2017 Porsche Macan GTS First Review

By James Tate on November 30, 2015 11:56 AM

In building the 2017 Porsche Macan GTS, the German automaker hasn't altered the essential "sports car among SUV's" message of either of the other two Macans -- it's simply bolstered the claim here. Positioned between the Macan S and the top-tier Turbo, the GTS does more than just bridge the gap. From outside, the (even more) performance-oriented mentality of the Macan GTS is fairly obvious, with a redesigned front fascia and matte black elements peppered around the body. These black -- sorry, Black Silk Gloss -- elements go beyond the usual intake ducts and side mirrors to include parts like the headlamp clusters and wheels. The taillights, while not completely black, are darkened as well.

Inside, the "let's kick this up a notch" sportiness continues, with prodigious -- and requisite -- use of Alcantara and red accents like the stitching and, optionally, tachometer. As you can safely expect of any modern Porsche, the overall quality of the interior is top notch. It looks, feels, and works great - even the touchscreen and its software. For perhaps the first time ever, we can comfortably say that a car is being shipped with a user interface that isn't horrendously outdated when compared to the phone in your pocket. The touchscreen is quick and smooth to use, and it understands modern inputs like pinch-to-zoom and handwriting (fingerwriting?). Like the iPad you surely know so well, it provides oh-so-satisfying "clicks" of feedback as you tap around.

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More power, better torque

Getting back to what gives the Macan its GTS designation, Porsche thankfully doesn't consider sportiness an entirely aesthetic trait. Under the hood, there's a version of the Macan's 3.0-liter V6 engine that's been massaged to produce an extra 20 horsepower, up to a total of 360 hp at 6,000 rpm. Better still, torque has been cranked up from 339 to 369 lb-ft, all of which is available anywhere between 1,650 and 4,000 rpm. Aside from that, the GTS shares its drivetrain with the Macan S and Turbo. That's to say it has a fantastically responsive 7-speed PDK transmission, an electro-hydraulically actuated center clutch to send power to the front wheels when needed and a locking rear differential.

Porsche claims that when equipped with the Sport Chrono package, this setup is good for 4.8-second romps to 60 mph -- a solid 0.2 seconds quicker than a similarly-spec'd Macan S. We believe it -- the power delivery of this engine is tremendous, particularly with the car set in Sport Plus mode. It's always on tap; ready to deliver seamless boost on demand.

The suspension feels perfectly judged, too. The narrow roads that weave through endless banana plantations here on Tenerife are better suited for a go-kart than a more-than-two-ton SUV, but the fact that the Macan refuses to break a sweat says that much more about the tune. The U.S. model will feature air suspension as standard (Euro models can be had with coil springs), which lowers the GTS 10 millimeters relative to the range-topping Macan Turbo.

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Sharp steering

Push the slightest intent into the steering wheel and the Macan darts onto your intended line, offering a necessary level of exactness for keeping pace on roads like these. It sometimes feels as though the ratio could be quicker, but it's likely nothing you'd ever feel on normal-width American roads. And we could of course complain that the electric power steering doesn't offer the feedback of its hydraulic forebears, but EPS is here to stay, and as these systems go, this is a good one.

Like the other Macans, the GTS does a great job pleasing two opposite polarities in the automotive world -- sportiness and utility. You'll probably want this one if you're a sports car guy at heart who tends to resist advances from SUVs. Given the price, we're glad it's as good as it is. Starting at $67,200, it sits surprisingly close to the Macan Turbo. On the plus side, Porsche will be (somewhat) limiting its frustratingly long options list to include items like air suspension as standard equipment. So the final price after checking all those options boxes may not be quite as terrifying as usual for the brand. For a luxury SUV that genuinely imparts a sense of driving pleasure, it'll be worth every penny. The 2017 Porsche Macan GTS hits showrooms next March.

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