The Porsche Macan, unlike many of its rivals, does not suffer the fate of being the “cheap” entry point into a luxury brand’s lineup. The Macan is as desirable in its segment as any other Porsche product can be in their respective categories. As proof, Porsche offers similar trims and technology levels as found in the larger Cayenne, and others.
I’ve now reviewed the Porsche Macan a few times since its arrival in 2015. Every time, I’m blown away by the small SUV’s inherent quality, substance and all-around Porsche-ness. I’ve driven most versions and found little to nothing tangibly wrong with them all. For this round, I was given the opportunity to once more try a base model with the turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, but this one was different.
First thing’s first. The 2019 Porsche Macan has received a comprehensive facelift, lining it up with the new 3rd generation Cayenne. As such, the rear end now sports the signature rear taillight treatment which emphasizes the Porsche logo along with the four-point taillights. A few other visual tweaks have reinforced the Macan’s Porsche DNA.
Even today, with the arrival of the new Cayenne, I find the Macan’s proportions better sorted than its larger brother’s. In a way, it is less bloated and looks fitter with a lower BMI. With the right wheels, even my tested $56,100 (before options) base Macan sits just as powerfully as its more powerful siblings.
While on price, my actual tested 2019 Porsche Macan featured the delicious 20-inch Macan Turbo wheels, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Surround View Camera, Sport Chrono Package, heated GT Sports steering wheel, the Premium Plus package and a few more options for a grand total of roughly $74,500. Here’s where and why I would do things differently.
Power, or features?
I understand that Porsche is, for many buyers, a luxury brand that makes sporty cars and SUVs. This is why enabling customers to start off with the basic model and add all the features is an important “business” move for Porsche. For myself, and many of you reading this, a Porsche is a high-performance vehicle with luxury amenities.
While the turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine is mighty decent thanks to its 248-horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, I need more from my Porsche. For many, a 0-100km/ time of 6.7 seconds (6.5 with the Sport Chrono pack) is faster than they’ll ever need to get to speed, I’d put my money on the 2019 Porsche Macan S, which starts at $63,200. Its turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 puts out 348-horsepower and 352 torques and drops the sprint time to 5.3 seconds (5.1 with the must-have Sport Chrono pack.)
Beyond the displacement and output differences, both Macan trims can be all but identical. The only transmission, the fabled 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK), is mated to the standard Porsche Traction Management (PTM) active all-wheel drive system which always puts the power to good use.
With PASM, the Macan’s chassis delivers what all SUVs would like to deliver and that is balanced driving experience in its most basic setting, the adaptive dampers seem to read the road’s surface and prepare themselves accordingly. Through the drive modes switch on the steering wheel (part of Sport Chrono), the dampers firm up in Sport but somehow still manage a relatively cosseting ride. The only issue I found with the drive is a brake pedal that failed to immediately respond to my inputs. The delay became habitual after a few days but I think this is noteworthy.
Sitting behind the Porsche Macan’s steering wheel delivers an instant dose of the quality and substance I mentioned earlier. I stepped out of a 505-horsepower 2019 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio before driving off with the Macan – with all due respect to the $100k+ Alfa, I felt as though I’d dropped out of my 1973 VW 412 into a brand-new Bentley Mulsanne, or is that a 2020 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo?
No matter what, it is luxury
All surfaces, materials, displays, including the new full-HD 10.9-inch screen, looked and felt luxurious, solid, bolted in place and made to last a handful of lifetimes. The standard seats are extremely comfortable and supportive while the second is nest for two normal adults. The boot will hold up to 500 litres of gear with the rear bench in place, which is quite decent.
As Porsche products evolve, the cascading series of controls on the center console will disappear – they have in the Panamera and Cayenne, and the others will follow. I may be an old man but the interface and true tactile feedback from these buttons is immensely satisfying. And from the driver’s seat, I love the bird’s eye view of all my personal options, from seat heating and cooling, to damper settings and off roading.
My Macan would be an “S”
I’ve been a huge fan of the Porsche Macan since day one but for nearly $75,000, I would purchase a Macan S, select Mamba Green or Mahogany (-this one), get the same 20-inch Turbo wheels, PASM, Sport Chrono, the GT wheel, CarPlay and sign off on my identically priced near $75,000 treasure.
The power question is obviously a personal one and thankfully, Porsche can sort it all out for you at the tick of a box.