For some background, the Macan debuted in 2014, launching the Macan S and Turbo offerings with the goal of attracting more women to the Porsche brand as well as to compete in growing small luxury SUV segment.
According to the company, 3 years in, about 30% of Macan owners are women, compared with 25% for the brand overall and about 5% for the iconic 911. The Macan and its larger counterpart, the Cayenne, accounted for 64% of Porsche sales in 2016, up from 58% in 2015. Porsche has the highest average transaction price in industry at nearly $85’000, according to my employer, Kelley Blue Book. The Macan competes in KBB.com’s Luxury Compact SUV* segment, where the average transaction price is nearly $43’200. The new Macan GTS $68’900 hits a sweet spot for Porsche, equipped and priced above the Macan S $55’400 but below the Macan Turbo $77’200. The Macan S, GTS and Turbo models share the twin-turbocharged, 3,0 liter V6 engine mated to a 7 speed Porsche dual-clutch (PDK) transmission, one of my favorite gearboxes for its smooth shifting characteristics. The difference between the 3 models is measured in horses and gallop. The Macan S produces 340hp and 339 pound-feet of torque. The GTS makes 360hp and 369 lb-ft. The Turbo gets the full stable of 400hp and 406 lb-ft torque. Maximum speed ranges from 156 mph to 164 mph, the GTS landing in the sweet spot with 159 mph.
Fun, yet practical
The Macan GTS is incredibly fun to drive, with GTS-specific conforming sport seats with 8 way controls, wonderfully responsive steering, a wide stance, and staggered width, GTS custom 20inch wheels wearing all-season tires that provide plenty of traction in wet or dry conditions. The Macan GTS with standard Porsche Traction Management (PTM) active all-wheel drive hugs the road like a koala hugs a tree, even in midst of torrential rain and significant road ponding while traveling picturesque, winding Merritt Parkway or negotiating the truck-heavy traffic on I-95 corridor. There is an organic sense of security and sure footedness in the car, which not all SUVs possess and it always feel in control even when the weather is truly crappy and the road unfamiliar. Standard air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) dynamically adjusts the Macan’s ride height depending upon driving conditions and self-leveling function keeps the ride height constant no matter how much weight you stuff into cargo area. There is nothing quite like cruising along at speed and having a car snuggle itself into the road. The Macan GTS is EPA-rated to get 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in combined driving.
Room for humans and hauling
The Macan comfortably seats 4 people and has 17,7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. Fold it down and you can take advantage of 53 cu-ft of volume, more than enough room for most weekend activities or for a good spring-cleaning with pizza and beer bribed friends. Even though the Macan competes in the Luxury Compact SUV* segment, do not let the word “compact” deter you. The Macan swallowed up your haul with ease and you will not even need to put the back seats down. But if you did, the second row seat has a handy 40/20/40-split design, allowing for multiple configurations and further adding to the practical appeal of an already emotionally appealing car.
Plenty of particulars to personalize your Porsche
The Macan GTS as tested was $81’020, well above the base price. The Premium Package Plus $3’390 installed automatically dimming mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, heated front and rear seats and a Bose surround sound system. Porsche Entry & Drive keyless entry and engine starting is also part of this package. I could also invest in Lane Change Assist (LCA), which comes with Lane Departure Warning (LDW). The LCA feature continuously monitors the area around the car and provides visual assistance during lane changes via a warning in the side mirror. The LDW function provides an “acoustic warning” should you start to drift out of your lane when traveling above 40 mph. Porsche offers Lane Keep Assist (LKA), which monitors and alerts the driver of “imminent lane departure.” It can even correct the SUV’s course when appropriate. Porsche offers Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which maintains a specific distance from car in front by automatically slowing and speeding up the Macan as needed, it can even bring the SUV to a full stop. Porsche also offers Porsche Active Safe (PAS), which is highly recommend. This option features an audible forward collision warning and actually applies brakes for you if the system detects the potential of a front-end crash and the driver has failed to heed warnings. Even if you do apply the brakes yourself, the system will apply maximum stopping power if it is needed. This is a great way to prevent yourself from accidentally rear-ending someone, but at the same time it does not ensure you yourself won’t get rear-ended, so driver diligence is still required.
The interior is all buttoned up
“Look at all the buttons,” this is a common reaction to the center control panel in any Porsche and in some cases conveys the dismay of observer. In the Macan, you can found the array of controls to be useful and intuitive. Those are apt descriptors for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system. The PCM’s 7inch screen provides plenty of information in a simple layout, but it borders on being a retro-themed throwback with its black and white display, which stands in sharp contrast to overhead, 360 degree camera view provided by useful Park Assist option. Porsche offers Apple Car Play smartphone projection technology, but not Android Auto. The Bose audio system’s 10 speakers provided appropriate thumping and the four 12 volt outlets, 2 USB slots and a universal audio interface provides enough variety to keep anyone fully charged. There’s also the optional and fabulous Burmester sound system, which gives more than 1000 watts through 16 speakers and an active subwoofer. This surround sound system has been fully customized specifically for the Macan and costs an extra $5’700.
FOMO is real