Up next:

Our Porsche Macan: a multi-purpose vehicle that still has Stuttgart in its blood

Published: 22 June 2017

► We live with a Porsche Macan
► Macan Turbo long-term review
► Can SUV excel as daily driver? 

Month 4 living with a Porsche Macan: it's every inch a proper Porsche

I had an interesting conversation with a former senior engineer at Porsche recently. He told me that in the run-up to the Macan’s launch, Audi boss Rupert Stadler got the hump with the way Porsche people kept emphasising how much of the Q5 they’d changed when turning it into the Macan, as if there was something wrong with the Audi. Stadler phoned the then Porsche (now VW group) CEO Matthias Müller, and Müller summoned the Macan team to his office for a bollocking and an order to tone down the anti-Audi briefings.

They should have just waited. I’ve been driving this Macan Turbo for the past three months. I’ve been lucky enough to have tested most of the new cars Porsche has made for the past 17 years and plenty from the years before that too, and there’s no question that this feels like a proper Porsche: amazingly so, given its origins.

It’s there in the consistent heft and precision of its controls, and in the mad explosion of switchgear, and in the way you get out of the car after a long trip feeling utterly unfatigued because the driving position is so bang-on. Vic Elford won the Targa Florio in 1968 in part because his Porsche 907 was comfortable and easy to drive, so he stayed fresh. That subtle understanding has made its way through to the Macan.

Three months and nearly 4000 miles was not a stern enough test of this car. Of course nothing went wrong. I never entirely warmed to the looks: stretching sports-car styling over an SUV or saloon chassis often makes for an awkward result, and it took Porsche two goes to get it right with both the Cayenne and the Panamera.

Despite my reservations about SUVs with hatchback profiles and the consequent effect on boot volumes in cars with ‘utility’ in the name, the Macan always coped with the considerable load-bearing demands of two toddlers and what marketing people would call an ‘active lifestyle’. I absolutely loved the eye-widening pace of that twin-turbo V6 and the noise it made, particularly the extra crack it emits on a full-bore upshift. 

Porsche Macan Turbo long-term city front tracking

But I wonder if I enjoyed it enough in daily family use to justify the extra fuel cost of the petrol over the (pretty stellar) diesels, and more importantly the need to stop every 300 miles or so. This, rather than fuel bills, might be of greater concern to those able to spring 80 large for a baby Porsche. The greatest distances I saw from a tank were 320 and 350 miles, although the latter was really pushing it, and more than once I had to stop just short of my destination to fill up.

A recent week in a new 5-series – the wagon version of which might well be considered by buyers alongside the Macan – got me thinking about the Porsche’s cabin. I love the analogue feel of all those buttons, and there’s no shortage of tech and data. But after the Five’s gesture control and animated, 360-degree camera views and screen the size of a swimming pool, the Macan felt a bit like a G-wagen despite being just three and a half years old. If you’re a Porsche person you probably won’t care, but our perception of our cars is increasingly governed by their tech; older models feel old faster now.

The Macan has a new and very direct rival in the Range Rover Velar. Speaking to Land Rover engineers it seems like the Macan was pretty much their only benchmark; probably with good reason. They certainly didn’t try to copy it: the Velar’s styling is gorgeous and unapologetically brash SUV below the glasshouse, and its reductionist cabin is the polar opposite of the Macan’s.

Yet Land Rover knows that the Velar needs to convince people not to buy the Macan. And despite its looks and newness and the claims it makes for its tech, I’m not convinced that it could. You have to wonder if anyone can get the rest of a car as consistently right as Porsche, regardless of its origins.

