The Porsche Macan Turbo is by far the maddest compact SUV on the road, with nearly 400bhp and a 0-62mph time to match a 911. But with the rest of the line-up already so capable, should you bother shelling out an extra £16,000 for this range-topping Macan?
The first thing that strikes you about the Macan’s styling is its low nose. For an SUV this is unusual, and although the edge of the bonnet still stands quite tall, the sleek shape and clever visual tricks – such as the dark insert at the bottom of the bumper – mean Porsche’s mid-size SUV cuts a sharp figure.
Take one look at the Macan Turbo’s near-two-tonne weight and you’d be forgiven for thinking it would drive like a regular off-roader. It doesn’t – not by a long way. Porsche’s engineers have worked wonders to deliver the best-driving SUV on the market.
The Macan’s 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 engine puts out 394bhp and is hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The Turbo used its launch control and four-wheel-drive system to good effect in our performance tests, sprinting from 0-60mph in just 4.3 seconds
The Porsche's 550Nm of torque is available from as low as 1,350rpm, so in-gear performance is excellent. The low-down urgency and smooth, fast gearbox also means it's was quick to accelerate up through the gears.
The only slight letdown is how the Turbo sounds as it does its thing. The Macan’s force-fed V6 emits a muted, turbine-like noise – the optional sports exhaust could be a worthwhile investment if you fancy freeing up a few more decibels.
However, hit a twisting back road and you’ll soon forget about this minor niggle. Lots of grip and delicious steering mean you throw the car into corners with confidence that it’ll hang on.
You can also specify £1,004 of optional air suspension and adjustable dampers, too. These serve up brilliant body control, even in the default setting, and although there’s a firmer edge to the ride, it’s a long way from uncomfortable.
Step things up and select Sport or Sport Plus modes and the Macan’s chassis tenses up. The car feels more alert and changes direction quicker, and this extra response doesn’t hurt ride quality too much. Porsche’s Torque Vectoring system gives crisp turn-in to corners, and when you push the accelerator hard on the way out of a bend you can feel the four-wheel-drive system shuffling power to the back wheels to deliver that rear-biased sports car feel.
Still, you won't dread long journeys in the Macan; the cabin is well built and luxurious, filled with high quality metals and leather. It's also clearly laid out and incredibly quiet, even while you're travelling at motorway speeds.
But almost everything that the Turbo is capable of, the Macan S can do, too, and that'll set you back £16,000 less. It's nice to have the extra performance and the extra equipment but we'd save the money and stick with the standard S.