Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower

Published:15 October 2019

Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

► Punchy Porsche SUV tested
► Hottest v2.0 Macan yet
► It'll cost you almost £70k...

Porsche’s Macan has some fire in its belly once more, as the Turbo model returns in post-facelift form. 

Performance SUV numbers are growing, so the Macan has to take on the likes of the BMW X3 M Competition and Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and diesel-powered Audi SQ5 are cheaper rivals, but not quite as potent in the horsepower arms race. 

If you’re after a Macan Turbo, you’ll have to stump up £68,530 minimum before raiding the expansive and expensive options list. That’s around £20k more than a Macan S.

That’s a lot of money…

It is, but the pre-facelift Turbo wasn’t exactly cheap either. In fact, the Macan Turbo is actually less expensive than the X3 and Stelvio.

Underneath the skin is a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 creating 434bhp (39bhp more than before) and 406lb ft - this is an engine that’s already in service in the Cayenne S and Panamera 4S. That power is dealt with via Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox and all-wheel drive.

Macan Turbo wheel

Porsche has included its Porsche Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) system as standard on the Macan Turbo – a tech advancement first seen on the latest Cayenne. In short, the discs (above) are coated in tungsten carbide which, according to Porsche, increases brake response and friction, and emits up to 90% less brake dust. Carbon ceramics are a £3500(ish) optional extra. Spotter’s guide: by default, the PSCB calipers are white, ceramics are yellow.

Regular steel suspension with adaptive dampers is standard; self-levelling air springs are an option.

Any other updates?

The Turbo naturally gains a tweaked – and more aggressive – look than the rest of the range for a start, including a double-tier rear spoiler. And, in a rather fruitless attempt to link the car to the 911, features a smaller-diameter steering wheel like the rear-engined sports car: 360mm instead of the usual 375mm. A farty sports exhaust system is also standard.

Inside, all Macan Turbos have 18-way electric sports seats (some of the most supportive and flexible I think I’ve ever sat in), Alcantara headlining and a Bose stereo coupled to the post-facelift car’s 10.9-inch infotainment system. 

Is the Macan Turbo quick?

Quick with a capital F... the Macan Turbo can absolutely monster far more serious cars at a set of lights. Porsche claims a 4.3sec 0-62mph sprint if you use the launch control function within the Sport Chrono pack, 4.5sec if you don’t. Not slow.

Macan Turbo rear tracking

The V6’s power band is wide, too, allowing you to get just as much value exploiting the mid-range torque as it is to ram home the gears at the redline. Keep it at at least 3000rpm and you have the Macan’s entire engine toolset to play with.

And you’ll delight in either, as the V6 expels zero bum notes through that sports exhaust, dependent on where the rev needle points. Pottering around town you’re treated to a juicy, muscular hum, the mid-range gargles like Chewbacca, while at the top it shouts like an enraged wrestler, moments from pulling off their signature move.

What about handling?

Before we get into it here, the Macan Turbos we drove had every conceivable performance-oriented option applied, including air suspension, an electronic rear diff (Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus), the Sport Chrono pack (launch control, stopwatch and performance displays) and Power Steering Plus (which reduces the resistance of the steering wheel at low speeds). We got to try both the PSCB and PCCB versions, too.

Porsche is one of the few manufacturers out there that can make electric power steering feel hydraulic in its application. Its reactions to your inputs are crisp and only second in response time to the livewire rack of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, but feels less artificial than an X3 M. This is also a car that does not need rear-wheel steering – something offered on the rest of Porsche’s larger cars.

A mix of the self-levelling air suspension and drive mode select system means you can have your 21-inch wheel cake and eat it on bumpy surfaces. Sport Plus’s firmer damping eliminates body roll, naturally at the expense of experiencing more jolts over potholes. But this suspension set-up and the quick-witted, hefty steering blend together to give you the impression you’re driving a Porsche hot hatch, not a small SUV. There is an off-road button on the centre console, but the Macan Turbo is definitely a road-biased machine.

Macan Jake driving

Even if the Macan Turbo is all-wheel drive, flicking the drive system into its sportiest mode or turning the traction control off genuinely allows you to play around. The limits are high before the Macan will slide, but some mountain pass switchbacks in Germany rather quickly turned into chances to let the Turbo twerk as it pivoted around them.

The surface-coated brakes are all the stoppers you really need, with heavy-yet-progressive pedal feel and plenty of initial bite. In day-to-day driving they will be plenty good enough.

But we still felt drawn to the carbon ceramic brake option's ability to be punished without showing signs of fade; go for long blasts in the countryside regularly or drive it on track (do real owners actually do this?) and the ceramics are an expensive godsend. You trust them far more when driving hard and they’re less binary in their application than the carbon stoppers on an Alfa - so they’re more usable when you’re not driving at the speed of sound.

Porsche Macan Turbo: verdict

The only caveat with the Macan Turbo is more of a wider Porsche niggle than anything particular about the Macan, namely the price tag. At around £69,000, it’s competitive compared to its closest rivals, but no one buys a Porsche without slathering it in options. After playing around on the configurator, it’s easy to add a five-figure sum in additional equipment.

But those in the market for this kind of car will arguably be happy to pay for it anyway. And what they do get is a genuinely fast, comfortable, physics-bending, fruity-sounding, five-person carrying, luggage-fitting, do-anything kinda car. And there really aren’t many of those around.

Macan front quarter

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Specs

Price when new: £68,530
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 2894cc twin-turbo V6 petrol, 434bhp @ 5700rpm, 406lb ft @ 1800rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed PDK auto, all-wheel drive
Performance: 4.3sec 0-62mph, 168mph, 28.8mpg, 224g/km
Weight / material: 1945kg/steel and aluminium
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4684/1926/1624mm

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  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower
  • Porsche Macan Turbo (2019) review: ultimate firepower

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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