By Ben Oliver

Logbook: Porsche Macan Turbo

Engine 3604cc twin-turbo V6, 394bhp @ 6000rpm, 406lb ft @ 1350rpm  
Gearbox 7-speed twin-clutch auto, all-wheel drive  
Stats 4.8sec 0-62mph, 165mph, 208g/km CO2 
Price £62,540 
As tested £80,743  
Miles this month 1014
Total 9528
Our mpg 21.3
Official mpg 31.7 
Fuel cost overall £988.05
Extra costs None

Count the cost: Porsche Macan Turbo

Cost new £87,430 (including £18,203 of options) 
Dealer sale price £74,768 
Private sale price £71,861
Part-exchange price £61,203 
Cost per mile 25.5p  
Cost per miles including depreciation £2.60


Month 3 living with a Porsche Macan: up with the jet set, down on the farm

Any time, any place, anywhere, the Macan is the Martini of premium junior crossovers.

The last month has reminded us just how versatile a Porsche can be, now that it's better known as a purveyor of sports utility vehicles rather than pure-bred sports cars.

Chevy El Camino SS

Trending

Just in case you thought that overpowered ‘utility’ vehicles are a modern affectation, look at the stats for the Chevy El Camino SS I followed through Surrey in the Macan. Its 396 cubic inch (6.5 litre) V8 makes just short of 400bhp. So does the Macan Turbo, but from nearly half that capacity.

Ben Oliver's family in the Porsche Macan

Porsche Macan: a Gran tourer

Macan’s rear-seat entertainment system consists of a £15 aftermarket iPad holder and a grandmother to dispense sweets, stories and wet wipes. She is fairly compact, but being able to fit an adult between two child seats tells you that the Macan is a proper family car.

Our Porsche Macan meets the Hondajet

High standards

Stepped out of the £4m, 500mph HondaJet at Birmingham airport and back into my Macan. Neither the cabin nor the performance felt disappointing by comparison, and I could pilot it myself. Flying from Chester to Stansted cost around £150 in fuel: the Macan wouldn’t be much cheaper.

Porsche Macan Turbo down the farm

When the road stops, stop

Yes, the Macan is nominally an off-roader, but it has never really fitted in here in rural Sussex, and it has certainly never been off-road. This is what we really drive: knackered Pajeros. You could have three for the price of the Macan’s £5463 ceramic-composite brake option.

By Ben Oliver

Logbook: Porsche Macan Turbo

Engine 3604cc twin-turbo V6, 394bhp @ 6000rpm, 406lb ft @ 1350rpm  
Gearbox 7-speed twin-clutch auto, all-wheel drive  
Stats 4.8sec 0-62mph, 165mph, 208g/km CO2
Price £62,540
As tested £80,743  
Miles this month 998  
Total 8514
Our mpg 21.0
Official mpg 31.7
Fuel this month £243.80
Extra costs None


Month 2 running a Porsche Macan: real-world duties strike

The Macan seems omnicapable. I can think of few cars I would rather take the kids to nursery in on sub-zero mornings, with its good visibility and parkability, its all-wheel drive and fierce bum-warmers, and the knowledge that there are few better places to be than a Porsche bodyshell should someone else get it wrong.

And when there’s grip and I’m alone, it feels like a 911.

If Porsche could just arrange for it to clean itself and run for more than 300 miles between tanks, it would be perfect.

By Ben Oliver

CAR's Porsche Macan and keeper Ben Oliver

Logbook: Porsche Macan Turbo

Engine 3604cc twin-turbo V6, 394bhp @ 6000rpm, 406lb ft @ 1350rpm  
Gearbox 7-speed twin-clutch, all-wheel drive  
Stats 4.8sec 0-62mph, 165mph, 208g/km CO2  
Price £62,540
As tested £80,743  
Miles this month 886
Total 7516  
Our mpg 20.6  
Official mpg 31.7
Fuel costs £238.16  
Extra costs None


Porsche Macan Turbo long-term test review: the introduction

The Nissan Qashqai is Britain’s fifth best-selling car and the British car industry’s most popular export. Crossovers like the Qashqai give people what they actually want from a car, and not what we enthusiasts think they ought to want. A little extra ride height lets us bounce over the odd kerb and makes it easier to see out, but without the nuisance of a big, hard-to-park SUV body. 

