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In-depth reviews

Porsche Macan review - Engines, performance and drive

The Macan is probably the best-handling SUV on the road

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 as on Porsche sports cars, the suspension, body and steering are all bespoke – and it shows.

The car feels stunningly well engineered and is a delight to drive. Conventional springs and dampers are standard, with the option of upgrading to PASM adaptive dampers. Alternatively, you can specify air-suspension with the PASM system. 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 you select the off-road mode, so although it might be pricey, this feature broadens the Macan’s ability. We found that this system’s middle setting struck the best balance between body control and ride quality; the firmest setting is just slightly too stiff for UK roads, though body control is very impressive.

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And it’s the talent of the Porsche Macan on the road that really blows you away. The beautifully weighted and accurate steering needs the smallest of inputs for an SUV before the car instantly turns in with the sort of precision and poise you just don’t expect in a jacked-up car this size.

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Remarkably, the Macan is an SUV that’s capable of troubling hot hatchbacks in the handling stakes. There are huge reserves of grip, which when paired with standard four-wheel drive, help make the Macan a force to be reckoned with – even in slippery conditions.

Taking everything in its stride, the Macan flows through fast corners with incredible composure – it’s not quite a sports car, but it’s as close to one as any SUV has ever been, thanks to its unrivalled agility at low speeds. It’s simply the most enjoyable, athletic and composed SUV we’ve ever driven.

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Fastest SUVs in the world

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. 

Engines

A four-cylinder Porsche is something that harks back to the company's early days with the 356, 912 and 924 sports cars.

This theme was revived with the launch of the 718 Cayman and Boxster. The Macan doesn't use the same power unit from those models; instead it's an in-line four that you'll find in cars like the VW Golf GTI Performance. It makes 242bhp, which gives that Macan a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds when the Sport Chrono package with launch control is fitted.

The Macan S uses a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine which makes 349bhp, which is only 5bhp down on the older Macan GTS. That means a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds with the Sport Chrono package, helped no end by the Macan's standard four-wheel drive.

Proper sports car performance is offered up by the Macan Turbo – its 434bhp and 550Nm of torque mean acceleration is very impressive. 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds in the standard car or 4.3 seconds in conjunction with the Sport Chrono pack that adds in launch control. Safe overtaking is easy: Porsche quotes in-gear acceleration from 49 to 74mph as just 2.9 seconds, while 0 to 99mph (where allowed) takes just 10.5 seconds.

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