2019 Porsche Macan S First Drive: Shifting The Balance

Porsche is smart. See, just over a year ago, a certain Italian-American automaker decided to stick 75 percent of a Ferrari V8, God's own power steering system, and a fantastic suspension into a beautiful body. The result was the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, arguably the most entertaining crossover SUV on the planet.

But the Stelvio has a secret: It's a lousy daily driver. It's loud, too firm, the brake pedal is terrible, and reliability problems persist for the Italian brand (allegedly). So rather than pivot to performance in pursuit of the Stelvio, the 2019 Porsche Macan balances itself out. It remains just as charming on a winding road but is now far better in everyday driving. What was once an overeager crossover is now smarter, more comfortable, and far better balanced – all things that luxury shoppers want. But it's also sharper and more powerful, thanks to a new engine. And for those reasons, Porsche's entry-level vehicle is more appealing than ever.

The Macan's newfound balance starts with its ride/handling poise. On the tight, winding roads scattered across the Spanish island of Mallorca, the two German-spec Macans we tested – both Macan S models with the optional, $2,750 air suspension – switched between aggressive and relaxed with ease. Aside from the Macan simply being too large for the roads (it will fit in perfectly on Ame...