Ian Lamming tests the new Porsche Macan.
THAT can’t be right. This SUV goes like a Porsche. There must be some mistake. This SUV handles like a Porsche. Oh, hang on, this SUV is a Porsche.
The new Macan may be a 4×4 but don’t expect it to drive like one. It’s as proud of the sporting badge on the bonnet as any in the range.
The new look is a subtle update of the old, the changes to the rear being the most pronounced. Overall it is compact, neat and sporty, it is well-proportioned and attractive. The grille and air-scoops in the deep air-dam are large and snarling, the back lights seem to stretch right across the rear. It’s tidy, it’s contemporary, it’s very Porsche.
Inside is very Porsche too and I love it. It’s got switches, yes, easy to locate, easy to see, easy to select. No swipey, dabbing of touch screens here, it’s got buttons for the primary functions and I commend it. It means you can prod a request and it is done and your eyes remain looking out of the windscreen which is where eyes should be looking when you are driving.
And you are going to want to drive this particular Macan. I was a bit scathing of its predecessor which lacked a bit dynamically. Any driver can’t fail to want to get his teeth into this new big Mac. It is more exhilarating, sharper and thrilling to drive.
Picture the scene. There’s a hill, a steep hill. Two lanes up, one down. The inside is the crawler lane for the breathless. There’s a smoky white van nearing the top, where two lanes merge into one and the Macan is gaining fast. On any other car I might have bottled but not this Porsche.
Conditions are poor. It’s damp, there’s a fair breeze that’s lifting the body and at the crest of the hill the weight transfer takes the downforce off the wheels and the backend steps out. Surprisingly, there are no warning lights flashing on the dash, nothing to tell you something might be awry, that the ASR/ESP might step in. Electronic interference has been dialled down because mechanically the Porsche has the situation covered. Good old fashion suspension, damping and all-wheel-drive intervene controlling the Macan beautifully with the tiniest twitch of the sports steering wheel. Nice!
It sparks joyous memories of driving days long past when cars were machines instead of virtual driving games. It will also spin a wheel or four in the mud, which comes in useful when the marshals irritate me at a motorsport event – not so high viz now, are you Mr Muddy front?
I’d only reached out and caught the smoky van in the first place because of the excellent performance of the Macan. On paper things look modest – a turbo-charged 2.0 four cylinder turning out a just about acceptable 245PS, which it pushes through a very slick seven speed automatic box and on to all four wheels. It’s more than enough to have a lot of fun and it will charge with the best of them thanks to a mid-range that could only be described as lusty. Great from a standing start (62mph comes up in 6.7 seconds), it’s a fabulous hill-climber and consummate cruiser, easily returning over 30mpg.
If there is a fly in the ointment, I’m sure it can be cured by the accessory catalogue. Despite four fat pipes exiting from the rear valance, the Macan makes no more noise than your average Golf. It’s just so quiet, like a Rockstar with laryngitis, which simply will not do – factor in the extra wad for the noisy pipes, I say.
New Macan proves less is more. The motor drops from six to four cylinders but somehow is better for it. The latest SUV from Porsche is better in every way. Those who love the badge, the image, the great interior, will remain happy as Larry (Larry’s always happy, bless him), but motorists looking for a sharp ride, an involving drive and peerless dynamics are going to love the Macan more than ever. Now that can be right.
Engine: 2.0 litre
0-62mph: 6.7 secs
Top speed: 139mph
Combined MPG: 34.9
Transmission: seven-speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 185