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UK Drive: Is the entry-level version the sweet spot in the Porsche Macan range?

·6-min read

What is it?

Porsche Macan
(Porsche)

Though Porsche might be better known for its sports cars, these days it’s the SUVs that dominate its sales – with both the Cayenne and smaller Macan proving hugely popular. More than 600,000 Macans have been sold since its launch in 2014, with premium SUV buyers realising they can have a Porsche for not a lot more money than what they’d pay for the equivalent Audi or Mercedes.

While the Macan might have only been updated a couple of years ago, Porsche has now given it a second facelift to prolong its life, as – importantly – the next-generation version is set to become electric-only as part of the brand’s growing electrification push.

What’s new?

Porsche Macan
(Porsche)

On the face of it, not a huge amount has changed on the Macan, with key changes focusing around a reworked front end and broader range of colours (which we’ll explore later).

Instead, many of the main changes are those you can’t see – not least a revised engine range featuring more powerful units than before, along with tweaks to the suspension and steering to improve the way it handles. Inside, the cabin gets a smart new ‘touch surface’ mirroring that of more expensive Porsches.

What’s under the bonnet?

Porsche Macan
(Porsche)

The Macan comes in three forms – the entry-level version (simply called Macan), a more powerful S and the flagship GTS, and here we’re trying the baby version.

Featuring a newly developed 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, it kicks out 261bhp and 400Nm of torque – 20bhp and 30Nm more than its predecessor. That allows for a 0-60mph time of 6.4 seconds, which is marginally quicker than before, and is capable of a 144mph top speed. The running costs don’t make for the best reading, though, with Porsche claiming just 28mpg and 228g/km CO2 emissions.

Like the other Macan variants, it features a seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive as standard.

What’s it like to drive?

Porsche Macan
(Porsche)

We got behind the wheel of the Macan straight after having a go in Porsche’s 911 sports car, and while you’d expect that to show up this high-riding SUV, it really doesn’t. How Porsche can make a model like this handle so well is remarkable. Body roll is largely non-existent, while the way you can throw a Macan into a corner completely belies its size. It certainly remains the best handling car in its class.

This exact car isn’t perfect, though, as – sitting on the standard steel springs – it doesn’t ride as well as models with electronic dampers or – better still – air suspension. We’d be very tempted to upgrade in this area. The four-cylinder engine is also a slight weak link. Though punchy enough in most settings, it lacks the character you get from the 2.9-litre V6 found in the S or GTS, and sounds quite strained when you put your foot down. Though it’s a £5,500 jump to get the 120bhp-more-powerful S, we reckon it’s money well spent.

How does it look?

Porsche doesn’t tend to make radical styling changes, and this latest Macan facelift is itself a very light evolution of what was an already-light evolution.

Key changes affect the front end, which gets new body-coloured accents to give the model a wider look on the road, as well as a more prominent rear diffuser. Like before, this is an impressively sharply-styled car that’s far more attractive to look at than many of its peers – the Alfa Romeo Stelvio arguably being the only exception.

New colours also include Gentian Blue (pictured) and Papaya (orange), while the extensive range of personalisation remains – not least the chance to have bronzey-coloured wheels. An opportunity we’d personally decline…

What’s it like inside?

Porsche Macan
(Porsche)

Inside, the key difference on this Macan is the new ‘touch surface’, which is a glass panel that has buttons beneath it, using haptic feedback when you press them. It’s the same as that found on the high-end Cayenne and Panamera and is a huge step up compared to the cluttered button-heavy layout found on its predecessor. The ergonomics and quality are also spot on, and are the best of any premium mid-size SUV; you can tell the Macan is a car engineered for the driver first and foremost.

The Macan is also ideal as a family car, not least because of its generous 500-litre boot. Rear legroom in the back isn’t the most plentiful, though, and if you reckon it’s a bit cramped back there it could be worth looking at an Audi Q5 or a used version of Porsche’s larger Cayenne instead.

What’s the spec like?

Porsche Macan
(Porsche)

As standard the Macan comes with LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, an electric driver’s seat and a truly excellent 10.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, with prices starting from £47,780 for this four-cylinder model. It might seem a lot of money at first, but it’s only around £1,500 more expensive than an Audi Q5 with a similar engine.

But most tend to head the options list, as by the time you’ve chosen your colour and wheels you’re already up to £50,000. Our test car, with extras such as ‘comfort front seats’ (£1,044), black extended leather interior (£2,247) was a £57,777 car, and hardly felt like it was scratching the surface.

Verdict

Porsche Macan
(Porsche)

If you want an SUV you can enjoy driving, they really don’t come much better than the Macan. Its agility and the way it flows through corners is remarkable, and really puts it a notch above just about all its rivals. With a much-improved interior and additional power, the Macan looks set to continue its winning streak.

This four-cylinder option doesn’t show it up at its finest, though, and we’d personally be very tempted to upgrade to the more powerful and generally more pleasant S. Do this and the Macan becomes an exceptional all-rounder.

  • Model: Porsche Macan

  • Price: £47,780 (£57,777 as tested)

  • Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol

  • Power: 261bhp

  • Torque: 400Nm

  • Max speed: 144mph

  • 0-60mph: 6.2 seconds

  • MPG: 26.4-28mpg

  • Emissions: 228-243g/km

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