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Cooley On Cars
On the road: 2015 Porsche Macan TurboCould the new 2015 Porsche Macan become the car maker's new best seller, over its current best seller, the Cayenne SUV? Brian Cooley takes it for a drive and checks the tech.
Welcome to Porsche's future, A five speeder crossover for a company known for sports cars. To a new future of being primarily known for things other than sports cars. Now it's an easy, but frankly cheap shot, to call this a baby Cayenne. It's not so much related to the Cayenne, other than brand, as much as its related to the Audi Q5, which is the. Corporate groups M.L.P., or modular longitudinal platform. But beyond that, these two are very different vehicles. They have 70% different parts, Porsche's quick to point out. Big parts, like the engine and powertrain, the body, the suspension. Now that's the engineering point of view. For the shopper, let's compare it to a Cayenne. The Macan is 6.8 inches shorter in overall length. A little bit narrower, has a three and a half inch tighter wheelbase, and weighs nearly 600 pounds less. Now, inside the McCann cabin, you'll be familiar if you know Porsches at all in the modern idiom. You've got, in this case, their latest three gauge cluster, the right-hand. Hand one is an LCD screen. Looks particularly cool when you got a map in there. Porsche's PCM head unit has never been my favorite for connected car tech or great interface. They kinda march to their own drummer, and that drummer's on acid once in awhile. It's a death of a thousand cuts. There's no one thing I can show you that is egregious. But everything about it's just a little bit wonky for some reason. That said, it's got almost every source you're gonna want. Under tuner, you've got AM/FM satellite radio, HD radio, and they have hah. The AHA app is an interesting sort of a roundup of both streaming stations, information sources, YELP for finding restaurants, and under media, you've got your optical disk iPod, your auxiliary jack, and your Bluetooth streaming. Your map quality is pretty good, entering destinations is rather well done via the voice. Would you like to start route guidance. What I'm missing here is, for example there's no live search the way Audi already has and has had for a while. There's no native Pandora integration. This disagrees by over half an hour on arrival time with the directions on my google nav and I'll let you guess which one was right. And voice command is very compartmentalized, when I'm on an audio screen and push the voice button. I can't issue a nav command, which should take me to that screen and do it. I have to hit a button to go to the right mode of the head unit, then I can use voice command to drive that slice of it. A lot of audio options, of course. The premium German cars' always gonna have. You have your base audio system, which is display-based, like you see, of course. Then you can go up to Bose audio. But if you're really nuts you can go up to Burmester audio for $4,000 plus. I never hear $4 to 6 thousand in these Burmester and B and O audio upgrades. Maybe you do. And one last thing on the media sources where a lot of these cars used to use this sort of multi pigtail they call the MDI to connect to stuff in the glove box, they've now joined the rest of the world with an aux jack and USB port right in the console. [MUSIC] The center console I've never made peace with in modern Porsches. Maybe you love it it's just not for me. It's got that Acura disease of putting a thousand buttons in one place. And they're not that logical. Here's the off-road button. Way up here is the crawl control button. Those are related but they're in different zip codes. And everything is almost identical. So to go from sport to sport, plus you have to do some reading. There is no physical way to get these without sight. Now going into the engine bay on a Macan is an interesting experience. You pull up this big one piece aluminum clam shell hood that does some interesting things. You see how it surrounds the headlights and leaves them down when it lifts? And you've got some duck things. These rubber surrounded ducks for the intake breathe through some holes punched in the underside that are actually channels that breathe through the front of the hood that goes to grill through a mesh. Channel here. It's all rather well thought out but they tend to do that. Now the engines on these cars are all turbos. But only if you get the larger one, the 3.6 liter, is the vehicle called a turbo. The smaller turbo car is just called the S. S perhaps for screwy naming policy. Now as much as this car has some lineage to the Q5. Shared engines are not one of those areas. This is not a shared motor with anything else, it's a Porsche engine only, same for the 3 liter S. Twin turbos, not a bi-turbo, that's a significant difference. Your numbers are pretty stout, 400 horsepower, that could be a record for