Porsche Macan Turbo. Proof a sports car company can make SUVs. And do it well.
I remember the first time I saw a Porsche SUV back in high school. It was the Cayenne, and at the time I was traveling with my then partner. I turned to him and said, ‘Since when did Porsche start making SUVs and why are SUVs even a popular thing?”
At the time, I was an avid hatchback fan, and looked at SUVs with the thought process of: “What is the point of buying an SUV like that, if you’re never going to go off-roading!? Why would a person want a Porsche SUV to start with? I’d rather just buy a sports car.”
Now that I’m a little older, and a little wiser, I’ve opened to the idea of SUVs. To truly understand them, you need to sit in one. At the time of my above thought processes, I had NEVER sat in an SUV. Growing up, we only had sedans or a some very hideous vans…
Fast forward to 2017, and SUVs are more popular than ever. Even I want to buy into the SUV lifestyle. (If you told that to 2007 me, I’d probably scoff and laugh right in your face…yet here we are.)
With car brands like Land Rover offering a range of SUVs to fit different lifestyles- they are getting more popular than ever. It seems every car manufacturer has realised and is tapping into this, even Bentley & Maserati.
Porsche themselves, realised relatively early, that people that had a Porsche sports car, also had an SUV in their garage.
For premium brands, this seems like a missed opportunity because even if customers are brand loyalists- the premium brands back then didn’t have this sort of offering.
Porsche was one of the first premium car brands to pick up on this, and ever since they’ve been cashing in. Even offering a more compact SUV, the Macan. If I was to choose between the two, I’d go the Macan all the way. It’s like having a hatchback but with all the perks of an SUV. If compact SUVs didn’t exist, I think I’d still be hard pressed to say, ‘Hey I’m going to go out and get a SUV’. Some SUVs, you feel like you’re driving a massive truck. It’s bulky and tighter on the roads and with parking.
I fell in love with the Macan two years ago (a year after it’s initial production), partly due to the Cayenne (surprisingly). I bet you’re wondering, ‘But you just said…” Yeah, you’re right, but I was very lucky to be dating a guy whose parents owned a beautiful Porsche Cayenne. Like I said, you don’t really know until you experience it. As soon as I got into the car, I fell in love.
The craftsmanship knows no bounds, and yes, it may be an SUV but just like the Macan and any other Porsche- it is still a sports car whether you like it or not.
I loved everything about the Cayenne, except the size, and hey, that’s just my preference. Doesn’t mean it isn’t a beautiful car.
It’ was a double-edged sword, because I was lucky enough to drive the Macan Turbo, but now that I know what I’m truly missing out on, it makes me want it even more (funny that).
Although I won’t be getting this for my 25th birthday like I originally told myself, perhaps I’ll aim for 30th instead?
DESIGN & SPORT
Like I said, this car IS a sport car. Sure, it’s not the classic shape of a sports car, but it sure as hell handles like one. Truth be told, I didn’t drive this around a track when I had it. But I was lucky enough to get to test its capabilities at Porsche’s Sport Driving School in Queensland, earlier this month.
I can confirm, this car truly ‘goes’. I had the Performance Package (a new Macan Turbo option announced at the end of 2016) which makes it faster than the standard Macan Turbo. We are talking acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, instead of 4.8 seconds.
This is extremely impressive for a car that can also tow very heavy cargo! It also had magnificent 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels , with signature red brake calipers.
PERFORMANCE PACKAGE INCLUSIONS
Performance increase of +30kW (40hp) and + 50Nm, Vmax + 6km/h 0-100 km/h in
0.4 seconds faster than the Macan Turbo
Titan Grey engine compartment with carbon inlay
Sports exhaust system
Sport Chrono Package
Porsche Active Suspension Managemant (PASM) with 15mm lowering
Standard air suspension with self-levelling function and height adjustment, including
Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with 10mm lowering
Internally ventilated brake discs with a diameter of 390mm at the front, grooved on
both sides, 356mm at the rear, red brake calipers
Sports tailpipes in Silver featuring a unique design
I love what cars can do. Technology comes in and just makes it even better. There were so many things I loved about the Macan Turbo (but see below for my favourites).
One of the reasons I particularly love reviewing premium cars is that in my opinion the tech is often leaps and bounds ahead of other more affordable cars. This means you can buy a premium car, and in a few years, technology will slowly catch up and enter those more affordable cars. That’s just how tech is. Sometimes, you do get the awesome tech, but you make compromises, for example you might get great tech but lower performance. In the more premium segment you get the best of both: high-end tech and high-end performance. Basically, if you are buying into luxury, you want the best of the best. And I mean why wouldn’t you when you’re spending some serious coin!?
CUSTOMISATION OF PREFERENCES
The customisation settings of the Macan were amazing. There were so many buttons. It almost seems a bit overwhelming at first, but once you figure out what they all mean it’s super simple. Heck, you can even customise your driving setting down to even your favourite temperature and fan speed alongside with your seat preferences. SO, every time you get behind the wheel, the car is EXACTLY how you want it. Of course, you can change this depending on the season, or your drive- whatever. It’s just one way of simplifying your driving experience. The same can be done with the passenger side.
