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.
Since its inception in 2014, the Porsche Macan has reigned as the sportiest choice in the compact luxury crossover segment. Whereas the larger Cayenne is a bit more family-oriented, the Macan stands as a sort of halfway measure for folks who want something lively, but larger than the usual sports car.
Refreshed for the 2019 model year, Porsche doubled down on its positioning, creating a new Macan that still places driving dynamics first. That tunnel vision means other details have gotten lost in the periphery, however. It's not perfect, but it still shines in the right instances.
Part of the 2019 Macan's midcycle update includes a general freshening of its aesthetics, although I'm not necessarily of the belief that it's any fresher than before. I think a good bit of my wishy-washy attitude comes from the rear-end redo, where the taillight stripe running the width of the trunk is pretty thick and almost gives my Macan S tester a Dodge Durango look. It's now up to date with the rest of the Porsche lineup, but I'm not totally sold on it.
The Good The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a blast to drive, and it packs some of the segment's best tech.
The Bad Nearly every feature is a costly option, and it falls a little short as a family hauler.
The Bottom Line The Macan S prioritizes driving pleasure with some sacrifices to daily livability.
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