“2017 Porsche Macan”
Porsche’s entry level SUV ideally done
The Porsche Macan first bowed on the scene, celebrating its world premiere at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show as a 2014 model. It represented the automaker’s fifth model line and first entry in the compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment. Macan is visually striking at first glance delivering impressive engine power, rapid acceleration and braking, ,excellent agility, and ideal steering precision. All of these attributes provide a luxurious level of comfort and everyday drivability.
Porsche’s first SUV model was the Porsche Cayenne, and many wondered why Porsche was venturing out of their realm of sports car expertise and into the SUV market. Initially, I was one of those skeptics and failed to grasp the big picture – increased cash flow from a new revenue source. Without the added infusion of income from the Cayenne model lineup, the development and production of such stellar vehicles as the Carrera GT and near million dollar 918 Spyder Hybrid would not have been possible.
The Macan is available in four levels of trim: the base Macan; the Macan S; the Macan GTS and the flagship Macan Turbo. The base model is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower along with 273 pound feet of torque. The Macan S, comes with a 340 horsepower 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 engine, while the Macan GTS also comes with a 3.0 liter twin turbo V6 with a healthier 360 horsepower outout. The top-of-the-line Macan Turbo draws its motive force from a 3.6-liter twin turbo V6 that cranks out 400 horses and 406 pound feet of torque.
All of the engines mate to Porsche’s wet multiplate dual clutch PDK (Porsche Dopelkupplung) automatic transmission with a dual amass flywheel, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters and a fully variable Active all-wheel-drive system. All four models feature LED taillights in a 3D design, electromechanical steering, a new multi-function steering wheel, and available air-suspension.
The Macan is based on Volkswagen’s MLB platform architecture – the same platform that Audi’s Q5 SUV is based on. Both the Macan and Q5 are approximately the same size, and both are powered by V-6 engines positioned ahead of the front axle, but the Macan differs from the Q5 with roughly only 20 percent of the parts interchangeable.
Another noteworthy difference between the Macan and Q5 lies in the transmissions – the Macan employs a seven-speed, dual clutch PDK (Porsche Dopelkupplung) with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, and the Q5 comes with an eight-speed automatic.
Alright, enough with the comparisons, let’s focus on our test Porsche Macan. The exterior of the Macan appears remarkably close to that of the Cayenne, but as already mentioned – on a somewhat smaller scale, which will likely prove to be more suitable to many consumers. An interesting feature is the fact that there are cutouts in the hood for the headlights in much the same fashion as a MINI Cooper.
At first glance, the Porsche Macan resembes an unsanforized version of its larger Cayenne siblings. Despite its somewhat smaller footprint, the Macan is still a highly capable Sports SUV.
The interior is well finished with a center console that resembles that of a commercial jet aircraft – much on the order of the Porsche Panamera – perhaps a little intimidating at first , but easily mastered. The seats are highly supportive and comfortable, with suede-like cushion inserts in the leather seats. Elements for connectivity and infotainment are in abundance with a CD player, two SD slots and two auxiliary outlets.
My test 2017 Porsche Macan was the base model, which came with a base price of $47,500 that bumped up to $53,110 after adding the Premium Package and other option along with Destination and handling charges. My test Macan wore an exterior coat of Carrera White metallic, with the interior executed in Luxor Beige and Black.
SUMMARY: As one would expect, the Porsche Macan’s performance is Porsche through and through. It is a joy to pilot. Forget phenomenal fuel economy – EPA estimates are 20 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, so it’s livable for an SUV.
I was able to cover some challenging, twisty back country roads with lots of elevation changes and came away smiling. The Macan handles exceptionally well and with ease. Think of it not as a compact SUV, but as a slightly oversized luxury sport wagon with all-wheel drive. It is remarkably planted and stable.
The exhaust note from the dual exhaust is pleasingly melodious for a four-cylinder. Engaging the Sport mode button on the console allows tuning in the desired level of performance by altering the throttle response, damping and shift mapping.
Simply tapping an Off-Road button raises the suspension up, while firming up the shocks to their stiffest setting, as well as changing throttle response and traction control settings, while transferring more power to the front wheels. The Macan has no low-range four-wheel-drive system, and even though I didn’t have the opportunity to put it through its paces off-pavement, I’m sure that it’s quite capable of serving admirably in light off-road duty.
The Macan is reasonably priced, especially considering content and the fact that it’s a Porsche. The 40/20/40 split folding back seat isn’t exceptionably spacious, but would be comfortable for children.
In the final analysis, what the Macan does, is open up the Porsche experience to an expanded range of consumers, who desire a smaller, more manageable SUV than the Cayenne. And, if its sales are as successful as past Cayenne sales have proven to be for the German automaker, there will be even more resources for R&D, that will likely yield a new crop of amazing future super sports car examples.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Porsche Macan
Base Price: $47,500.
Price as Tested: $53,110.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with Direct Fuel Injection and wet sump lubrication.
Horsepower (bhp): 252 @ 5,000-6,800 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 273 @ 1,600-4,500 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual clutch PDK (Porsche Dopelkupplung)
with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Active All-Wheel Drive fully variable.
Suspension: Front – Aluminum Double wishbone.
Rear – Self tracking trapezoidal link.
Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel vented discs with aluminum monobloc fixed/floating calipers front/rear.
Tires: Pirelli Scorpion Verde 235/60 R18 front / 25/55 R18 rear mounted on 5-double-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 184.3 inches
Length Overall: 110.5 inches
Width: 82.6 inches – with mirrors / 76.1 w/o.
Height: 63.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3,902 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 19.8 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 20 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.36
0 – 60 mph: 6.3 seconds – 6.1 w/Sport Chrono
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.