a crossover, 406 pound feet of torque. All Lecans are all wheel drive and all Lecans have a seven speed dual clutch. Porsche calls it a PDK. Zero to 60 on this guy's 4.6. You only get faster if you get the sports chrono option, and the overall weight's over 4200 pounds. Not a featherweight vehicle, but as I mentioned earlier almost 600 pounds lighter than a Cayenne. MPG's rated at 17/23. You're probably going to see 20 on a good day and teens most of your life with this vehicle. At least if you drive it the way it's meant to be. Okay, under way in our little twin turbo friend you'd hardly know it's got turbos. Really nicely dialed out turbo lag. Very impressed by that. And this engine has very wide squat four. [MUSIC] So it loves to rev. Completing the picture, this TDK as quick shifts. And they get even faster if you put it in sport plus. I mean, they are bang, bang, bang. So nice overall power train. Now let's talk about the all wheel drive system. It can go 100% rear or 100% front wheel drive. It's very flexible. In normal driving, it's heavily biased toward the rear. Rear for a sports car experience. All the turbo cars have adaptive suspension standards, optional on on the S mechanics. When you've got it in sport plus, for example, that gives you a sportier, firmer underpinning as well as dialing in your throttle tip in, holding shifts higher as you can hear right now [MUSIC] And making those shifts quicker as well. You also get different exhaust roading. Not in the exhaust of the engine but downstream in the pipe. It opens up the [UNKNOWN]. When this car's in sport plus, it's not so much a compact crossover. It's really much more of a five seat Cayman. So, let's talk about some efficiency tech. [LAUGH]. Love that sound. We've got auto start stop. Defeatable is this button down here on the console, and I use it. Because I found the auto start stop rekicked the engine pretty well. That fired up quickly. But the drive line took another heartbeat or so to engage. Frequently and that made it just too long and kind of a mess. You've also got brake regen as so many cars do these days to take parasitic load off the alternator. And you've also got decoupled coasting. On the freeway you're coasting along let's say. It will decouple the drive line so there's less drag on the vehicle. Now in terms of interior volume. It's quite nice in the front row. Doesn't feel too tight at all. The back row, most people who get back there say, oh, it's kind of small back here. And this vehicle does give up a little under 10% of its cargo volume in the rear cargo bay compared to an Audi Q5. The execution of the haunch is a little different. The active lane key technology is, shall we say, aggressive. But I found in many situations, I got lane bound. It's going from left to right within the lines until the car finally gave up. Now we're in San Francisco, not a lot of long straight freeways here. [MUSIC] Now how important is this car to Porsche? It's huge. It's expected to get them rather quickly to their long stated goal of selling 200,000 cars a year. It's very likely going to replace the Cayenne as their best selling single model and all that together will move Porsche soundly to being a maker of SUV's first with some sports cars thrown in. the Macan is now Porsche's cheapest model by a hair, but of course not exactly cheap. Of course you can option a Porche till you die, but here's a rough number. About 73 base with destination for a turbo. $4,600 gets you the premium package for park sensors, rear camera, vented seats, panoramic roof and some lane keeping blind spot checks. The Burmester Audio option is a lavish $4,300 bucks. Air suspension for 1400 takes you lower on the freeway, higher off the road. Torque vectoring would be interesting at 1500. The nickel and dime you for Hah support at $210, and $420 for Car Connect, to have an app that does telematics with the vehicle remotely. All inward about $86,000 CNet style. Now the Macan is almost certainly going to be a monster hit. That's basically a given. It's timing is really good, and it's tapping into an apparently unending vein of love we have for the compact SUV or crossover. It also gets into an area of what you might call the family sports car that the Cayenne is just. Too big to argue. As you saw, it's not a cabin tech leader, but horses just never seem to be. Now before you go shopping for a Macan, make sure you start with the Macan S, with the less potent power train. Yes, you're going to give up eight-tenths of a second, zero to 60, but you're also going to give up 21, 22 thousand dollars in debt. You'll loose the adaptive suspension that comes with the turbo, I would also going to skip the air suspension. Your not going off road, your going to whole foods and I think for a lot less money, you can very well capture the essence of this cool new model. [MUSIC] More cars good and CNET style standing by now at CNETOnCars.com click on the road.