2018 Porsche Macan Turbo Review: Sports Car On Stilts
– Los Angeles, California
Believe it or not, there are still people in this world who hate the idea of the Macan. “It’s not a real Porsche!” You’ve no doubt heard this before. But I’m telling you, the Macan is as much a proper Porsche as any other car in the company’s lineup. And it takes about 15 minutes behind the wheel to realize that.
That’s especially true with the range-topping Macan Turbo. A potent biturbo V6 offers tremendous power, and underneath that functional body, there’s a wonderful chassis, exquisitely tuned to make this one of the best-driving SUVs on the road today. As for this version, equipped with the Performance Pack... well, let’s just call it a Macan Turbo S. It’s an absolute gem.
Of course, it’s not perfect. As you’ll read in the sections below, the Macan’s performance and luxury come at a big cost. My gut tells me this car deserves at least a 9/10 rating, but in the context of all SUVs – even luxury ones – the Turbo’s incredible performance can’t completely make up for its high cost and low fuel economy.
Surprise, surprise: a not-cheap Porsche. Macan models start as low as $47,800, or $55,400 for the S, which are actually pretty competitive within the luxury crossover segment. But for the privilege of owning the Turbo, you need at least $77,200, and this Performance Pack car starts at $87,700.
That’s before you dig into the options sheet, of course. This nicely equipped Turbo adds carbon ceramic brakes ($8,150), Porsche’s Torque Vectoring Plus system ($1,490), Carmine Red paint ($3,120), and more. The final, as-tested price? $114,840, including $1,050 for destination and handling. Eek.
A lot of people say the Macan looks like a seven-eighths version of the Cayenne, but I have to ask, is that such a bad thing? I love the slope of the roofline, the chiseled front end, and the super clean rear (it looks even better with the badge delete option). This car has the $7,920 Turbo Exterior Package, which gets you these 21-inch wheels, LED headlights, black air intakes, a body-colored roof spoiler, black side blades, black sport exhaust tips, and more. An expensive kit, to be sure, and to be honest, the Macan Turbo looks just as great without it. Line this CUV up against a Mercedes GLC or Audi Q5, and to my eye, it’s the prettiest of the bunch.
I’ll admit, the sheer number of buttons on the Macan’s center stack is overwhelming at first blush, but live with the car for a week, and you get used to it. In fact, I enjoy the fact that there are physical buttons for everything – no car systems hidden in infotainment menus, everything clearly labeled. That aside, the Macan’s cabin uses a simple, easy-to-navigate layout, with a small gauge cluster, infotainment screen front and center, and only a few steering wheel-mounted controls.
It’s a nice place to spend time, too. Front seats are electronically adjustable in all directions, and side bolsters on the seat backs and bottoms can be positioned to your exact liking, as well. The seats themselves are super comfortable and supportive – you won’t suffer fatigue after hours of driving.
Unfortunately, the rear bench only offers okay amounts of head- and legroom, and cargo space tops out at just 53 cubic feet with the seats folded, which is on the smaller side of average. There are certainly roomier alternatives to be had in the premium CUV space.
The Macan’s infotainment system earns high marks for its high-resolution graphics and easy-to-use interface. Everything is clearly labeled and simple to navigate, with instantaneous response, and even features a proximity sensor that enlarges buttons as it notices your finger approaching. Plus, the optional Porsche Connect Plus system ($1,300) turns the car into a wifi hotspot. Porsche offers Apple CarPlay compatibility as standard, though Android Auto isn’t available.
The only demerit here is the relatively small screen size. Yes, there’s a secondary display on the right side of the gauge cluster, but in a time when 12-inch screens are quickly becoming the new norm for luxury cars, the Macan’s 7-inch center display looks decidedly small by comparison.
As you’d expect from any car with “Porsche” and “Turbo” in its name, this Macan is a superstar on the road. This Performance Pack model adds an extra 40 horsepower and 36 pound-feet of torque to the already potent Macan Turbo, for final output numbers of 440 hp and 442 lb-ft.
But it’s not just about numbers or straight-line speed (0-60 in 4.2 seconds, by the way). The Macan deserves high marks for its incredible balance and composure, even on winding roads. The steering is nicely weighted, with lots of great feedback. There’s little body roll while cornering. The ride quality is superb, even on these huge 21-inch wheels. I’d probably be just as happy driving a less expensive Macan GTS, but there’s no arguing that the Turbo is a standout performer amongst premium crossovers.
Macan Turbo models come standard with blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control, among other niceties. But it lacks any active collision prevention/mitigation technology or semi-autonomous features. Porsche will soon offer its new InnoDrive driver assistance tech on the 2018 Panamera and 2019 Cayenne, and it’ll hopefully make its way down to the Macan in the crossover’s next generation.
EPA ratings for the Macan Turbo come in at 17 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 19 combined, which, these days, are pretty low. Plus, if you’re like me, you’ll be digging into the throttle on a regular basis to get the most out of this really great-driving package – expect to see real-world fuel economy numbers in the high teens. And remember, the Macan only sips premium fuel, so there’s a slight cost penalty every time you visit the pump. A small price to pay for something that’s so sweet to drive.
Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com