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Big little car

Justin Harper
Justin Harper • 5 min read
Big little car
Porsche’s updated Macan is better than ever, with a few changes to its winning formula
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Porsche’s updated Macan is better than ever, with a few changes to its winning formula

(July 1): History remembers those who pushed the boundaries, the mavericks and the renegades. For example, there was Steve Jobs, a visionary who wanted to make great products, and, in the motoring world, there are entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, who is changing the way we design and manufacture cars.

While nowhere near as famous, there must be one such individual at Porsche who can take ultimate responsibility for deciding to build sports utility vehicles at a brand synonymous with sports cars. This decision not only completely changed the fortunes of the German carmaker,
but has led to beautiful-looking SUVs being launched over the past few years. And they keep getting better.

The latest edition in the Porsche SUV line-up is the new-and-improved Macan, the smaller sibling to the Cayenne. I am slightly biased when it comes to the Macan, as I have been a huge admirer ever since it was launched in 2014.

Porsche makes great sports cars but they are not exactly designed with a family in mind. So, when the compact Macan was launched (following on from the larger Cayenne), I was a happy man. It suddenly catapulted its way onto my list of top 10 cars of all time. It drove like a 911 but gave me plenty of space for the family, along with a high seating position. It was everything I could ever wish for in a car.

And it seems I am not the only admirer of the Macan. While it may be physically smaller than the Cayenne, it is bigger in terms of sales and revenue for Porsche, proving to be a real hit all over the world. But that is not to say it is a small car. With its chunky wheels and athletic frame, the Macan looks quite menacing. Given it is such a popular model, Porsche was careful not to make too many changes to its winning formula.

Porsche Macan S

$288,788 excluding COE

Engine: 2,995cc, V6 turbocharged

Power/torque: 354bhp/480Nm

Fuel consumption: 9.6L/km

0 to 100kph: 5.3 seconds

Top speed: 254kph

The most obvious change is a slightly restyled front fascia with new LED headlights and intake apertures. At the back, new full-width tail lamps bring the Macan closer to the rest of the current Porsche design architecture. More noticeable is the range of striking new colours, including Miami Blue, Mamba Green Metallic, Dolomite Silver Metallic and Crayon. My test-drive model came in Miami Blue, a colour that grows on you.

Inside, there are also a few changes, including a 10.9in infotainment touchscreen, which replaces the previous 7.2in screen. Redesigned air-con vents are now positioned below the infotainment screen. These may be minimal changes, but they are also the smoothening of a rough dia-mond. The Macan is now in probably the best shape it can ever be in, with so much to enjoy.

I have always loved the inside of the Macan, with all its switches and buttons. So, I was pleased about the minimal changes in the cabin. So many gadgets can be a little intimidating at first, but they have a sense of order about them. Give yourself five minutes to know where every button you will need is located. They are displayed in a mix of chrome, black leather and glossy black materials, constantly reminding you of the Macan’s premium status.

Changes inside include a larger, 10.9in infotainment touchscreen and redesigned air-con vents positioned below it

My test-drive model came with alcantara suede wrapped around the steering wheel. This initially felt a little weird, as I am so used to driving with hard leather or plastic in my hands, but the sensation grew on me. The updated steering wheel is also fitted with the sport response dial taken from the 911. Just a small twist of the dial, and you find yourself in Sport mode. This sharpens the steering and throttle response, and speeds up gear changes.

The Macan is one of the fastest SUVs on the road anyhow. And I was driving the sportier S version, which comes with a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine, which it shares with the Panamera and Cayenne. This produces 354bhp and 480Nm of torque — an increase of 14bhp and 20Nm from before. So, in a way, there is really no need to switch it to Sport mode, as it is already a very sporty beast. Whatever mode you choose, you always get that sports car experience, just in a bigger car and a higher seated position.

When I first drove a Macan, I was astonished at just how much you could throw it around, take corners at high speeds and always pull away from the traffic lights first (the 5.3 seconds it takes to get from a standing start to 100kph feels faster in reality). And this new Macan S takes it up a notch in sportiness and performance. It is hard to believe at times that you are driving an SUV, as it delivers the handling and speed of a hot hatchback.

Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast

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