2017 Porsche Macan Review and Road Test

2017 Porsche Macan

Porsche’s new entry level Macan feels anything but

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Another Macan in the Carpages Garage?

Correct. Instead of the spicy Macan GTS we recently reported on, this time around we have a go in the new-for-2016 model called…the Macan. The lack of suffix in this case means that there’s a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood instead of a blown V6. As this is a study in entry level models, our Macan tester had a scant (for a Porsche, anyway) $3,370 in options- that would be for the Sport Chrono Package and 19” wheels from the Turbo- on top of the $52,700 base price. All told, the final tally rang in at $57,185, but we’d guess that most Macan transactions will have a quite few more dollars added to that number.

So Porsche has basically given us a gateway drug.

The Macan four-cylinder is an opportunity to those who haven’t tasted the euphoric bliss that comes with owning Zuffenhausen’s finest, and tempts them with that prospective by lowering the cost of entry. Once shoppers in the compact luxury SUV segment have a taste of the Macan after sampling some of the other offerings in the class, they’ll be hooked. Next time they find themselves in a Porsche showroom, they might step up to a Cayenne, or even look towards putting a 718 or 911 in their driveways. There are people who don’t have apex storming and trail braking high on their agendas but want something with a Porsche badge and for them, the Macan we tested here should fit the bill nicely. Should they feel frisky every now and again, the Macan will comply as a willing dance partner, same as everything Porsche makes. There are some immediate benefits those who choose this Macan model will enjoy in addition to the lower price point- better fuel economy than its stablemates, less weight (and less weight up front for more eager turn-in), not to mention it’ll ask less of your wallet in running costs and insurance.

 

Does the driving experience differ much from the GTS sampled earlier?

Well, for starters, the Macan lacks the under-hood punch you get from the turbo six. This isn’t as big a deficit as you might imagine- down 108 horsepower from the hotter GTS, it’s hardly underpowered and at 252 horsepower it can still hustle to 100 km/h in a shade over six seconds. This is by far the familiar 2.0 turbo found in various Audi and VW’s most polished performance- no untoward vibrations and a decent soundtrack from the rectangular tail pipes, even if it suffers from a whiff of turbo lag just off idle. It’s mated to Porsche’s wonderful PDK 7-speed gearbox which will swap ratios telepathically on its own or will allow you to march up and down through the gears via steering wheel paddles on the steering wheel or the console gear lever if you prefer. Admittedly, we mostly let the expertly programed shift algorithms do their thing, so good is the transmission’s ability to be in the perfect gear at just the right time. The Macan we tested also lacked the trick air suspension that came standard on the GTS (add it to yours for $3,140) and rode on conventional spring suspension. As impressive as the air suspenders are, the more pedestrian steel springs delivered a ride that offered an excellent balance of ride and handling. We noticed the Macan served up a little more body roll when you throw it into a corner, but for an SUV with higher ground clearance it acquitted itself admirably. Scrubbing off speed was never an issue for the Macan despite wearing smaller rotors and calipers relative to its racier cousins- Porsche products have always been well endowed in the braking department. So while the overall dynamic delights may be less than what’s on tap in the S, GTS or Turbo, it isn’t nearly as much of a disparity as you might think.

 

What might go wrong?

Porsche is hoping not much; they expect the Macan four cylinder to comprise 40% of the model’s sales. The small list of gripes for the Macan we tested are similar to the GTS we flogged recently- the cramped rear seat and cargo area as well as the temptation to add options which inevitably results in a price tag that inflates rather quickly. Also like the GTS, we wouldn’t mind if Porsche allowed the four cylinder to up the decibel quotient a little; so much of the Porsche experience is tied to the sounds they make, and we sure wouldn’t mind a little more volume.

 

Should I buy a Macan?

That question will be asked by an increasing number of people with the availability of this entry level choice. Porsche is trying to broaden their appeal to customers that may not have considered the brand previously while simultaneously increasing volume which will add to the already swollen company coffers. The segment it competes in is spoiled for choice with many solid vehicles. That said, it’s the undeniable driver’s choice, even if its spec sheet doesn’t boast the same heady numbers as its more powerful brethren.  It may be the base model, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

 

 

 

2017 Porsche Macan- Specifications

  • Price as tested: $57,185
  • Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger compact luxury SUV
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic (PDK)
  • Engine:  2.0 turbocharged inline-four, DOHC, 16 valves
  • Horsepower:  252 @ 5,000-6,800 rpm
  • Torque (lbs-ft.): 273 @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
  • Curb weight: 1,770 kg (3,902 lbs)
  • Observed Fuel Consumption: 11.6/100km (20 mpg)