The updated Porsche Macan dials up the performance without dialling down the practicality.
Can you really Porsche-ify an SUV? You bet you can. The updated Porsche Macan is a seriously good driver's car, wrapped in a polished and practical suit. So is this what the best of both worlds looks like?
It’s been a long, long - long - time since Porsche was simply the 911 company. The Cayenne put an end to that, and so did the Taycan, both of which have comprehensively out-sold that icon of German performance in Australia this year.
But if you’re looking for the model that really matters to Porsche in the modern era, it’s this one, the just-updated Macan, which outsells its nearest sibling by a factor of two to one in this market.
So yes, it’s important to Porsche. Which is why a heap of work has been done here to make this updated version more powerful and tech-savvy. There are new engines, new equipment and more performance, as well as an updated new look.
So can Porsche still Porsche-ify an SUV? Let's find out.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 7/10
The bad news? There are price increases across the range here, with the most significant jump reserved for the Macan GTS model. The method to Porsche’s madness here, though, is that with no flagship Turbo model this time around, the GTS has been tuned up (and priced up) to fill that top-of-tree void.
The entry-level Macan wears 19-inch alloy wheels. (base variant pictured)
The new Macan range now spans the entry-level Macan, which has increased by $500 to $84,500, the mid-spec Macan S, which has increased by $5000 to $105,800, and the top-spec GTS, which has increased by a very substantial $17,500 to $129,800.
The 10.9-inch central screen features Apple CarPlay support. (GTS variant pictured)
The Macan S adds a premium Bose surround-sound system, 20-inch alloys, a bigger engine and sportier suspension, while the GTS then adds 21-inch RS Spyder alloys, sports seats, the most power and the most impressive performance kit, including air suspension.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10
There’s a freshened-up new look right across the Macan range, though it definitely falls into the realm of evolution over revolution.
The changes are most noticeable at the front, where a new black bar splits the front-end, running from headlight to headlight, with the effect looking more aggressive on the S and GTS models than it does on the base Macan.
There’s a freshened-up new look right across the Macan range. (base variant pictured)
The entry-level Macan is now $84,500. (base variant pictured)
This new Macan looks a little sharper than the model before it. (S variant pictured)
The mid-spec Macan S is priced at $105,800. (S variant pictured)
There's a new black bar splitting the front-end, running from headlight to headlight. (GTS variant pictured)
The top-spec GTS costs $129,800. (GTS variant pictured)
The lights are LEDs, as are the daytime running lights, and there’s no doubt this new Macan looks a little sharper, and a little angrier, than the model before it.
But perhaps the biggest changes are in the cabin, with the interior of the new Macan pretty extensively updated. The newly designed centre console now uses touch-sensitive surfaces in place of conventional switches on the centre console, making the cabin look a little less cluttered.
The biggest changes are in the cabin. (base variant pictured)
The newly designed centre console now uses touch-sensitive surfaces. (S variant pictured)
The Macan's interior feels a little busy. (GTS variant pictured)
But... it still doesn't look all that modern. In a world in which some car makers are shooting for pared-back minimalism, the Macan's interior still feels a little busy, and the gear selector (and the materials that surround it) feel a little like yesteryear, too.
How practical is the space inside? 7/10
Arguably the second-most practical Porsche on offer, the Macan measures 4726mm in length, 1927mm in width and 1621mm in height.
That's not massive, and nor is the boot space on offer, with between 453L and 488L on offer with the seats in place, or between 1468L and 1503L with the seats folded flat. The Mercedes GLC, as a point of reference, serves up 550L of space.
With the rear seats in place, boot space is between 453L and 488L. (GTS variant pictured)
But it is a tall-opening and usable boot area, and the rear seat - though not massive - can fit four adults in comfort, even if the raised tunnel and protruding air vents would pretty much rule out carrying five full-size humans. I'm 175cm, and sitting behind my own driving position, I had enough headroom and legroom without feeling cramped.
The Macan can comfortably fit four adults. (S variant pictured)
The cupholder count sits at four (including the two in the pull-down armrest that can divide the rear sear), and there's bottle holders in each of the doors, too.
Rear passengers get two cupholders in the pull-down armrest. (S variant pictured)
You'll find an ISOFIX attachment point in each rear window seat, and backseat riders can also make use of rear-facing air vents, though without temperature controls.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 8/10
You get what you pay for, of course, and that starts with the base-model Macan, which gets the only four-cylinder engine on offer here – a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-petrol that will produce 195kW and 400Nm, and deliver a sprint to 100km/h in 6.2secs.
Step up the S and GTS, though, and you get a cracking 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6. It's a peach, this engine, and one that spits out a different power level depending on which of the sportier models you spring for.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol makes 195kW/400Nm. (base variant pictured)
In Macan S guise, expect 280kW, 520Nm and a 0-100km/h dash of just 4.6secs. In the GTS, those numbers increase to 324kW and 550Nm, dropping your sprint to just 4.3 seconds.
It might not be the newest SUV in the stable, but the Macan still achieves something few others can manage, and that is a pretty sublime blend of sportiness and grip, without ever feeling overly harsh and brittle.
My pick of the bunch here is the S model, which serves up plenty of sportiness, but forgoes the eye-watering price jump attached to the GTS.
If there's a weak point in the Macan family you'll find it in the base model. (base variant pictured)
It's the sweet spot in the range, no doubt. Because the best thing about an SUV this size, and this Macan S in particular, is the fact that it behaves much more like a hot hatch than a SUV, without any of the side-to-side rocking you might expect from a taller vehicle when you're pushing through corners.
Our several-hour test route took in some of the great driving roads in Sydney’s north, which are also a little shoddily patched in places, and the Macan S just soaked it all up, with no mid-corner weirdness or suspension surprises, instead just flowing through bends.
My pick of the bunch here is the S model. (S variant pictured)
There’s also a seriously addictive sporty undertone to the Macan S, which is enough to make you forget - if only for a moment - that you’re all grown up and have made a sensible SUV vehicle choice.
Put it into Sport or Sport + and there’s a really bass-heavy burble to the exhaust, a heft to the steering and a responsiveness to the accelerator. If it was me, I’d be leaving it glued in sport at all times.
The Macan S behaves more like a hot hatch than a SUV. (S variant pictured)
It was always impressive, the Macan. And to be honest, this new one is more of the same, just better.
Still, if there's a weak point in the Macan family you'll find it in the base model.
There’s a really bass-heavy burble to the exhaust. (GTS variant pictured)
I don't want to sound overly harsh, given I'd just stepped from the GTS and into the four-cylinder model - which is not something most owners would do - but I found the entry-level Macan isn't just less powerful, but also far less sporty, with more body sway, less assured suspension and just a more doughy personality that would be fine in the city, but less so on your favourite twisting road.
It might be about to be replaced (a new one is expected in around 2023), but the Macan remains a super-solid offering, and a super-sport one, too, should you opt for the S or GTS trims.
For my money, though, the S is all the Macan you need. It gets the best engine, plenty of performance, and most of the cleverest sporting equipment, only without the eye-watering price of the GTS model.
Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel, accommodation and meals provided.
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication. Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.
Test Drive a new Porsche Macan
Request a test drive at your nearest dealership and take a closer look.
Your request has been sent successfully
We sent you an email with confirmation of your request and a representative of your local dealership will get in touch soon.