By Richard Homan
There's plenty of play in the all-new 2015 Porsche Macan SUV, though it plays like a sports car rather than a stump-jumping SUV. Spirited by Porsche off of the Audi Q5 compact SUV – though the two will never be mistaken for one another – the Macan's personality owns a space best described as a luxury super-hatchback with all-wheel drive. Both 2015 Macan models – the 340-horsepower "S" and (especially) the 400-horsepower "Turbo" – get their inspiration from twin-turbocharged V6 engines matched like liquid to a 7-speed PDK automatic transmission. The Cayenne is still THE Porsche SUV, but there's a new 4-door Porsche sports car in town that can haul stuff, do light climbing, and look cool in the woods: the 2015 Porsche Macan.
If driving a Porsche 911 disguised as a front-engine compact SUV sounds like the message that you want to send to the world, the 2015 Porsche Macan delivers that message lithe, loud and clear.
The 2015 Porsche Macan is an all-new compact SUV – never been seen before on this planet and unprecedented for Porsche.
Driving Impressions High-performance valentine: Pair a Porsche-designed twin-turbocharged V6 (Macan S: 3.0-liter/340-horsepower, Macan Turbo: 3.6-liter/400-horsepower) with the 7-speed Porsche PDK automatic transmission. The PDK's "Sport" button ups the Macan's redline and shift...... points, adds more snap to the shifts, and puts more growl into the exhaust note. Fitted with electronically controlled all-wheel drive and 19-inch wheels, the new Macan takes to the track like a natural, despite weighing well over 4,000 pounds. The Porsche Active Suspension Management system (PASM) – standard on the Macan Turbo, optional on the S – further tightens up the suspension and the already-responsive electric steering for even sharper handling. There are few cars – and far fewer SUVs – that can waltz so cleanly into high-speed corners without a hint of unpredictability. On the open road, the Macan keeps luxury-car quiet while boasting a 5,291-pound towing capacity. The center-console-mounted "Off-Road" button varies shift points, all-wheel-drive torque distribution, and throttle response for optimal traction off the pavement.
80-PERCENT 911, 20-PERCENT CAYENNE, 100-PERCENT PORSCHE
In conversation, Porsche Style VP Michael Mauer insisted to us that the 2015 Macan SUV is not so much a baby brother to the Cayenne as it is a "big brother to the 911." One hot lap, one twisty road in a Macan is all the high-performance proof you need.
7-SPEED PDK AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
All the engine in the world won't help if your transmission can't keep up. The Porsche Macan's 7-speed dual-clutch automatic wastes no time, using the first clutch to engage the gear powering the Macan while the second clutch stands at the ready to instantaneously engage the next gear in line.
From the base S's piano-black trim and suede-like Alcantara seat inserts to the Turbo's leather-and-brushed-aluminum, every Macan interior pampers. The front seats engulf you. Big gauges tell the scores. The multifunction steering wheel – a nod to Porsche's 918 Spyder supercar – feels sports-car ready. The view out the windshield is IMAX wide, and it's easy to see rearward traffic as well. Second-row legroom is stingy, however. Beneath the wide-mouthed rear hatch, the flat, 17.7-cubic-foot cargo floor expands to 53 cubic feet by dropping the 40/20/40 split/folding 2nd-row seatbacks. That cargo space compares poorly to SUV competitors like the BMW X3 and Audi Q5.Exterior
Profiled down to look a bit like a 3/4-scale Cayenne, the 2015 Porsche Macan's smaller proportions take on a more hatchback character than a compact SUV. It's not snap-recognizable as a Porsche, either. Macan spotters will note that the round fog lights and a single row of character lights below the daylight-bright bi-xenon headlights signal the approach of a Macan S, while the Macan Turbo sports integrated fog lights and two strong horizontal blades integrated into the air intakes below the headlights.
Every 2015 Porsche Macan SUV comes out of the box looking for trouble with a twin-turbo V6, 7-speed PDK automatic transmission, 19-inch aluminum wheels, and dual twin tailpipes. Bi-xenon headlights give daylight-quality illumination, and a multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles ensures hands-on-the-wheel control. Also standard: dual-zone climate control and an automatic rear hatch. The Macan S features 8-way power-adjustable seats with Alcantara seat centers and piano black interior trim, while the Macan Turbo includes 18-way adjustable leather sport seats, 14-speaker Bose audio, an Alcantara roof liner, brushed-aluminum interior trim, and the added handling precision of Porsche Active Suspension Management.
Many of the more desirable Macan Turbo features are available as options. The absolute best of these includes a 16-speaker Burmester High-End Surround Sound audio system, a panoramic roof, adaptive cruise control, the 360-degree Surround View camera system – shows your Macan's position in space (or in a parking spot) from a birds-eye view – and a full set of safety-tech options (blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, etc.). For the hot-shoe Macan owner, Porsche offers cross-drilled ceramic-composite brakes, 21-inch wheels, the electronic cornering optimization of Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, and the integrated stopwatch and g-force display of the Sport Chrono Package.
Macan S models employ a 340-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 rolling out 339 lb-ft of torque. The real performance, however, comes from the Macan Turbo's 400-horsepower 3.6-liter. That twin-turbo V6 has an answer for everything, with 406 lb-ft of low-end thrust starting at 1,350 rpm and furious acceleration right up to its 6,700-rpm redline. Standard on both Macan models, Porsche's 7-speed PDK double-clutch automatic transmission delivers near-instant, seamless shifts. The transmission has to work a little to keep the 3.0-liter Macan S in full fly, but wastes no time getting the 3.6-liter Macan Turbo from zero to 60 mph in well under five seconds. The PDK's "Sport" button ups the Macan's redline and shift points, adds more snap to the shifts, and puts more growl into the exhaust note.
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
340 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
339 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V6
400 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 1,350-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price starting at about $51,000, the 2015 Porsche Macan S is virtually a starting-price-match for its bigger SUV stablemate, the Cayenne. Moving up to the 400-horsepower Macan Turbo calls for a big jump starting at around $73,300. The Macan compact SUV is both unique and Porsche, so any "competitors," like the exquisitely talented Audi SQ5, don't quite fit into any comparison set. To get a better idea of what folks in your area are paying for the all-new Porsche Macan, consult the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price. The 2015 Macan is a never-before-seen-or-sold Porsche, so its long-term resale value has not yet been established. If recent history tells us anything, however, it's that European luxury SUV resale prices trend dramatically downwards during the first five years of ownership.