The Porsche Macan is going electric. But not yet. That’s the future. A future filled with charging ports and range estimates. Right now the Macan still runs on gasoline, and for 2022, the compact crosser receives a bit of an upgrade.
Porsche is taking a wildly successful formula and tossing in more power and a tweaked design to make sure its entry-level SUV continues to reside in our collective consciousness like a catchy song or SNL catchphrase. It’s a club remix of an old favorite and I’m happy to report that it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.
Launched in 2014, the Macan is the cheapest (err, least expensive) and best-selling Porsche available. The two-row SUV throws Porsche’s engineering prowess into a larger package in a way that has delighted buyers for years with handling that is potentially conjured by a wizard who defies the laws of physics.
For 2022, the sportier Macan S continues to impress with its backroad gymnastics while receiving a bump in power, a new front end, and a redesigned center console. Design-wise, you likely won’t notice the difference unless you place the 2022 and 2021 models next to each other. Inside the new one, there’s a much cleaner layout around the shifter, while under the hood, the entire lineup gets a noticeable jump in power and that’s what keeps the Porsche faithful who need to transport more than one person coming back.
The Same But More
It might seem like the extra 13 horsepower and 22 pound-feet of torque (resulting in 261 horsepower and 295 pound-feet) that’s come to the base model Macan would make it the one to get. It’s lighter thanks to the smaller four-cylinder engine and that nearly 300 pound-feet of torque is nothing to sneeze at.
After spending time on the mountain roads above Malibu, California, in the base-level Macan, and then stepping into the Macan S to drive those exact same roads, the S is where this SUV shines. The 2022 S receives the 2021 Macan GTS’ twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 generating 375 horsepower and 383 pound-feet or torque. According to Porsche, it’ll sprint from zero to 60 in 4.4 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package.
The Macan S makes blasting out of hairpins a delight.
The suspension also benefits from the addition of the now-standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system. Around town and stuck in traffic, the Macan S is calm and collected in Normal mode,suitable for those who are more interested in a smooth ride than, well, fun. Sport and Sport Plus modes tighten up the suspension accordingly for when you’re able to escape the rigors of city or suburbs.
As a cohesive unit, the Macan S can transform from a well-behaved urban family shuttle, ready for trips to the local big-box store to pick up a case of toilet paper and an industrial-sized box of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, into an SUV ready to take on your local backroads. Regardless of your driving plans for the day, the Macan S is happy to oblige.
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On those actual mountain roads, the Macan S makes blasting out of hairpins a delight. Linking corners is a breeze and the engine, suspension, and seven-speed PDK transmission combo create an SUV driving experience that should make Porsche fans that need the extra room of an SUV very happy. Sure you can use the paddle shifters, but on 80 percent of the corners I encountered, the PDK transmission was in the correct gear for spirited driving.
A Brand Newish Face
If you thought the giant black grill made the Macan look a bit too much like a deranged Cheshire Cat, you’ll be relieved to know that some of the grille trim was painted to match the rest of the vehicle and breaks up that gaping black hole. Instead, those painted parts highlight the rather large air vents below the headlights. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I would like to see more radiator on my SUV,” Porsche is happy to show you a whole lot of radiator.
At the bottom of the grille and along the side blades (the black trim bits at the bottom of the doors) of the vehicle are new raised 3D elements with a diamond-like pattern that add a bit of texture. They break up the flat design but don’t look gimmicky. Those are joined by larger standard 20-inch wheels instead of the 19-inch wheels available on the current Macan S. The Macan we drove was rolling on optional 21-inch GT design wheels in high gloss black.
Welcome Changes Inside
The addition of haptic feedback to the slightly redesigned center console is a welcome feature that gives you a tangible confirmation that you’ve actually initiated a feature. Designers also shortened the gear lever, which means you can see a few more features on the other side of it (mostly passenger-side climate controls).
The 10.9-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash is pretty much the same as before, which also means it’s not home to the latest version of PCM (version 6.0) that’s being rolled out in the Panamera, 911, and Cayenne this summer. That updated version of the Porsche infotainment system will finally support Android Auto. But for now, the Macan smartphone experience is an Apple-only affair.
Fans of analog watches will be happy to know the old-school clock is now standard on all trim levels. Who doesn’t love a watch with a second hand reminding you that every moment is fleeting?
The Cost of Thrills
As mentioned, the 2022 Macan is still the least expensive Porsche, starting at $56,250 (including a $1,350 destination charge). For the extra power and fun of the Macan S, the cost jumps over $10,000 to $66,750 (also not including the $1,350 destination charge).
Of course the pricing pile up continues as you add more and more options to the vehicle. After all is said and done, the Macan S we tested came in at a whopping $103,600, which is essentially the options equivalent of buying a second car. Automakers will typically share the best of the best with journalists so that we have the opportunity to try out all the available options. But nearly $40,000 in extras is a reminder that once you start adding comfort and performance items to a Porsche, even the least expensive one, the take-home price is likely to skyrocket beyond your initial budget.
Appetizer to a New Era
Die-hards might still scoff at the idea of an SUV Porsche, but they’re likely still angry they can’t get an air-cooled 911 out of Stuttgart. Meanwhile, for those looking for room for additional passengers, storage space, and a higher riding position, the Macan S fulfills those needs while injecting the experience with Porsche DNA. The latest update, while not huge, does add what fans of the automaker desire: power combined with amazing handling.
Yet it’s also the last time we’ll see an updated Macan lineup from Porsche that doesn’t include an EV. The company has stated that a Macan powered by tiny bolts of lightning will arrive in 2023, have more range than the Taycan, and be built on a dedicated electric PPE platform separate from the gas-powered versions.
How well that vehicle sells will determine how long the gas-powered Macan will stick around. Although it’s hard to imagine Porsche discontinuing the gas-powered Macan anytime in the near future. The Macan as it is right now makes entirely too much money to shuffle quietly off into the night. Then again, the Taycan is out-selling the 911, so stranger things have happened.
For now, though, the Macan S with its power boost, upgraded suspension, and slight design tweaks – both inside and out – will likely continue to dominate the sales chart in Stuttgart. It does so while maintaining the integrity of the Porsche lineup by delivering best-in-class handling combined, a new, more powerful engine, and the ability to behave itself in town. It’s the dance partner that’s ready to waltz and tango, which means an EV version is going to have to improve on the entire package in order for current and future buyers to allow a battery pack to cut in.
Gallery: 2022 Porsche Macan S: First Drive
2022 Porsche Macan S