I’ve been witnessing somewhat of a Macan Frenzy these last few years. Some friends have started spending more time at the golf course than they were the track, some have been starting families, and some just want a bit more ‘Sport’ in their utility vehicle. Whatever the case, I didn’t have to look far to see someone joining the Porsche brand. I even have a ‘friend’ that sold his 911 and purchased a Macan. While we haven’t spoken since, it’s very difficult to argue against their utility.
So, with new trickery scattered around the 2019 Macan package and a price point starting at AUD$81,400 (Plus on-road costs), could this be your first Porsche? Well, after I drove the Macan down in Victoria, I think it very well should be.
As I arrived at Melbourne airport and saw the Macan S parked in the distance, I could hardly spot a visual distinction from the previous shape. This wasn’t a dig, by any means, as the previous model was well proportioned and cohesively matched with the rest of the Porsche line-up.
When I got up close and personal, however, it was clear that the new model was much more than a powdering of the nose.
The rear end has been completely re-sculpted, with a three-dimensional LED light spanning from left to right tail light. Whilst highly impressive when illuminated, the light strip also gives the car a visually muscular stance and provides a beautiful canvas for the extruded Porsche logo.
Around front, and the visual widening continues. The majority of real estate below the bonnet is dedicated to inhaling as much air as possible. Intakes are aggressively styled and you can almost guarantee Porsche engineers hating on the fact that they have to sacrifice potential breathing space for a number plate.
A thin LED light strip integrates tastefully into the side grill and serves as fog lights whilst also broadening the front end. Overall, the package looks cleaner and more defined. You still get the wrap-around bonnet and elegant, flowing silhouette, but a clever combination of design and lighting technology has given the new Macan a more purposeful posture.
Once I was handed my driving route, I was able to slide into one of the best cabins in the game and hit the road. Exceptional driving position? Check. Perfectly shaped and sized steering wheel? Check. Understated styling while still feeling exciting? Check.
No one does interiors like Porsche. The touchscreen has been increased from 7.2 inches to 10.9 and looked to have 20 times the resolution of my in-flight entertainment. You can customize the layout till your heart’s content and you’ll find the entire interface predictably intuitive. My car was fitted with the optional sports chrono package which includes (amongst other things) the mandatory analogue gauge centre-mounted to the dash, providing tasteful contrast to an increasingly digital interior landscape.
If I was being really picky, I’d say the centre console was slightly ‘over buttoned’, but that aside, it’s one of the best SUV cabins you’ll experience at any price point.
As much as I love the nuanced touches of the new interior, this was, after all, a Porsche. So, with the last bit of freeway behind me, and only B-roads on the horizon, it was time to see if the Macan was still a driver’s Porsche.
A turn of the sports chrono dial to ‘Sport’, a pull of the left paddle to first gear and a foot full of pedal sees the Macan launch control itself from 0 – 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds. The new 3.0 litre V6 produces 260 kW and 480 Nm, whaling a beautiful note all the way to redline. Turbo lag is minimal thanks to some clever engineering, and although there is a four-cylinder on offer, I suggest you sell some organs to get a V6 under that bonnet.
Gear changes seem quicker than what I thought was an impossibly quick dual clutch transmission, and even when driving automatic, the timing of downshifts is freakishly accurate.
It didn’t matter what surface type or gradient of turn, the Macan delivered in spades. Whilst you’re not getting the centre of gravity of a 911, the SUV does surprisingly well at keeping you and the chassis planted. Porsche’s active suspension management (or PASM) independently adjusts the damping to each shock with remarkable results. I covered smooth hairpin bends with confident turn-in and when road surfaces started getting loose, the torque vectoring made sure the correct wheels were laying down the power.
My car was fitted with the optional 21-inch wheels, which usually decreases ride comfort, but the effective PASM prevented every manner of spasm. Six-piston front callipers stick their hand up when slowing down the two tonne package with great feel and conviction.
For someone that isn’t a big fan of SUV’s, the 2019 Macan is a very impressive piece of machinery. Porsche is one of the few companies that acknowledges the importance of the human behind the steering wheel, and how to engage them through the experience of driving.
I could only count on one hand the number of SUVs that can wear their ‘Sport’ title with pride, and the Macan is one of them. Would I choose the V6 over the four-cylinder? Absolutely. But you’re still getting a LOT of Porsche goodness for that price. While many of us have aspirations of owning a 911 one day, the Macan could be a very practical first step in starting your Porsche journey.
And hey, if you’re lucky, you might even end up with both.