Take these qualities and add a famous name, an excessively well-made cabin and (in this case) a 394bhp twin-turbocharged V6 engine and you get the Porsche Macan. My new car is essentially an £80,000 Qashqai: it’s only a school ruler longer. I’ve started calling it the Porschqai. And it’s as popular as you might expect: the queue is currently nine months long and there’s an ‘overs’ market for certain models.

I’m lucky enough to be running one for a few months to see if it really can unite everyday practicality with not-everyday performance. Poor me. When I started road testing cars back in 2000, the 996 Turbo had 400bhp and I couldn’t imagine anything faster across country. Now here’s the same power in a Porsche hatchback on stilts. 

I’ll admit I’m well-disposed towards the Porschqai. It was a fast drive on UK roads in a Macan Turbo that finally dissipated whatever remaining philosophical objections I had to high-performance, high-riding cars. If you shut your eyes when driving a Macan Turbo (really not recommended) you simply wouldn’t know that it was a crossover. It feels like a fast estate to drive, and the qualities that make us buy Qashqais by the million don’t corrupt the Macan’s appeal. Who are we to tell Porsche that they shouldn’t be building these cars, or customers that they shouldn’t be buying them?

Those waiting lists mean I didn’t get to specify mine. It’s an ex-test car with 6000 miles on the clock, an entire Qashqai’s worth of options and a Carrera White paintjob which looks sensational when clean but is an utter disaster in an English winter and when you live down a country lane where traffic and emissions are mainly equine.

Porsche Macan Turbo long-term test review: ceramic brakes

The big-ticket items are the ceramic-composite brakes (above) at £5463, the active air suspension at £1004, the torque-vectoring system at £1100, an upgraded leather interior also at £1100 and the sports exhaust and 21-inch wheels at just over £1600 each. Lots of other surprise-and-delight options like the Macan-shaped key painted in same Carrera White (£248) lift the price of this car from the Turbo’s standard £62,540 to £80,743. Less cripplingly expensive Macans are available.

Early impressions? It coped with a family Christmas better than I did, carrying (separately) the Christmas tree and the baggage of two relations back from the US for three weeks. It feels wieldy and parkable in the city, and on longer trips in foul winter weather its brakes and all-wheel-drive system feel reassuringly over-specified. Probably the best compliment I can pay it is that I spent a week putting 1250 miles on a 600bhp 911 Turbo S for a story, and when I got back into the Macan it felt like a close relation, and not much slower.

Fuel consumption is predictably Trumpian. Porsche claims 31mpg and in the real world this car does two-thirds of that. At between 20 and 23mpg, putting 70 litres into the 75-litre tank gives a range of between 300 and 350 miles, a reminder of the Macan Turbo’s two-tonne kerbweight.

But that’s to be expected: the only unexpected flaw so far is the reversing camera, which is rendered useless almost instantly by wet or dirty roads. Mercedes has a system in which the hi-def camera rotates down from a housing giving you a clean image even when the roads aren’t. 

But it doesn’t feel like there’s much else Porsche needs to learn from its rivals: in fact, on hearing that I’m driving one a couple of very senior execs at rival car makers have admitted that the Macan is their internal benchmark in a growing class. I suspect that the next few months will leave us feeling the same way.

By Ben Oliver

More Porsche reviews by CAR magazine


Logbook: Porsche Macan Turbo

  • Engine 3604cc 24v bi-turbo V6, 394bhp @ 6000rpm, 406lb ft @ 1350rpm  
  • Gearbox Seven-speed twin-clutch, all-wheel drive  
  • Stats 4.8sec 0-62mph, 165mph, 208g/km CO2  
  • Price £62,540 
  • As tested £80,743 
  • Miles this month 965 
  • Total miles 6630
  • Our mpg 21.0 
  • Official mpg 31.7 
  • Fuel this month £238.09 
  • Extra costs £0

Porsche Macan Turbo: inside the cabin

By CAR's road test team

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds

Comments