Porsche Macan review

Our Rating: 
2014 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Porsche Macan looks to build on success of larger Porsche Cayenne SUV

Class-leading handling, excellent performance, good long-distance comfort
Not very economical, expensive to buy, pricey options

Sponsored Links

Described by Porsche as “the sports car of the SUV segment”, the Porsche Macan arrives with a heavy weight of expectation

While the Cayenne is based on the same platform as the Audi Q7, the Porsche Macan shares its underpinnings with the Audi Q5. It's not a simple swap, though, as Porsche has tweaked all the important bits to ensure the Macan has sporty character you'd expect from a Porsche.

Best SUVs to buy now

In fact, Porsche is so confident in the end result it’s achieved with the Macan that it’s promoting the car 'the only sports car in its segment.'

At launch, Porsche Macan buyers will be able to pick from a Macan S, a Macan S Diesel and a Macan Turbo. Both the S models cost the same, with the petrol-powered version boasting a 335bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and the diesel getting a 254bhp 3.0-litre V6. At the top of the range sits a 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 with 394bhp in the Turbo model.

Porsche Macan S Diesel vs Alpina XD3

Each model provides seriously impressive acceleration and traction, helped by the standard seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox and rear-biased four-wheel-drive system.

Handling is predictably sharp and the ride noticeably firmer than much of the competition, unless you go for the excellent optional air suspension, while buyers are asked to pick between a variety of performance boosting options such as torque vectoring and adaptive dampers.

Our choice: Porsche Macan Diesel S

More reviews: 

• Porsche Macan Turbo review

• Porsche Macan Diesel review

Engines, performance and drive


Any concerns that the Audi Q5-based platform which underpins the Porsche Macan would limit Porsche’s ability to work its magic are dispelled the moment you get behind the wheel. Not only does the car have the same wide tyres at the rear set-up as on Porsche sports cars, the suspension, body and steering are all bespoke – and it shows. 

The Porsche Macan feels stunningly well engineered and is a delight to drive. Diesel models come with conventional springs and dampers as standard, with the option of upgrading to PASM adaptive dampers. Alternatively, you can specify air-suspension with PASM for around £2,000. It sits 15mm lower than cars on steel springs and drops another 10mm when you press the Sport button. It’ll also rise by 40mm when select the off-road mode. 

However, it’s the ability of the Porsche Macan on the road that really blows you away. The beautifully weighted and accurate steering needs the smallest of inputs before the car instantly turns in with the sort of precision and poise you just don’t expect in an SUV. 

Taking everything in its stride, the Macan flows through fast corners like a sports car, and has unrivalled agility at low speeds. It’s simply the most enjoyable, athletic and composed SUV we’ve ever driven. However, the large, optional 21-inch wheels can crash into potholes. And unless you’re taking the Macan off-road, the optional PASM dampers are as effective at filtering out bumps as the pricier air springs. 

The 3.0-litre diesel is a real highlight, too, as it’s hushed at idle and silky through the revs. In fact, it’s so smooth you could be fooled into thinking it’s a six-cylinder petrol. The Macan also blasts from 0-60mph in just 5.8 seconds and is actually faster than its Cayman sibling. 

MPG, CO2 and running costs


Clearly, the most fuel-efficient model in the line-up will be the Porsche Macan Diesel S, which claims economy of up to 46.3mpg. It'll be the cheapest to tax as well, setting you back £175 per year because of its 159g/km emissions figure.

Next up is the Porsche Macan S, which is capable of 32.5mpg, with the Turbo not too far behind on 31.7mpg. If you do decide to opt for larger alloy wheels (up to 21 inches) then bear in mind that these will push emissions up, push road tax up and cut fuel economy.

Each model is performance-oriented and each will cost well over £40,000 so you're destined to be paying a fortune out on insurance as well as fuel and road tax. Still, you have to compare like-for-like and when you look at cars with similar performance and ability to the Macan, it doesn't seem quite so bad.

As with all Porsches, the Macan comes as standard with a three-year 60,000-mile warranty.

Interior, design and technology


With a clear family resemblance, the Macan is unmistakably a Porsche. It’s arguably the most attractive non-sports car in the line-up, and looks compact and neatly proportioned in a way the bigger Cayenne doesn’t.

The clamshell bonnet, lights inspired by the Porsche Cayman and horizontal blades under the indicators give the nose a sporty look, while the rear is set off by neatly executed, deep-set wraparound tail-lights.

Overall, the Macan has the sporty appearance you’d demand from a Porsche. Inside it’s stunning, with a bank of chrome-trimmed switches running down the transmission tunnel. You also get the same driver-focused cockpit as Porsche’s other models, while all the plastics, leathers and trim materials are top drawer.

As with the 911 and Cayman, the Macan feels more like a sports car once you climb inside. The high dashboard and low seat mean the steering wheel juts right out, while Porsche’s familiar five-dial set-up and high centre console surround you. Although it never feels cramped, the layout puts the focus firmly on the driver. This off-roader is practical, but it’s one that begs to be driven as well.

As you’d expect from Porsche, there’s a huge range of options on offer, and you’ll need to spend extra to get navigation, cruise control and full-leather seats. Still, standard kit includes eight-way electric seats, automatic air-conditioning, parking sensors and a DAB radio.

The Porsche Macan Turbo is marked out by a slightly more aggressive design and sits on a set of 19-inch wheels as standard, both the S models get 18-inch wheels, though wheels up to 21-inch diameter are available. Turbo models are also fitted with LED fog lights and daytime running lights, while the S cars get halogen units as standard.

