Porsche Macan GTS review: fast family
Search Driven for Porsche for sale
Porsche Macan GTS
- Sensational dynamic package
- Luxury-car quality
- Surprisingly practical
- New face not exactly pretty
- No electrification
- Sombre cabin colours
There are new looks, power hikes and upgraded interiors across the revised Macan range. But no electrification, which might raise an eyebrow or two in these times.
That’s coming, and when it does Macan is going all the way. The all-new 2023 model will be a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).
But it’s not there yet, and because the current Macan dates back to 2014 (it’s loosely based on the now-previous-generation Audi Q5 platform), electrification isn’t an option. But here’s another thing: even when the Macan BEV arrives, the current model will continue to be sold alongside it. Porsche sees a place for the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) in its entry-level SUV for some time yet.
We’re guessing BEV and ICE won’t look too different either, so it’s worth paying attention to Porsche’s visual updates for the Macan.
It’s standard operating procedure at Porsche to update the look of a model by putting more holes in in. So it is with the Macan, which has a new front bumper and gaping full-length insert with grilles and inlets. At the rear there’s now a diffuser-style bumper, while LED lighting and Porsche’s Sport Design door mirrors are now standard.
Inside, it doesn’t look a whole lot different until you start to go touchy-feely: the centre console now uses touch surfaces instead of tactile buttons and there’s a beautiful 10.9-inch screen to play with.
Macan still aims to serve some, shall we say, baser pleasures. Power is up right across the range, but by a whopping 44kW in our Macan GTS test model: now 324kW from its 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, which is outrageous for a medium-sized SUV. But it’s also for a wholly logical reason: the GTS has moved up the ranks to take over from the Turbo as the flagship of the range. And that’s what the Turbo used to pack under its clamshell bonnet.
Auckland | Auckland City
$1,023.60 p/w $4,094.38 p/m
The concept of Porsche’s GTS models is equal talent on both road and track. To that end, the flagship Macan gets an even more aggressive chassis, with a recalibrated Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system that’s 10mm lower than the previous model even in its standard setting. PASM is also standard on the S model, but for the GTS it’s 10 per cent stiffer at the front and 15 per cent at the rear.
It’s all very well to keep adding power and chassis stiffness, but it’s tricky territory for the Macan GTS, which is still a family SUV and is supposed to stay true to GTS ethos of being luxurious and comfortable along with the gung-ho stuff.
It all comes together beautifully. There’s a bit of patter from those big feet (it has mixed-size tyres, just like a 911) on urban roads that never goes away, but on the whole it’s smooth and refined in everyday driving. In Normal mode it’s even relatively quiet, with nicely linear steering, throttle and power delivery.
Along with the new interior comes Porsche’s latest steering wheel, which has a rotary drive-mode controller: it’s a quick click around the five settings, plus a pushbutton in the middle that gives you max-everything for 20 seconds when required (overtaking, for example).
It’s not just a case of mild-to-wild. There’s a clearly defined step up through each mode that means you do actually click back and forth as the driving environment changes. It helps that you can do so without having to take your eyes off the road.
With all guns blazing in Sport Plus mode, the GTS is a very fast car, with a raspy engine note and crackling exhaust. But even then, the steering is full of feel and the chassis truly communicative. It delivers enormous speed with real sophistication.
It quite sports car-like from the inside. Sure, it’s an SUV so you’re sitting high; but the driving position itself is low and you’re enveloped by cockpit-like interior architecture.
Getting all carried away about the Macan’s dynamic appeal is fine, but it also has to do the job of any other premium SUV: cruise around, carry passengers and occasionally get loaded up with lifestyle stuff.
Macan is medium-sized and entirely capable of carrying four adults in comfort: the dark tones of the our GTS’s cabin made it feel pretty intimate in the back, but head and legroom in the rear chairs are both impressive.
You even get something close to a flat load-through when you fold the seats down, and you can lower the rear air suspension (it’s called a “drop frame”) for loading with a button in the boot. Move over Volvo?
It’s easy to scoff at the Macan: it’s unashamedly the entry-level Porsche, it’s an SUV and 80 per cent of buyers are new to the Porsche brand – so it was always intended to have broad, rather than enthusiast, appeal.
But if there’s a more accomplished and better sorted medium performance SUV on the market than the new Macan GTS, I haven’t driven it.
PORSCHE MACAN GTS
ENGINE: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol
GEARBOX: 7-speed automated dual clutch, AWD
0-100KM/H: 4.3 seconds
ECONOMY: 11.7l/100km, CO2 265g/km (WLTP)