Porsche Macan

Porsche has a surefire winner on its hands with the 2015 Macan. The small SUV is deeply rooted in the company's sporting heritage, as is evident with even a passing glance. The Macan's steel and aluminum body has no ill proportions and, as Porsche says, it "embodies sportiness, dynamism, and precision, together with an elegance and lightweight constructions." With cues from the Cayenne, 911 and even the 918 Spyder, the new Macan is unmistakably Porsche.

The Macan is available in either S or Turbo trim. Both feature active all-wheel drive and the latest development of Porsche Traction Management. The rear axle is always powered, while the front receives its cues from the available traction. In particularly unstable driving situations, such as icy roads, fully 100 percent of the Macan's power can be shifted to the front wheels through a multi-place clutch.

The Macan also benefits from an aluminum 5-arm wishbone suspension up front, with a self-tracking trapezoidal link suspension in the back. Paired with big 6-piston brakes, 19-inch alloy wheels and fat tires, the Macan is as sure-footed as they come. The Turbo also includes Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), an electronic damping control system featuring Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus driving modes for increased stability, safety and comfort.

Two all-aluminum engines are offered in the Macan. The S is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6, which produces 340 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and and 339 ft-lb of torque from just 1,450 rpm. That's enough to propel the Macan S to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, with a top speed of 156 mph. The Macan Turbo, meanwhile, moves thanks to a 3.6L twin-turbo V6. The unit makes an even 400 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 406 ft-lb at 1,350 rpm. That's good for a supercar-like 0?60 mph time of just 4.6 seconds and a top end of 164 mph. Both engines are mated to Porsche's PDK dual-clutch 7-speed automatic transmission, which makes for extremely fast gear changes. Paddle shifters make changing gears a snap and a standard Sport button allows for more responsive engine and transmission management. This equates to faster shift times, a higher redline and a sweeter sound from the exhaust.

Standard amenities in the Macan include bi-xenon headlights with dynamic headlight leveling and cleaning, along with LED running lights and fog lights. Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with hard-drive navigation is also standard, as is a 14-speaker Bose audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and a power tailgate.

Macan interiors are as luxurious and ergonomically efficient as anything Porsche has assembled in the rest of its range. Leather abounds. The large tachometer sits front and center before the driver, with the ignition on the left -- a Porsche haulmark. The Macan S features 8-way power adjustable seats with memory, while the Macan Turbo offers 18-way power seats. Both models feature a 3-way rear bench that, when folded, allows for 50.3 cubic-feet of cargo space.

Some exceptional options and packages are offered for the Macan. Wheel choices go all the way to 21 inches in several designs. The Sport Chrono Package is a button-operated change in the way the Macan responds to driver input, thanks to an even more aggressive mapping of the engine, transmission, and chassis, along with "launch control" for the fastest starts possible. When equipped, 0?60 mph sprints in either model are reduced by .2 seconds. Also available is an air suspension, exclusive in this market segment, which replaces the stock setup. It includes a leveling system, ride height adjustment, and PASM. The Premium Package Plus includes front and rear park assist, with a reversing camera, ventilated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, a 2-piece panoramic sunroof, lane keep assist, and lane change assist, which helps check for any hazards around the Macan when a driver begins a lane maneuver. Finally, European delivery from Porsche factories at either Leipzig or Zuffenhausen is a no-cost option.

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Editors' First Take

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The 2020 Porsche Macan Turbo puts up some impressive numbers. Its twin-turbo V6 engine makes a healthy 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. It'll scoot to 60 mph in as little as 4.1 seconds. It comes with Porsche's surface-coated brakes behind 20-inch wheels, and you can add a number of sporty upgrades like torque-vectoring tech, an adaptive air suspension and carbon-ceramic stoppers. It's the most performance-oriented Macan yet.

It makes a great first impression, too. Blasting along winding German backroads east of Porsche's headquarters in Stuttgart, I'm reminded that the Macan is one of the best-driving SUVs available at any price. The entire Macan range received some meaningful updates for 2019, including aluminum suspension components that are stronger and lighter than the previous steel hardware. Combined with the optional, three-stage air suspension, the Macan goes from comfortable 'bahn-burner to taut canyon-carver with the push of a button.

The small-diameter steering wheel is nicely weighted and the lines of communication between the road and driver are crystal clear. You get plenty of feedback through both the steering and seat of your pants, meaning it's easy to carry lots of speed through tight corners, simply because you've got a great sense of your grip at road level. Being an SUV, the Macan has a tendency to resort to safe understeer should you push a bit too hard while entering a hairpin bend, but a quick stab of the throttle puts the optional torque-vectoring system to work, shuffling power side to side to help the rear end rotate. You can drive this thing like a 911 Carrera all day long and it absolutely will not mind. Nor will it ever let you down.

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