Review: 2015 Porsche Macan

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The purists have been scoffing at vehicles like the Cayenne SUV and Panamera four-door sports car since their arrival. But these vehicles have been proven sales successes, and their profits lead to the development of the next generation vehicles like the 911 and 918. As such, the purists can pipe down while Porsche generates the profits necessary to develop a world-class sports car in the 21st century. Porsche is building more cars than it ever has, and even their least-performance-focused car is still a million times more attractive and engaging than your run-of-the-mill daily driver.

And the same can be said for the all-new Macan, Porsche’s answer to the luxury compact crossover. Unlike its perceived competitors, such as the Mercedes-Benz GLK, Audi SQ5 and BMW X3, the Macan is a turn-key performance machine, formed in the guise of a useful daily driver, but bristling with capability for the track or the trail.

It would be too easy to brand the Macan a baby Cayenne, but there are many design elements on the Macan that point to the future of Porsche design. For one, the headlights are derived from the mid-engined Boxster. The hood and front grille speaks to the four-door Panamera, while the taillights are inspired by the 918 Spyder hypercar. In short, the Macan is a melting pot of some of Porsche’s best current and future design cues. 

The Macan is available in the base “S” trim, which starts at $49,900, and the uprated “Turbo” model, which fetches an MSRP of $72,300. Like any German luxury brand, expect to pay $5,000-$10,000 in options to get a Macan outfitted with the features you’d like.

Despite the names, both trims of the Macan are turbocharged. The Macan S is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharge V6 making 340 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. The Macan Turbo features a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 400 horsepower and 406 pound feet of torque.

Both engines are mated to a 7-speed PDK direct-shift gearbox, which puts power to all four wheels. The Macan S can get from zero to sixty in just 5.4 seconds, while the Macan Turbo will get to sixty mph in just 4.6 seconds. Both models are listed at 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway (though you won’t get that kind of fuel economy in the middle of a zero-to-sixty run).

The Macan is available with several different options for suspension and power management. The base coil shocks are responsive and great for daily driving, and even putting the Macan close to its limits. But you will reach a point where the front tires start to squeal and lose traction. If you plan on driving your Macan a little harder there is the available air suspension and optional Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM. 

Inside, the driver is treated to a cabin that is reminiscent of a Panamera, but with more leg and headroom. The driver controls are all well positioned, and the digital screen in the instrument cluster is customizable to feature specific vehicle data, stereo status, and even the map from the navigation system.

But it is a small price to pay for what is an overall exceptional vehicle. This year, sales for crossovers and SUVs surpassed sedan sales for the first time in the history of car sales. It is a credit to the idea that, despite criticisms from purists, crossovers are the vehicular equivalent to a Swiss Army knife– able to handle a great many duties in one car. Unlike most crossovers, the Macan has sports car DNA running through it, making it one of the few crossovers that are exciting to drive. After all– it is still a Porsche!

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