Why would I buy one?
- Superb performance
- Playful handling
Why would I avoid one?
- Plenty of features missing even in this price range
- Stiff ride quality
Sporty SUVs are the norm now and they are popular for providing sports-car-like performance with the practicality of SUVs. Most of these SUVs on steroids come from the likes of the Mercedes AMG, the M division of BMW and also Porsche who are known to make some of the best sports-cars in the world. Now, the Macan is Porsche’s most compact and sporty SUV that sits below the big daddy Cayenne. And what we have here is the Macan in its latest avatar in the absolute base variant with the two-litre turbo petrol motor. So how good is the new Macan then? Let’s take a look.
Engine and Performance
9 / 10
Powering the Macan is the two-litre turbo petrol motor that now makes 261bhp and 400Nm of torque which is more than the previous gen model. You also get a twin-clutch PDK gearbox that transfers the power to all four wheels. Since this is the base model, you don’t get multiple drive modes either; just Sport and Off-road.
Turn the ignition, yes, no start/stop button here either and the Macan barks to life and then settles into a refined hum. On the go, driven normally, the engine is as refined as it can get. Throttle response is good and despite being just a two-litre engine, there is no noticeable lag. The Sport mode makes things louder and quicker. In fact, the throttle response gets sharper and the gearshifts get more aggressive too. Throttle fully buried, we managed a 0-100kmph time 6.69 seconds which is quick. But it’s in everyday driving conditions that the Macan really excels. The compact dimensions means it’s not cumbersome to weave through traffic and with the meaty 400Nm on tap, the Macan makes it into gaps with absolute ease. Overtaking too feels like a breeze as the Macan just passes everything effortlessly.
And this ease of driving just gets better on the highways where the Macan really comes into its own. Even at triple-digit speeds there is more than enough performance should you need it. And the Macan really loves it when you try pushing it harder. Everything just comes together in harmony as the revs start building and the Macan can really surprise you with its mid- and top-end performance and not to mention the strong braking too. Now, be it refined in-town performance or spirited highway performance, the Macan excels at both places.
Ride and Handling
8 / 10
Now this is the standard Macan without any specific letters next to the name so it does not get the fancy adaptive air suspension or PASM or Porsche Active Suspension Management system which is basically Porsche’s speak for electronic damping. But even with the standard Macan, Porsche has updated the running gear, stiffened up the anti-roll bars and made changes to the steering components.
What is clearly obvious is that the Macan is set-up for sporty enthusiastic driving and that shows. Ride quality is on the stiffer side and it’s only on the good black top with minor undulations that the Macan feels comfortable. Anything worse and the Macan’s suspension starts acting noisy and filters plenty into the cabin. The sharper bumps need to be dealt with caution unless a new tyre or rim is just spare change for you. Now we suspect that the adaptive air suspension which is optional will be a worthy upgrade and along with PASM will give the Macan a much better ride quality.
The suspension might be stiff, but what the Macan definitely knows is how to play. Like with the engine, the Macan really comes alive when you start flogging it. The stiffness that is a bane on the bad section is exactly what gives the Macan heroic capabilities when put hard into a corner.
With all-wheel-drive, fantastic chassis balance and plenty of grip, the Macan corners flat and gives you lots of confidence. And with the safety net of AWD, you can just push harder and harder. Even with all the electronics dialed in, the Macan’s playful instincts kick in with mild understeer at the entry and then a hint of oversteer as you power out of the corners. This is an SUV that will be happy on the roads and on a track day.
Interior Space and Quality
9 / 10
The Macan might be compact but then Porsche has done an excellent job with the packaging. Our car came a complete beige interior which makes the cabin look and feel airy but is sure to attract plenty of dirt stains. The seats themselves are excellent offering good support. The view is great too and with the powered seats it’s easy to get into the desired driving position.
If one likes to be driven around, the Macan is comfortable at the rear too. Legroom and headroom is more than adequate and the seats hug the passenger well making it comfortable for the long hauls too.
Bootspace is pretty good too with 488 litres. And that can be expanded to 1503 litres with the multiple folding rear bench options.
Quality is what one would expect from a Porsche. Everything from the key, the buttons, the way the aircon vents move, the way the seats fold and lock into position feels great. There is a certain lasting impression from all that’s mentioned. Plastics though could have been better especially on the indicator and wiper stalks and the steering adjustment knob.
Features and Equipment
7 / 10
Now this is the base Porsche Macan but even then, it costs upwards of Rs 80 lakh. So you get eight-way powered electric driver seat, sun roof, three-zone climate control, 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay, eight-speaker sound system, powered tail gate and more.
But shocking omissions include the lack of ventilated seats, powered steering adjustment, wireless charger, and wireless android auto.
On the safety front, you get multi-collision braking, hill hold control, TPMS, lane departure warning, airbags and curtain airbags, Porsche traction management system, stability management system and the works.
8 / 10
Like I mentioned before, sporty SUVs are here to stay and will be in flavor for a long time. The Macan has some good competition too. While the BMW X3M isn’t available the X3 M sport is. It might be down on power and price but at Rs 67.5 lakh, ex-showroom and with 248bhp and 350Nm, it’s not too far off the Macan’s figures and it does have a more or less similar equipment list. However, a straight up competitor is the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC43 Coupe which not only looks more dynamic but also has more firepower and equipment than the base Macan and costs just about Rs 4 lakh more.
The Macan base then, at Rs. 83.21 lakh, really has its case cut out. The Macan is a driver’s delight, it drives like a proper Porsche and it looks and feels like one too. However, it’s lacking too many frills to gain an upper edge in this segment. It misses out on the feature-front and the adaptive suspension being optional is a bummer too because adding it will take the price closer to the mighty GLC43 Coupe. So the Macan base model can be your choice only if you are on a budget and are an ardent ‘Porschephile’ but other than that, it definitely makes more sense to splurge on the S or the GTS and enjoy the full-monty Porsche experience or just be sensible and look at the other options.
Pictures by Kapil Angane