Cars that don’t particularly fit a mold have usually been met with mixed reactions. That goes double if the car company that introduces such a model is one with a very, very loyal following. Like Porsche.
The company with perhaps the most purist of fans and owners at their very core has been branching out into other models that cater to a wider demographic. And they did it so very successfully with the Cayenne and Panamera, much to the raised eyebrows of the purists.
And they’ve done it again with this: the Macan. And now we’ll drive it on our roads, our traffic, and our cities to see if it really can be a great everyday drive.
For starters, the Macan looks great; a huge contrast when you consider that the original Cayenne polarized opinions when it was launched in 2002 when Porsche was still on their “fried egg” generation of models like the first Boxster (986) and 911 (996). With the Macan, I particularly like the long, shapely front, the low roofline, and the shooting brake-style rear end. It’s a shapely crossover that exhibits the design qualities expected of a Porsche, though I would swap out those wheels with something bigger and perhaps of a different color like the 21-inch wheels in the Turbo variants, though it’s a very pricey option.
This Macan I’m trying out is the “base four cylinder model, but at PhP 4,980,000, the appointments in this Macan R4 (as they call it locally) doesn’t feel like a base version. Everything you really need is already standard equipment like steering wheel audio controls, climate control, stability control, a multitude of airbags, leather seats, Bluetooth, USB, and much more. I like the shape of the seats, the surprising amount of passenger space and cargo capacity. And, of course, that signature Porsche quality feel.
On a daily commute to the office, the Macan is superb. Yes, Porsches are made for carving corners and delivering thrills on a track, but the Macan is a fantastic drive around town as well. You will feel a fair amount of bumps on our roads, but all things considered, the Macan has great balance honed in for comfortable city driving. Efficient too; 8.8 km/l if driven sensibly in the city (21 km/h average) and 13.8 km/l on the highway (89 km/h average).
The key to that efficiency is the powertrain. At the heart of the Macan is a 2.0-liter, four cylinder turbocharged engine paired with a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. Unusually, the Macan’s four banger isn’t a boxer/flat motor; it’s an inline engine from the Volkswagen group, a 252 bhp, 273 lb ft derivative of the 1984cc unit used on the Audi TT and the Golf GTI. And it’s got four-wheel drive and plenty of tech for an exhilarating drive.
They really weren’t kidding when they said that the Macan is really a sportscar in a crossover body, and all it takes is a nice open stretch of mountain road to make you see Porsche’s way of thinking. The acceleration from the turbo four under that hood feels very motivated to get going, and the seven-speed PDK is certainly a perfect match. Through the corners, this Porsche just feels so planted and so ready for more that the Macan will give the driver the confidence to go have a bit of fun.
But I think the Macan could also be hampered by the same hype. Porsche has dialed up the hype that you’d be forgiven if you jumped in expecting 911 and Cayman levels of driving feel. The Macan does not have that lively steering or braking feel you would normally associate with Porsche’s sports cars, but it certainly is a far more entertaining drive than the larger, heavier Cayenne.
What I like most about the Macan is its broad market appeal. Sure, we can argue that 911s are the soul of Porsche, and that’s very much true. But models like the Cayenne, Panamera, and now this Macan, while “un-pure”, are the brand’s best-sellers and most profitable models. And profitability is never a bad thing for the company that makes the 911.
ENGINE: 1984cc, dohc 16V, inline-4, turbo, 7-speed dual clutch
MAX POWER: 252 bhp @ 5000 rpm
MAX TORQUE: 273 lb ft @ 1500 rpm
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 6.9 sec
TOP SPEED: 229 km/h
FUEL MILEAGE: 8.8 km/l city / 13.8 km/l highway
+ Versatile, fun to drive
– Wheel design could be better
PRICE AS TESTED: PhP 4,980,000
C! RATING: 9.5/10