Handling and refinement, laudable build quality, decent infotainment
Parts of the cabin feeling a bit left behind, no hybrid/electric option, short on outright excitement
What is it?
This is the Macan, the ‘small’ SUV from Porsche and the firm's most popular model in the UK. It’s got the shape people want, some sharp styling and a very desirable badge, how could it not be a success? The thing is, the Macan has always over-delivered in just about every department.
It’ll go further off-road than most owners will ever ask, it’ll hammer down a twisting road with more skill than most drivers would have the nerve to test, and it’ll seat five in front of a class-leadingly big boot. Porsche got the Macan right first time.
It's getting a bit old though isn’t it?
The Macan has been on sale since 2014, and got itself a tidy little facelift a few years back with the arrival of the full-width rear light bar and a welcome upgrade to the infotainment.
In 2021 it had another tweak, just as you’d expect that Porsche would be winding things down a bit and gearing up for a new generation. Actually the next version of the car will be electric, but the German carmaker plans a bit of overlap to ease the transition. Because of the current car’s elderly platform, it would be too complex to turn it into a hybrid – it’s petrol only. No diesel option here, either.
The interior certainly doesn’t feel too old, even if space-wise it’s lagging behind the latest efforts on the market. It has the latest fancy touchscreen infotainment and the flightdeck-style bank of buttons by the transmission level has been replaced with a glassy, touch-sensitive control stack that looks much cleaner... until you leave fingerprints all over it.
What are the engines like?
With diesel having disappeared the Macan range now kicks off with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol, priced from £53,400 and badged simply ‘Macan’. It runs a Porsche-honed, 261bhp tune of the VW Golf GTI’s engine.
All Macans arrive fitted with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as standard (badged by Porsche as PDK), though note this isn’t as modern as the eight-speed PDK used in Porsche’s bigger four-doors.
There are three Macans beyond that – the T, S and GTS models. The £58,400 T gets the same 2.0-litre 4cyl (it’s largely the same as the entry car, but with a few minor sporting mods intended to improve handling), while the Macan S (£59,800, 375bhp), and the Macan GTS (£71,700, 435bhp).
There’s no Turbo model in the line-up anymore, but the GTS can hold its own with the Merc-AMG GLC 43 on power and price (421bhp and £90k), even if that 2.0-litre 4cyl engine is the hypnotic unit from the AMGed A-Class, but lags behind the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio in a straight line (503bhp and £76k).
But this is a car that doesn’t need to lean on raw pace to do its talking. It’s a superb all-rounder, even though it’s been on sale – based as it is on old Audi Q5 foundations – since 2014. Some feat.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
It's impressive that Porsche consistently manages to set the bar in the various classes that it builds its cars: rivals have long tried to outdo the Macan with various premium crossovers and have consistently failed. This is a car that's over nine years old now, remember.
Rivals have their own small victories: the Alfa Stelvio is lighter on its feet, and the AMG GLC 63 sounds cooler while being caned and the Maserati Grecale is more glamorous. But as an all-rounder, a car for all tasks and occasions, Porsche’s effort is unsurpassed. Conversely it’s free of drama, too, but that’s likely what you want spending this sort of money on a family car.
Unless of course, you want an EV. Porsche doesn’t even offer a hybrid, and you may well be tempted by a Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach-E GT for similar money. The times are changing. But as Porsche’s next Macan will be a full EV sold alongside this version, you wouldn’t bet against Stuttgart having all bases covered for some time to come.