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Driven: Porsche Macan S. Image by Porsche AG.

Driven: Porsche Macan S
One of the best-driving SUVs, now tested back on UK roads for a week.

   



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Porsche Macan S

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Good points: great chassis, strong performance, good looks

Not so good: gets expensive with all the choice options on it, is the interior starting to date?

Key Facts

Model tested: Porsche Macan S
Price: Macan range from 46,913; Macan S from 49,300, car as tested 66,977
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol
Transmission: seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, PTM all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 196g/km (VED Band 191-225: 1,280 in year one, then 465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then 145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 32.8mpg
Top speed: 158mph
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds (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

Our view:

Nothing too lengthy here, as we drove the facelifted Porsche Macan S at the very end of 2018 and loved it. So here's the same car, now driven for 457 miles across a week on UK roads. The net result is broadly the same as it was after our launch review: if you want one of the sharpest-driving SUVs you can buy at any price point, or of any size, the Macan ought to be your first point of call. It's truly superb for handling, ride comfort, performance and refinement, and this 354hp/480Nm S is such a complete package that you kind of wonder if there's a need for the incoming GTS and Turbo derivatives. Although we'll be driving both of those next year. Well, obvs.

There's little to fault about much the Macan S does. Having driven it in the UK not too long after we had a week with its bigger, supposedly more prestigious brother in the form of the Cayenne Turbo, we can definitely say that the Macan has the tauter body control and the keener handling. It doesn't lose much on the other side of that coin, though, as the refinement levels are deeply impressive and it's even relatively economical - it'll get beyond 30mpg on a long motorway run, for instance. Not turbodiesel-esque, mark you, but for a near-160mph petrol SUV without mild-hybrid assistance nor cylinder deactivation, also not bad at all.

We also love the way it looks, that full-width light bar really giving the updated car an easily spotted identity, while the cabin is - in the main - excellent. The driving position and the layout of all the controls are second to none, although there are a few areas where the Macan is starting to show its age. Such is the pace of change in the industry, that is, as some of the Porsche's newer stablemates are the vehicles which make the SUV's two-thirds-analogue instrument cluster and its physical buttons running down the transmission tunnel look a little past it. Also, the Macan is still fairly cosy in the back, not having masses of space for passengers in the rear, but otherwise the quality of the materials used for all the main touchpoints and the beautiful, perfectly round steering wheel with just the right circumference manage to keep it feeling suitably premium in here.

No, the major issue here is the price - or rather, the price of the Macan S with desirable options. Some of the figures required for various extras aren't much, but they stick in your craw somewhat; such as 294 for heated front seats. On a fifty-grand-basic Porsche. A few, like 84 for a 75-litre fuel tank, seem like needless token gestures, others (816 for Porsche Active Suspension Management) are positively reasonable and 'must tick' boxes. But then there are the big-ticket items: 2,247 on Agate Grey smooth-finish leather upholstery; a quite scandalous 2,100 for an interior trim package with decorative contrast stitching; 1,137 for a panoramic roof; 2,690 for 20-inch Macan Turbo alloys; 1,052 for Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus; and, most incredible of all, a huge 1,802 for Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist.

All of these push the Macan S up from sub-50k to almost 67,000 as tested. And, as fantastic a sports-focused SUV as this is, that's a lot of money for what is not even the flagship of its range. Especially when the 510hp Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which is even more thrilling to drive, starts at 69,000 (admittedly, you can option that bad boy up too, but we think we could live with the 'base' spec of the storming Italian V6 machine). And it's the Stelvio which has shown that Porsche doesn't have the monopoly on brilliant-to-drive SUVs, as the Alfa is fun even if you step down from the Ferrari-engined version to other models in its line-up. A recent refresh of its cabin has also improved the Stelvio product offering no end.

Still, that's by the by, and back with the Macan, this German machine remains very near the top of the tree when it comes to SUVs that like to reward their drivers with involving dynamics. We maintain that the costlier 354hp S is definitely worth the extra outlay, over and above the 2.0-litre four-cylinder entry version, so just order the Porsche in Mamba Green for the best effect. Or, better still, wait for the GTS model to arrive and give that a whirl, because it is said to be the most 'driver-focused' version of all. If it's better than this Macan S, then it should be absolutely terrific.

Alternatives:

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce: interior and infotainment got a much-needed makeover for the 2020MY. The 280hp Veloce engine is also a gem, despite being down on cylinders.

BMW X3 M40i: surprisingly excellent to drive and, because it's an X3 and not an X4, not too questionable to look at, either. The Porsche does have the dynamic edge, though.

Jaguar F-Pace 2.0-litre 30t AWD: great chassis and handsome looks, but the Jag's interior is starting to creak a bit now and the 300hp 30t is only a four-pot motor.


Matt Robinson - 19 Sep 2019



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2019 Porsche Macan S UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Macan S UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Macan S UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Macan S UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Macan S UK test. Image by Porsche AG.

2019 Porsche Macan S UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Macan S UK test. Image by Porsche AG.   







 

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