Porsche Macan review – the SUV that wants to be a sports car
Rivals have caught up, but the Macan remains an engaging and appealing sports SUV
The Porsche Macan is an unusual thing. Half huge hot hatch and half baby Cayenne, but this seemingly awkward mash-up actually works and has created a car that delivers a more exciting driving experience than you might expect.
Built on VW group’s MLB platform, the Macan shares around a third of its underbody components with the Audi Q5. The driving experience, however, feels distinctly Porsche, with an emphasis on interaction and enjoyment, rather than the load-lugging approach of the Q5.
Porsche has worked hard to mask the Macan's mass and height, with the car exhibiting decent roll control and a steering set-up that brings proper interaction. Opt for the driver-focused Macan GTS and things get better still, while the Turbo is impressively quick both in a straight line and around corners.
Although Porsche's attempts have been successful, and the Macan is certainly impressive, don't for a second think it comes close to a non-SUV Porsche for driver involvement. Ultimately, it’s a well-rounded package with a price point that will likely see potential buyers of specced-up X3s and Q5s jumping ship for the Porsche badge. It isn’t a proper sports car, but it’s about as close as we’ve seen an SUV come to being one.
Porsche Macan: in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical specs – No diesel these days, but the four- and six-cylinder petrols are strong, the seven-speed PDK smooth, and the chassis well-equipped for deft handling.
- Performance and 0-60 time – GTS and Turbo are well capable of outsprinting hot hatchbacks, but no Macan could be called slow.
- Ride and handling – Weight counts against ultimate agility, but the Macan’s chassis is one of the best of any SUV.
- MPG and running costs – The lack of a diesel harms ultimate economy. The petrols do get close to their official figures, though.
- Interior and tech – Cabin design now looks dated next to those of more recent Porsches, but comfort and quality are still high and the tech is useable.
- Design – One of the more attractive SUVs on sale, and it’s ageing well. Plenty of personalisation potential.
Prices, specs and rivals
Pricing for the new Macan starts at £46,913, for the entry-level 245bhp four-cylinder simply badged ‘Macan’. Move up the model pyramid to £49,300 and you’ll find the Macan S, sporting two more cylinders, and favouring performance rather than frugality compared to the four-pot.
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The next jump (much bigger) lands you the Macan GTS sitting at £58,816. The Porsche 911-baiting Macan Turbo sits atop the range at £68,530. Like the GTS and the S, the Turbo uses a six-cylinder power plant; there’s no V8 here like there is in the Cayenne.
Core German rivals come in the shape of the BMW X4, Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC Coupe, although none can match the Macan in terms of driving dynamics or sense of occasion. The X4 undercuts the Macan by only a few grand at base level, while the range-topping 355bhp M40i derivative elevates the sticker price into Macan GTS territory, at £56,790. The Q5 meanwhile begins at £41,420, and rises to £55,035 for the SQ5. The GLC range, meanwhile, ranges from £44,925, through £52,990 for the V6-engined GLC43 and £77,169 for the barmy 4-litre twin-turbo V8-powered GLC63.
Outside of the usual German brands the closest equivalents are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Velar. All feature high-performance variants, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio using a 3.9-litre turbocharged V6 and the other two a 5-litre supercharged V8, but of them all (and including the German cars) it’s the Alfa that gets closest to the Macan, and possibly even eclipses it.
The Macan naturally feels the more sophisticated and is the better built of the pair, but the Stelvio’s startling performance, impressive ability and gloriously silly soundtrack will give it the edge for some. At £70,900 the Quadrifoglio isn’t cheap (though nor is it excessive for a car with 503bhp), but it’s a lot of fun.