What is it?
Popularity has been on the side of the Porsche Macan ever since it first arrived on the UK’s roads back in 2014. It’s gone on to become one of the brand’s most successful models, which leads you to understand why it has been so subtle when it comes to an update.
We’re testing that update here. Diesel has been firmly ditched from the range, but with new engines and a quiet tweak to the looks of the car both inside and out, can this latest Macan build on the old car’s appeal?
So of course, the lack of a diesel in the Macan engine line-up is a pretty significant change, but Porsche hopes that an economical four-cylinder petrol will plug the gap left by the oil-burner. We’ll cover what’s under the bonnet in a little more depth later on, however.
Elsewhere, you’ve got a nipped-and-tucked exterior design better in keeping with the rest of Porsche’s line-up, and the interior has been given a thorough overhaul with increased levels of technology and improved materials across the board.
What’s under the bonnet?
The new entry-level engine in the Macan range is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit pushing out 242bhp and 370Nm of torque. Porsche claims that it’ll return 34.9mpg and emit 185g/km CO2, which, though respectable, still can’t quite match the economy figures of the older diesel.
It can almost match it in the performance stakes, however, with a claimed 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds and a top speed of 139mph. Power is sent to all four wheels through Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox.
The Macan also gets a four-wheel torque vectoring system, which can quickly shift power to the front wheels when traction is lost on the rears. Standard cars get a standard steel spring suspension set up too, though our test car rode on uprated air suspension – an £816 optional extra.
What’s it like to drive?
Many SUVs struggle to combine the increase size required by a four-wheel-drive with any form of driver involvement. The Macan has convincingly hit the nail on the head, however. The lack of body roll is one of the stand-out aspects of the driving experience, and it allows you to whisk it through the corners with far more confidence than you’d expect from a car of this size. The steering lies on the weighty side of things; up and running it feels brilliantly direct, but the heft added to the rack does make itself known at lower speeds, where it isn’t as welcome.
The engine is undoubtedly a four-cylinder, and doesn’t emit the most pleasant of noises under full load. It’s effective though, and gets the Macan up to speed in a swift enough fashion.
How does it look?
Porsche knows not to mess with a winning formula too much – just look at the glacial evolution of the 911 for pointers – and it’s why the exterior design of the Macan looks strikingly similar to the car it replaces. It remains a smart looking car, with enough premium touches to live up to the badge on the bonnet.
The new full-width rear light looks excellent, and when sat above the quad exhaust pipes (perhaps overkill for a 2.0-litre Porsche) gives the Macan a wider, squatter appearance. Our car also came on optional 21-inch alloy wheels, which did fill the arches nicely – smaller units do tend to look a little lost on the Macan.
What’s it like inside?
The previous Macan’s interior was starting to look quite outdated as it aged, so this latest version gets a welcome amount of new life breathed into it. Key to this is the new widescreen PCM touchscreen system, which transforms the top half of the cabin. It’s just a shame that the analogue buttons either side of the gearstick remain the same as they did on the old Macan; that is to say, cluttered and a little too busy.
However, you can’t fault the overall build and material quality. There’s leather almost everywhere you touch, and it’s stitched onto components which feel superbly well screwed on. It makes the cabin of the Macan feel a significant step-up compared to some rivals.
What’s the spec like?
As mentioned, the key offering in the specification list is the new infotainment system – now standard on all models. It’s clear and, though it’s a little more complex in its layout compared to rival offerings, you quickly get used to it. The mapping system is a particular highlight thanks to its clarity.
Also standard is the 4.8-inch display integrated into the traditional instrument binnacle. Though this has been in Porsche cars for a little while now, it’s no less impressive. The ability to quickly look down and check key information such as satellite navigation routes or media functions is a handy one. One annoyance is the lack of a button to skip music tracks on the steering wheel – it may sound niche, but it’s one omission which quickly grates.
Updating the Macan has only helped to bolster its appeal even further. It steers like few other SUVs on the market can, and feels even more upmarket inside thanks to some key new additions. The four-cylinder engine may not be the most exciting, but it’s effective and gets the job done efficiently enough. The key thing here are those optional extras – at its circa £46,400 base price the Macan seems excellent value-for-money, but the £60,083 price tag accompanying our test car seemed a little steep and makes it seem a less viable prospect.