Recently revised Porsche Macan range driven by Double Apex at its South African introduction.

The Porsche Macan has proved to be an integral part of Porsche’s business success. The smaller of the automaker’s SUVs (Cayenne being the larger) has sold 600 000 units since introduction in 2014. An incredible 80 per cent of those were bought by first-time Porsche owners. Such is the popularity that Porsche will build fuel and battery powered versions for sale to different parts of the world.

“In Europe, the demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, but the pace of change varies considerably across the world. That’s why we’re going to launch another conventionally powered successor to the current Macan in the course of 2021,” said Michael Steiner, member of the executive board, research and development at Porsche AG, earlier this year.

To keep potential buyers interested Porsche has given this generation its second update. In the process the range has been rationalised. It was at the South African launch event that the updated Porsche Macan range was driven and experienced first hand.

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Revisions outside

Porsche designers have applied a few key revisions to the latest version’s appearance. Front and rear bumpers have been reprofiled, the latter boasting a larger lower section. LED headlights and sport design exterior mirrors are now standard across the range. GTS versions can be spotted immediately by their unique frontal aspect with darkened middle section. They also have other black accents such as the badges, wheels, headlamps surrounds, etc.

Read our driving review of the previous generation Porsche Macan Turbo at this link.

Revisions inside

Inside, the latest Porsche Macan features a new centre console. A glass panel with soft-touch buttons has been adopted to bring the Macan in line with other new-gen Porsche products in this area. A new, shorter gear selector has been adopted and the analogue (Sport Chrono) clock atop the facia is now standard fitment. The SUV also adopts the steering wheel design from the 911 range – nice!

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Power increase

The Porsche Macan range driven in the Western Cape included all the derivatives of the rejigged line-up with all versions boasting more power. The entry-level Macan features an inline 2,0-litre turbocharged four cylinder that puts out 195 kW (+10 kW). A mid-level S features a twin-turbocharged V6 that is good for 280 kW (+20 kW). Porsche has not added a Turbo flagship to the range, with that title now going to the GTS. The new halo features the same power output as the outgoing Turbo: 324 kW/550 N.m.

Each engine is mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that drives all four wheels. As the sportiest variant in the line-up the GTS has a number of bespoke upgrades over its siblings. These include recalibrated dampers, sports air suspension, which lowers the body by 10 mm, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) and 21 inch alloys as standard.

On the road

The Porsche Macan range driven in the Western Cape included all three derivatives over long stretches of the Cape’s arterial roads, mostly around the Swartland area. While we got to experience all three, it was the Macan S that really got our attention and seems, to us anyway, to strike the ideal balance for sporting SUV.

For anyone reaching into Porsche ownership, and the sales stats suggest there are plenty, the entry level variant does a pretty good job. The inline four offers handy pace and a pretty comfy ride on its smaller alloys shod with plump tyre sidewalls. Once you step into the S version you quickly realise how addictive a punchy mid-range can be. The six-cylinder engine is able to zip you down the road, blasting by slower traffic, at a far speedier rate. And doing so with a more inspiring soundtrack.

We did spend a brief spell behind the wheel of the GTS and we could feel more urgency to its power delivery, and added volume to the soundtrack. We could also sense a tautness to the ride quality over the S. We are pretty certain that a GTS would deal with repeated racetrack punishment, but have to wonder if any owners ever will attempt that exercise.

The Macan S has excellent body control, even at speed, with a level of pliancy that is ideally suited to being a sporty family car. One would have to be a pretty enthusiastic driver to ably and effectively utilise the difference between the two variants. We also question the occasions/space to do so.

Summary

We were not surprised to learn that the vast majority of Macan owners are new to Porsche ownership. The smaller SUV offers enough space for a small/young family, both in terms of seating and rear seating room. In S guise it has a potentially license-zapping turn of speed. As much as we like the GTS we think that the S is a better all-round package, particular if you aren’t a budding race driver.

0-100 km/h Top speed Power/Torque Price
Macan 6,4 sec 232 km/h 195 kW/400 N.m R1 050 000
Macan S 4,8 sec 259 km/h 280 kW/520 N.m R1 271 000
Porsche Macan GTS 4,5 sec 272 km/h 324 kW/550 N.m R1 551 000