You can up the luxury even further through the addition of things like the optional Light Comfort package, which features ambient LED lighting throughout the cabin for a really classy, night-time glow.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


The Macan's boot is large enough to hold 500 litres of luggage while you've got the rear seats up but you can fold them down to free up 1500 litres of space. That means that despite its relatively sporty shape, the Macan is a genuinely spacious car, with room for a family and a large suitcase each.

Boosting its credentials is the fact that each and every Macan comes as standard with an electronically opening tailgate as well as front and rear parking sensors to help avoid any nasty scrapes.

Clearly there's not as much headroom as some of the more traditionally styled SUVs that the Macan is competing with but you'll have no trouble fitting five adults in to the cabin. There's a fair amount of kneeroom, too. Since you've got four-wheel drive as standard, you'll be well-equipped if there's a sudden cold snap or if you need to do a bit of light off-roading.

We tackled some slippery inclines and descents in the Macan, helped by pressing the 'off-road' button. This prepares the throttle response and relevant torque splits to help with off-road driving. Those cars fitted with optional air suspension rise by 40mm for offroad work, taking maximum ground clearance to 230mm.

There's a separate button for hill descent control, too, which will take control of the brakes for you on a slippery descent, keeping the speed between 3 and 18mph.

If you're planning on towing, then a reversing camera is fitted, which has functions to help hitch up the trailer.

Reliability and Safety


Porsche always fares well in our Driver Power satisfaction surveys, and this year it finished sixth. Although the Macan has been on sale for less than a year, it’s loosely based on the Audi Q5, which is a relatively reliable 4x4. So, with Porsche’s solid dependability, it shouldn’t give you many ownership headaches. If it does, the brand’s dealer network was voted the third best in the UK last year, so you should get good service.

The Macan performs well when it comes to safety. It’s the only Porsche on the market to have been crash tested by Euro NCAP, too, and was given a full five-star rating. The car is equipped with ESP and front collision warning sensors as standard. There’s also a rear side airbag option to further improve safety.

Disqus - noscript

POS! Give me a PROPER car - A Range Rover Evoque!

Just £50k, just £7k more than a 340 horsepower Naziheritagebeetleindrag, gets you a 2006 Ford Mondeo platform, ancient, dating from 1998(PSA DW12) Peugeot/Ford diesel engine, with 30 mpg if you are lucky, a build quality that would shame Lada, and a resale value based on brainwashing by the media, which is now imploding, due to the availability of £43k Macans, £30k GLA220 CDI 4MATICs, and the about to be released BMW X4, with a 35d(300+ hp) for around £40-45k, still less than the typical transaction cost of a 187 hp Joque SD4.

Correction on Porsche warranty,.. it is only 2yrs as standard (here in UK),.. not 3!! Porsche will charge you for the 3rd year warranty!!

Correct. And a simple mind will tell you as it's so reliable, you won't need the 3rd year anyway. However, the 2 year warranty is unlimited mileage. My advice: always negotiate extra warranty into the deal. I've never had a problem doing that.

Kamelo - "negotiate" with Porsche on a car where its entire 2014 production has been sold before a single customer has driven the car?!

The Evoque will take the total pi55 out of the Macan and you on any off-road. Horses for courses, this Macan is a charlatan SUV.

You failed again.

Yes, and Evoque starts at £29K. The troll is really not even a good troll.

Yes. Don't you? Porsche drivers are very loyal and historically, I find the dealerships very professional and open to some negotiation. Most Porsche drivers are affluent, successful business people who know how to get a good deal. You assume from your comment that all the buyers of the 2014 production run have paid list price including list price for options and warranty upgrades? What a ridiculous assumption.

You get what is paid for! In this case in spite of VW PR a Bitsa from VW AUDI and presumably built in Leipzig in eastern Germany to keep costs down!

So much for German integration.

Really smart cars will still come from Range Rover and include really exciting new developments designed and built in our country.

The VW Porsche is not bad it looks well packaged.. Given the choice I might at a push take one over the immaculately built Evoque? But I would part ex it in a flash to get my hands on the Jag SUV when they build it.....

something tells me james you don't like British built cars... our backward engineering is far inferior to superior German engineering according to your logic... I think you know NOTHING! ...and is probably a good idea for you to watch how JLR will evolve an already excellent peace of engineering

It is so ugly, it looks as if they didn't know how to finish the front end! Another car media calls the car 'intimidating' so is a brick in the right hands but that doesn't mean it looks good.

Porsche do not give warranties for fun! Both VW and Porsche have quite an impressive list of law suits concerning the cars that do not need a 3rd year warranty!

Using the VW parts bin to reduce costs/increase profits means also usíng units that often have inherrent design defects!

Volswagen AG is in the business not to only build cars but make profits for its shareholders and here Porsche in Leipzig etc is no exception!

It is such a frigin UGLY beast but I guess that's all Porsche can do with audi/Volkswagen kit etc.

Ordered one of these in April 14, with a quoted delivery in Jan 15. I asked about discount; not heard a belly laugh like that in a long time!

But I'm not worried, these things will be as rare as hens teeth on the second hand market. Residuals will be rock solid for a few years yet. The news there is a 4 cylinder for Asian market might change that if it was brought in over here though.

I am plzcing an order for this in June this year :)

Last updated: 1 Jun, 2015