The dynamic SUV is kept at the top of their game with light refresh until the arrival of the EV successor.
What is it?
Porsche used to be known for keeping their models around forever and updating them every now and again, while still maintaining the same basic car. From 1964 to 1989, the original 911 was in production. The 928 remained in production from 1978 to 1995. The brand is much more financially healthy these days so they have seven-year cycle cycles. However, the Macan has been around since 2014, and just got its second facelift. It is expected to continue its role until the all-new electric Macan arrives, in 2023. Even then, Porsche plans to sell it along with the newer EV until 2024.
As is the case with Porsche facelifts, exterior changes are subtle. The major change is in the front bumper. It now has a horizontal design. LED headlights have become standard and the indicators have been moved up. GTS appears to be in a gothic phase. They have also removed the black lip gloss. The diffuser has been redesigned at the back.
Inside, the Volkswagen Group’s war on buttons has found its way to the Macan, as the cascade of buttons in the centre console has been replaced by a touch-sensitive and fingerprint-attracting panel. Although it looks more modern, the haptic feedback makes it relatively simple to use. However, it is not a significant improvement in usability. Although the gear selector at the middle of the screen is still a physical lever it has lost its leather gaiter and now exposes the plastic.
These mechanical changes seem to be more significant. At least, that’s what it seems at first glance. Porsche’s press release speaks of power increases for the Macan S GTS and Macan Turbo. The new GTS receives the old turbo’s 434bhp, 2.9-litre V6 while the Macan Turbo gets the older GTS engine – a more powerful 375bhp version the same V6 – rather than the 3.0-litre model. The plain Macan retains the 2-litre four-cylinder engine that was derived from the Golf GTI, but it gains 20bhp to make it total 261bhp thanks to a new turbocharger.
The adjustable air suspension, which was an option on the GTS chassis-wise, is now standard. It lowers the body 10mm and makes it 10% and 15% stiffer at both the front and rear.
Porsche also offers ParkAssist for the Macan. This allows it to park itself if it wants.
The Macan excels at making certain things obvious. It is a combination simple and deep engineering that makes it difficult to understand why other carmakers make such poor decisions.
You can get in and sit exactly how you like. Although the optional adaptive sports seats can be quite firm, everything else can also be adjusted. This includes the bolsters, the pitch and length of the seat, as well the lumbar support. The steering wheel has a very tactile paddle and a thin, solid rim.
The Macan GTS has a wider range for adjustment thanks to its revised shock absorbers and air suspension. It’s quite firm in comfort mode. However, the quality damping makes it more comfortable than other softly suspended cars. The suspension has a little roll but the stiffer damper settings and the lower ride height will eliminate that. All of them are perfectly acceptable on British roads.
The Macan GTS is a very capable hot hatch despite its nearly two-tonne kerbweight and tall body. You will feel confident with well-weighted steering and lots of grip. The torque vectoring system makes a real difference in getting you out of tight corners with the sensation of an invisible hand giving you a gentle push. It will allow you to oversteer a little bit by mating the throttle at the exit of tight corners. One reservation is that there’s some vagueness in steering. The optional Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires might help to remedy this.
Although the interior is no longer modern looking, it might not be bad if you consider how the materials are used. The painted air vents look cheap for a PS1,000 option. The same applies to the infotainment system. It’s missing some of the physical shortcut buttons, and it’s not necessarily the best system. But you can do worse. This is also true for other Volkswagen Group brands.
It might seem that the performance of the new Porsche range-topping Porsche would be the first thing we discuss. But, here we are at the end. The engine hardware of the new Turbo is identical to the old Turbo’s, and the same 2.9-litre V6. However, it has been recalibrated for improved response and less turbo lag. It is very efficient and linear and emits a deliberate, if not so tuneless, growl. Although it’s fast and the launch control function is easy to activate, there are many other competitors with greater firepower.
Do I need one?
The march of progress has made the Macan the slowest Macan, but it is still a little expensive. The GTS is priced at PS64,770. It’s faster and more expensive that warm SUVs such as the BMW X3 M40i or Mercedes-AMG GLC43, but it’s still a good deal cheaper than the X3 M, GLC 63, and GLC 63. The Macan GTS is still a great car, so it makes sense that it’s still a good value. However, with mpgs in low 20s and lots of options to be robbed, it’s not exactly a Dacia Duster.