Driving impressions: The Macan delivers everything that Porsches are famed for—superior agility; quick but gracious acceleration; invigorating sound; a tasteful, restrained-luxury interior; and a somewhat eccentric control layout. But compared with, say, a 911, Boxster, or Cayman, it brings a whole lot more day-to-day practicality. Theoretically, it will seat five but the rear seat is cramped. Both Macan trim lines, the S and Turbo, have a twin-turbo V6. This potent powerplant is good for 340-hp in the S and 400-hp in the rarefied Turbo, which has a starting price of $73,000.
The sole transmission choice is a seven-speed automated manual that Porsche calls PDK. It delivers quick, decisive shifts on the gallop, but it somehow stifles an immediate throttle response when loafing around town. So far, the onboard computer reports that we’ve been averaging 19 mpg—not bad considering the 340 horses onboard and the temptation to flog them. Sport mode adds some welcome steering heft and quicker throttle response, and it cancels the sometimes irritating start/stop feature.
Behind the wheel you’ll find yourself ascending to high speeds quickly, smoothly and effortlessly, treated to a subdued baritone bark on start up and a muted backfire-like blurt on some of the upshifts.
Handling is agile in a way that is practically unheard of for an SUV. While it shares some platform components with the very nice Audi Q5, the Macan takes agility to another level. It is taut, yet feels lithe and nimble, willing to tackle any corner and bend with gusto. It answers the helm promptly and remains settled and even-keeled. The steering is well weighted and provides good feedback.
And yet, ride comfort is rather commendable. Yes, there is a distinct underlying firmness, most noticeable at low speeds, but the suspension absorbs bumps quite effectively, and once on the open road, it becomes steadier and makes an express dash a rock-solid sail. The cabin is tight as a drum, quiet and impressively well-isolated from the outside world.