► New 2021 Macan GTS driven
► End of an era for petrol
► Hugely competent
You’re looking at the ultimate Porsche Macan, and the last that’ll be powered by an old-fashioned petrol engine. Rather than a V6, Stuttgart’s next compact, performance EV will be powered by electricity rather that a 3.5-litre block. In GTS form, the Macan isn’t that far off its 992 counterpart on paper; how’s 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and 434bhp. And it’s not bad in the corners either.
But just how good is the new Macan GTS, and is it a worthy farewell to one of Porsche’s most impressive models? Keep reading our review to find out.
Read about the all-electric Macan en route in 2023.
What’s it like to drive?
As with the 911, the GTS badge represents a solid boost in performance, and it starts with an air-suspension and adaptive dampers, once the preserve of the now phased-out Macan Turbo.
Flick the suspension button to normal (note how it’s not called ‘comfort) and it becomes competent at soaking up larger bumps and potholes, seemingly only being off put by loose gravel.
Sport and Sport Plus modes are firmer, but they’re still pliant enough for British roads. Sport Plus is bearable on everything but the most bombed-out of roads, something that can’t be said for other sports SUVs dialled on their most ‘dynamic’ settings.
Road noise is acceptable, while the sports seats feel solid, like you’re being embraced by a friendly prop forward. And they come in handy when you’re truly hustling the Macan.
Ride aside, it’s devastatingly fast. The strong 0-62mph time is helped along by an intuitive, and quick to set-up launch control system. But the way it pulls itself out of corners is equally as impressive.
Despite the epic power and weight (2,035kg unladen) the 21-inch Michelin Latitude Sport 3s seem faultless and steady, almost never wanting to relinquish grip. The V6 is keen to rev sweetly to its redline, even though you don’t strictly need to. Max power hits at 5,700rpm, but it’s still enjoyable to venture past that.
Aurally it doesn’t grip you at most revs – but then again it doesn’t need to. With the sports exhaust turned on there are some burbling theatrics, but there’s also virtually no turbo-lag. What’s more, the seven-speed PDK responds quickly with or without manual assistance from the paddles.
When you pull a paddle it reverts to manual mode, but then if you don’t use it again it quickly defaults back to fully auto. There doesn’t appear to be a force on M mode, which is a shame.
The steering is masterful. Sharp, with natural feedback, easily hiding the car’s weight.
The brakes initially feel soft. There’s plenty of stopping power from the 6-piston callipers at the front, but it’s lacking some immediate bite. In our comparison test with the 911, though, we also managed to reach the limit of our Macan’s brake endurance.
And the interior? *******
Porsche’s traditional button-fest has gone. The centre-console is now touch sensitive, apart from the temperature controls, which all work reassuringly well. At first things might take a few prods but eventually it all falls into place.
The Race-Tex (or Alcantara to you and me) sports steering wheel is a delight. The right shape and weight and thickness for discerning car enthusiasts.
Rear seat space is enough for two adults. The middle seat is tiny and the transmission tunnel thick. So that’s best avoided.
Boot space might not seem important on a car with torque vectoring but at 488 litres the GTS boot is enough for most situations and usefully wide and flat.
The Macan range now makes a lot more sense. The GTS sits atop the table, containing the most horsepower and the most aggressive setup. It’s even better value than the old Turbo.
Objectively it’s a fast thing. But the AMG CL63 sounds like thunder and the Alfa Stelvio feels a bit more fun. But then again, the X3 M rides poorly and is very very expensive.
The Macan then is a brilliant, silly-fast, petrol SUV that isn’t as obnoxious as some of its rivals. And for that, we’ll miss it.
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