It’s new, smaller than its closest sibling, agile as a cat, and oh so powerful. The new Macan is Porsche’s first ever compact SUV–it’s flagship for a whole new class of vehicles. It’s not a matter of introducing a compact SUV to Porsche’s stable, but of putting a Porsche among compact SUVs. Bear with me, you’ll see.
To start with, where the Macan S has an already impressive 3.0 litre V6 biturbo that hides 340bhp under the hood, the top-of-the-line Macan Turbo just can’t help declaring itself with a never-before-used 3.6 litre V6 biturbo that, with 400bhp of rated output, threatens to be the most powerful engine in the compact SUV class.
The Macan S will blast out of the gate and reach 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds, putting it in trail formation just 0.6 seconds behind the Macan Turbo which’ll hit warp within 4.8 seconds. On straightaways, the power difference will be more obvious with the Macan Turbo’s 266 km/h top speed smartly putting distance between it and the Macan S with its 254 km/h max. And so, for both Macan variants, we might have to create a new sub-class altogether and call these “compact super SUVs” (sure “supercars” is shorter, but that name’s taken, must’ve been dot com’d already for sure).
But all that acceleration can’t be attributed to the powerplant alone. Further translating combustive energy into kinetic, the venerable Stuttgart carmaker couples engine to drive system with the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) double-clutch refinement. An electronically controlled multi-plate clutch ensures that the seven speed transmission transfers power with almost no interruption in tractive force. This means negligible interruption in the thrust against pavement from 0 to 100 km/h, insignificant even through gear shifts.
And then there’s the drive system. Porsche brandishes tremendous controlled traction with its latest evolution of the all-wheel-drive: named the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system, I call it their vectored-thrust feature (just to use fewer acronyms really). Like putting thrust nozzles on gimbals to let fighter jets turn on a dime, Porsche’s drive system makes all wheels either push or pull the vehicle through turns—front wheels won’t have to drag rears through turns, rear wheels won’t have to push fronts into these.
All these measures for getting every possible erg of energy pushing, and pulling, against pavement puts meat on Porsche’s claim of startling fuel efficiency–between 9.0 and 8.7 litres per 100 kilometers (that’s from 11 to 11.5 kilometers per liter, respectively, for us mileage maniacs).
What to say about the styling? The Macan is unmistakably a Porsche. Spot a Macan from behind a tarmac barrier and you’d think you’re looking at a stretched Carrera on a perplexingly raised suspension plane, that’s how sleek it looks. Passengers won’t feel silly humming the Flight of the Valkyrie and then singing hot rod hearts out on the boulevard one after the other and on the same stretch of highway.
And finally, about its name, I have to agree with the ringy translation—Macan is Indonesian for tiger. After all, “catch that tiger” simply can’t express how futile that chase would be. I mean, forget about it!