With seven years (and counting) on local terra firma, Porsche’s Macan was and remains the petrolheads’ choice of premium mid-sized SUVs and the black sheep of the Stuttgart stable in the eyes of some brand-loyal purists. As the saying goes: healthy Macan business has allowed Porsche to continue to make world-leading sportscars.
That said, the Macan has, from day one, asserted itself as the alpha performer of its segment, even if the complexion of its sole generation has changed somewhat since its local release.
It arrived in mid 2014 as a three-guise, all-six-cylinder range. You could have then-base ‘S’ grade as a torquey 190kW/580Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel or with a more powerful 250kW/460Nm 3.0 V6 twin-turbo petrol V6 for around $85k-$87k, or opt for the top dog Turbo fitting a 3.6 biturbo V6 with Carrera S-matching 294kW, and 550Nm, at $123k. All all-wheel drive, all backed by seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearboxes.
In early version, the petrol engines were Porsche’s, the diesel Audi sourced. The first 150 sold featured Porsche Sport Pack enhancements – larger wheels, Sport Chrono, et al – lifting pricing to $100k-$135k. Quick? Thus optioned, performance claims were 6.1, 5.2 and 4.6 seconds respectively for diesel S, petrol S and Turbo.
The Macan was pricier than key rivals and arguably worth it beyond badge cache. Its make-up was, Porsche claims, only 30 percent common with Audi Q5, with Stuttgart leveraging the remaining 70 per cent to hone a family hauler that felt and drove with true Porsche hallmarks and character. It was and remains praised by local media as being the driving enthusiasts’ choice, a proper ‘plus-sized hot hatch’ experience in SUV clothing. Poise, grip, balance, stopping power – Macan had it all.
Its fit-out matched the pricing, with all version leather trim, dual-zone climate control, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment with a 40GB hard drive system, eight airbags and powered tailgate. The Turbo adds self-levelling, height adjustable adaptive air suspension, which could be optioned on S versions. All versions got PASM damping smarts.
In 2016, the first GTS guise introduced a high-power 265kW/500Nm that wedged its performance pitch between S- and Turbo-level performance. For MY17, a base 2.0L turbo-four version, just called ‘Macan’, arrived bringing a Volkswagen/Audi Group-sourced 185kW/370Nm and a cheaper mid-$70k entry point.
Major under-bonnet changes came for MY19 in tandem with an elaborate facelift that effectively restyled Macan outside and in. Its sleeker exterior look kept in step with Porsche’s wider design trends and interior remodeling included new 10.9-inch infotainment with Apple and Android smartphone mirroring.
For MY19, gone were Porsche’s proprietary petrol sixes, replaced by a 260kW/480Nm single-turbo 3.0 V6 for the S and a wondrous 2.9L biturbo V6 – shared with Audi’s S and RS machinery – in the flagship Turbo offering a fulsome 324kW/550Nm. The same unit, albeit in a milder 280kW/520Nm, found its way under the GTS bonnet in 2020.
Diesel power? Gone. Not just from Macan but from Porsche’s entire model portfolio.
Macans are great drives in varying degrees of heat, form satisfying to thrilling. They’re not the most spacious mid-sized SUVs, cosy up front and tight in the rear, and the button-frenzied control arrays haven’t aged well. A lot of usually fundamental safety gear, too, was optional. But as fun-filled family haulers go, it’s a real thoroughbred in its higher-spec variants.