away the demonstration fripperies and unearthing the core car beneath. And when you do, you quickly realise the Macan S Diesel is phenomenal.

The steering, for a start, feels like it has been lifted wholesale from a Cayman. It has a massive amount of heft and low-speed feedback, and it just gets better and better with increased speed. No SUV needs steering this good, but we're pleased Porsche felt it necessary to equip the Macan thus. The drivetrain is a delight, the V6 making a suitably sporty growl and the exhaust note more fruity than most diesels we've heard. The ride on those optional 20s is faultless; there's no other word for it, the Macan just never gets upset about having to traverse any road surface. And the handling, for those times you drive it as if it were a lower-slung Porsche, is also amazing - we didn't hang the back end out on it, naturally, but it entertained us plenty of times nonetheless. Top all of this refinement and dynamic hoo-ha off with real-world economy of 40.4mpg across 450 miles of brisk driving and the Macan just blows you away. There's surely no way this is an Audi Q5 underneath all the Zuffenhausen engineering.

Unless you are vehemently opposed to SUVs, or are still harbouring a grudge about Porsche diversifying away from being a pure sports car manufacturer, you'll find the Macan S Diesel very hard to criticise. If there's one area that will let it down for certain customers, it's rear passenger room. The boot has a big floor and doesn't even lose a lot of practicality to that sloping rear end, but that low roofline means the back pew is correspondingly tight for any adults taller than 5ft 10in. Yet when it comes to its brief of offering a smaller SUV than the Cayenne that handles in the correct Porsche vein, the Macan is bang on target and you can't ask for anything more from a manufacturer than that.

Any car enthusiast, at some point in their life, will have been asked what car they would have if they could choose just one, that had to do every task imaginable, from the mundane commute to the extraordinary blast over an Alpine pass. Until now, the closest I could come to answering that philosophical query was with the retort 'BMW M5 Touring', its savage fuel consumption aside. But there's a better response now: it has to be the Macan S Diesel.

Alternatives:

Audi Q5: the 3.0 TDI model on which this Macan is based undercuts the Porsche by about 6,000 basic, yet it can't hope to match the S Diesel for driving entertainment or badge cred, no matter how good Audis are.

BMW X4 xDrive30d: dynamically a good match for the Macan, but we're swayed by the better-resolved styling of the Porsche.

Range Rover Sport: another wonderful SUV that's near faultless, although for a more powerful - but slower, thirstier and less sharp-handling - SDV6 model with some toys, you're looking at nearly eighty grand. So 23,000 in your back pocket when you've chosen the Porsche might make up for the lack of rear seat space...


Matt Robinson - 10 Apr 2015









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2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.



2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 

2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel. Image by Matt Robinson.
 






 

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