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Driven: Porsche Macan GTS. Image by Porsche GB.

Driven: Porsche Macan GTS
Youíve got two utterly blinding choices at the top of the Macan SUV range. Donít fret about it; just be thankful they both exist.

   



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Porsche Macan GTS

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: pretty much everything

Not so good: the rear seats are a bit cosy... oh, and the presence of the Macan Turbo makes it so hard to choose between the two of these Porsches

Key Facts

Model tested: Porsche Macan GTS
Price: Macan range from £47,060; GTS from £58,940, car as tested £75,380
Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 petrol
Transmission: seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, PTM all-wheel drive with optional Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) limited-slip differential
Body style: five-door performance SUV
CO2 emissions: 218g/km (VED Band 191-225: £1,345 in year one, then £490 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £155 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 29.4mpg
Top speed: 162mph
0-62mph: 4.7 seconds (with optional Sport Chrono Package)
Power: 380hp at 5,200-6,700rpm
Torque: 520Nm at 1,750-5,000rpm
Boot space: 500-1,500 litres

Our view:

We can keep this one short for you. Since Porsche updated the Macan right at the end of 2018, we've driven all the models in the revised range. Both the four-cylinder entry car and the Macan S, with its 3.0-litre V6, were tested overseas first, before we evaluated the latter back home in Blighty for a week. And loved it. Natch.

Then the astounding Macan Turbo joined us next, while boss-man Shane was driving the last remaining piece of this compact premium SUV's jigsaw puzzle overseas, as he got to grips with the GTS. Which he adored. So think of this as a 'second opinion' on the model with the badge that Porsche says denotes the most 'driver-focused' variant in a given Stuttgart product's range.

It certainly proves to be the case in the larger Cayenne line, where the GTS Coupe is a large performance SUV without handling compare. So the Macan, which we think drives in a sharper and more involving fashion even than the Cayenne can manage, should be blinding as a GTS - especially as it is essentially only a mildly detuned Turbo with a £9,970 list-price saving. Ten grand to trim four-tenths of a second from your 0-62mph time and add 5mph to the top speed seems a lot for the privilege of a Turbo.

Maybe, maybe not. But whatever the merits of the Turbo versus this variant, the GTS proves to be sensational regardless. A glorious, wonderful, mesmerising, exciting and enjoyable week was had with RX70 ZPR, which just - and we do mean juuuuuuust - has the aesthetic edge on the Turbo thanks to its overwhelmingly black detailing (helps that it was finished in high-contrast Carmine Red for a chunky £1,676, mark you). So the GTS is ahead there and it's also ahead in the cabin, again because the GTS specifics just feel a touch more special than the Turbo's slightly luxury-oriented interior. Also, while someone had been busy firing expensive Porsche options at our test GTS, it was still only £6,470 dearer than a base Turbo. You could drop that money on a set of Porsche Carbon Ceramic Brakes (PCCB), so while you can go raking through the spec sheets to find out why a Turbo is superior on a standard kit head-to-head count, we reckon a GTS with a few added toys is worthy of comparison to its supposedly big brother.

Sure, there are some intriguing things which are not fitted to the GTS from the off which we wish Porsche had included. The Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) diff, for example, is £1,052. Steel springs with a 15mm lower ride height and their own sporty tune are the factory-spec items for the Macan GTS, so air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) dampers necessitates another £1,044 outlay. Power Steering Plus (£185) and the gorgeous Alcantara wheel (£720) with which to control it are both extras. Even the Sport Chrono Package (£804) isn't part of the equipment bundle, and it shaves two-tenths from the Macan's 0-62mph time as well.

But with all of this stuff fitted, the GTS is an outrageously talented SUV. It's just sublime. It can do comfort, it can do handling, it can do searing speed, it can do relaxed refinement. You simply won't find a dynamic department in which it is lacking. And if you want to know, the differences between the 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 engines in this and the Turbo are 60hp and 30Nm. Tellingly, the GTS makes its 520Nm of torque over a slightly narrower spread of revs than the Turbo chucks out its 550Nm, but then the GTS' 380hp is delivered over a wider rev-band than the Turbo's 440hp peak output. That speaks volumes about the respective performance characteristics of what, on paper, look like two incredibly similar high-speed SUVs, as the GTS encourages chasing the redline and not being lazy with its superb seven-speed PDK, while the Turbo is a tad more easy-going and flexible. It's a subtle distinction, but it's one which is present nonetheless.

However, after 225 miles and nearly eight hours at the wheel of the Macan GTS, we found we couldn't really separate these oh-so-similar Porsche machines. The GTS is reputedly marginally easier on fuel, but after our week with it we saw 20.8mpg overall and a best of 27mpg on a longer run. The Turbo, for what it's worth, recorded equivalents of 23mpg and a record of 28.8mpg, although it should be put on record that we drove the Turbo on a lengthy motorway trek for most of its testing period, whereas the GTS did more local, short-haul work. And was, er, perhaps driven more enthusiastically as a result. No comment, your honour.

Honestly, pick the GTS or pick the Turbo, it doesn't matter; the Porsche Macan is an SUV that does not feel like an SUV in the slightest when you decide to put it through its paces. In fact, Zuffenhausen dared to have the temerity to call it the 'first sports car SUV' in the world when it launched it back in 2014, and these two models have proven so emphatically that this was not merely hollow bluster from PR types. You will rarely drive any vehicle that is as rewarding and as invigorating to steer as the Macan GTS, high-riding AWD vehicle or otherwise. Unless, of course, you're in a Macan Turbo. Two thoroughly world-beating SUVs in one model line-up? Come on, Porsche, please - give everyone else a chance, why don't you?

Alternatives:

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce: you're kind of betwixt and between here with the Alfa. The Veloce, one level down from the Quadrifoglio, is a 280hp four-cylinder; it's excellent, really excellent as SUVs go, but it cannot dynamically match the GTS as the Quadri can the Turbo.

BMW X3 M40i: a lovely alternative, if not quite as sharp and desirable as the GTS. In the X3 range, the M40i is the one to go for because it rides beautifully, whereas the full-on X3 M Competition rides like it is trying to pulverise your skeleton into dust.

Maserati Levante S: sorry, we like the Levante, none more so than its deranged Trofeo range-topper (which is bleedin' expensive), but this S model - while more powerful and rarer than the Macan GTS - is totally outclassed in every department by its German nemesis.


Matt Robinson - 27 Nov 2020



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2020 Porsche Macan GTS. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Macan GTS. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Macan GTS. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Macan GTS. Image by Porsche GB.2020 Porsche Macan GTS. Image by Porsche GB.








 

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