Things I customised:
-Sports Mode (including exhaust sound)
-Temp setting of 23 degrees
It was fantastic. As soon as we wanted to go somewhere I just pressed SET + 1, and it automatically positioned to what I want and the preferred settings, all within a matter of seconds.
Well this goes without saying, but I really loved the sports performance of the car. On those long-isolated country roads, it was fantastic to be able drive 100km/hr comfortably, and even listen to the sound of the exhaust (if you’re into that kind of thing…I know I am). Even in sports mode you feel like the car is absolutely gliding. Each gear shift so smooth and continuous.
THE CAMERAS (aka Surround View*)
Out of all the cars I’ve had this had got to be my favourite when it comes to cameras. It’s got so many of them and you can even do an aerial view.
Even though I get to drive different cars all the time, it takes a little bit to get used to at first. Especially when it comes to parking. I need to completely readjust my spatial awareness. As a base, I always want to have cameras in my cars and sensors. They are so incredibly important, and I couldn’t live without them. Porsche takes it one step further by offering aerial and side view cameras. This means no matter what, you can see how far you are from any object around the car. You can even check your position in the parking space to make sure you’re correctly centred and far enough forward that your rear isn’t going to get clipped.
I found it was awesome when you were at the lights, the sensors would go off if other cars got close or if someone walked up to your car. This fits within safety (insert there). The doors automatically lock, but it’s great if you’re worried about people coming up to the car- you’ll be able to see and hear them.
*Surround view is an option that was fitted to the Macan Turbo.
I guess the best and worst thing about driving cars is that every now and then, I get to test the safety features without even meaning to. The weekend I had the Porsche, it was just prior to the Easter long weekend. I always find around the holidays that there are a lot more hooligans on the road.
You can try and be as careful as you want, but sometimes you can’t predict the stupidity of others. This is where the tech capabilities are so important.
My photographer and I were just making our onward journey to our weekend away in Daylesford, traveling on a fairly congested highway.
I was doing about 95km/hr before I was cut off by a massive semi-trailer, one that didn’t look in the lane next to them to see that I was right there. This was absolutely terrifying to say the least, but I was extremely thankful for the cars adaptability to one, brake and two, do it without giving us severe whiplash. It was probably the most ‘comfortable’ terrifying road experiences I had. Although the car didn’t need to brake completely to a stop ie. activate abs, it was able to respond quick enough that even though the truck didn’t stop themselves and just continued to almost take me out. I was able to break quick enough that no one was harmed. Even the photographer turned and was like, ‘these brakes are incredible, that was the smoothest ‘we just avoided death I’ve had so far’.
So yeah, never under appreciated what your brakes can do for you.
Besides this the Macan has some nifty safety features, luckily we didn’t have any other near incidents but if anything, safety is the most important thing in a car. They are what get you from A to B safely. You can never not appreciate it’s role in your day to day life.
Some of the Standard safety inclusions:
- Braking System
- Sixpiston aluminium monobloc fixed brake calipers at the front, internally vented for consistently high braking power even during continuous use.
- Porsche Stability Management (PSM)
- An electronic control system that maintains stability – and increases driving safety.
- Strategically placed in front, rear and sides (including in roof frame).
- Engineered Body
- Ultra and super high-strength steels to aid in impact and dispersion of forces
Unlike your classic Porsche two seaters etc, this car is definitely far more practical.
Even though it is classed as a compact SUV, I’d say it’s probably the largest ‘compact SUV’ I’ve had to date.
This car is built to handle all your towing needs, whether it’s snowmobiles, a trailer a boat, or even bikes. One of my friends is a dirt bike rider, who drives to the most beautiful blue Macan S. He bought the car because he wanted something sporty, but also that could handle his off-roading and towing needs. In his mind, the Macan was the best of both worlds. He’s taken it to the snow, he’s taken it off road. Basically, he is one huge example of what you can do with this car.
Driving this car, I didn’t really expect to get as many looks as I did.
Additionally the car was in this beautiful white colour, which seemed to get it a lot of attention. I still think people are surprised when they see Porsche SUVs on the road. It’s still a relatively new concept to a lot of people. The idea of an SUV being a sports car, seems so foreign, but when you get in it just makes so much sense.
If you’re going to buy an SUV, you might as well choose one that’s going to be fun to drive. I love the Porsche Macan for many reasons, but the main being that it’s completely changed my perception on what sports car brands are capable of.
In an ideal world, I would have a small two-seater sports car, and then I’d have a Porsche Macan as my travel and towing car. I might not take it properly off-roading (purely because I lack these skills), but I’d definitely use it to tow my winter gear to the snow and heck, even a boat.
Just because it’s a luxury SUV doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, plus get some serious practicality with it.
Don’t judge the Macan too quickly, try it out for yourself and you’ll soon see what I mean.
The Porsche Macan starts at a price of approximately $92,000 MRL, with the Porsche Macan Turbo w/ Performance Package roughly around $144,000 MRL. (The model I drove, with fitted options, was priced at $158,000 MRL (subject to additional costs).)
For more information on the car I reviewed check out Porsche Macan Turbo.
Review vehicle provided on behalf of Porsche Australia
Photography by Noah Esposito