A few months ago Porsche South Africa invited us to sample the most recent update to its small SUV, known as the Macan. More recently we got to drive the top-of-the-range Porsche Macan Turbo on its international launch event, which took place right here in the Western Cape.
You can read our earlier Macan report at this link.
Until now the small SUV range has consisted of the Macan and Macan S. This Turbo derivative expands the portfolio to three. The Turbo version features a 2,9-litre V6 motor that develops 324 kW (up 30 kW on its forebear) and 550 N.m of peak torque. The latter is developed in a plateau from 1 800 to 5 600 r/min. Power, as with all versions, is delivered to four corners through a slick-shifting dual-clutch (PDK in Porsche speak) transmission that offers seven forward ratios.
The Porsche Macan Turbo can spring from a standing start to 100 km/h in 4,3 seconds flat, with the optional Sport Chrono Package. The car’s top speed is 270 km/h. Deceleration is handled by an upgraded braking system. Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB) are standard fitment. This unique tungsten carbide coating provides better brake response and improved longevity. They can be spotted by white painted brake calipers. On Porsches red calipers mean standard brakes, yellow is used for carbon-ceramic and now white is used for PSCB.
How to tell it apart
From the outside the Porsche Macan Turbo is set apart by standard 20-inch alloys, a model-specific front bumper with three large air intakes and standard LED headlights. In profile there are lower side skirts and aero-moulded side mirror housings. A specially developed twin-blade roof spoiler sits atop the rear door and the final exterior touch is the quad tips of the sports exhaust system.
Sporty inside, too
Differentiation between the Macan Turbo and its lesser-powered siblings continues in the cabin. 18-way sports seats that cosset front occupants, Alcantara roof lining and the brushed aluminium trim are the immediate giveaways. A heated sports steering wheel of smaller diameter, borrowed from the newest 911, is fitted. Other standard equipment includes a 10,9-inch full HD touchscreen infotainment interface that is connected to a 14-speaker Bose hifi. The system includes online navigation with real-time traffic information and voice control.
On the road
The event we attended was the world presentation of the Porsche Macan Turbo to international media. To showcase the Western Cape, and South Africa, to the visitors event organisers laid out a fantastic route that was both scenic, and allowed us to put the newcomer through its paces.
On the national road that leads away from Cape Town International Airport the Macan Turbo cruised along with minimal fuss or noise intrusion. A few kilometres later we got to traverse the scenic Clarence Drive aka the R44 (probably one of the finest driving roads in the country, if not the world). Winding our way along this picturesque section of road we weren’t prompted to unleash the power or delve into the car’s dynamics repertoire. Used as such the Macan could be a great family car.
We eventually turned away from the coast and headed inland, it was there, away from traffic and other road users that we unleashed the Macan’s potential. With the steering mounted rotary controller turned to Sport+ the Macan’s changes from a docile family car into sports SUV replete with a more vocal soundtrack. The turbocharged V6 motor responds with alacrity to throttle inputs, thanks in part to the turbochargers mounted between the heads, and has an appetite for revs. Over the last 1 500 r/min or so it really builds up a head of steam. Such is the cohesion between the transmission and engine that we didn’t even bother using the paddle shifters.
The all-paw platform on wide rubber makes the Macan Turbo quite a handy (read quick) car to traverse B-roads. A raised seating position and plenty of confidence in the car’s grip levels means that you can really press on at “elevated” speeds. Back in the confines of urban sprawl we dialed back the sportiness and returned the Macan to its family-car-like persona.
The hottest version of Porsche’s small SUV feels like the company’s hot hatch. It can play many roles and do them all rather well. It has the practicality to house four adults with enough luggage for a getaway. It can pootle along with no sense of the performance capability that lurks beneath. And when the mood strikes, it can also ramp up its persona to that akin to a sportscar.
As we stated in our earlier report, the latest Macan is a refresh of the existing model, rather than being all new. There is a very good reason that Porsche has not produced a new platform, and that reason is electrification. Going forward the Macan will be powered purely by battery power. Porsche has already launched the Taycan, its first pure electric-powered sportscar, and work on the next-gen Macan is already underway. This means that the Macan Turbo is the last of its kind, for Porsche anyway.
R1 600 000