- Hot accel numbers
- Cayenne-like spec sheet
- PDK all the way
- Excellent interior space and utility
- A supreme all-arounder
- Pricing is stiff, venturing into painful
- "Five-seater" is really four
- PDK-only, if that offends you
The 2015 Porsche Macan swings for the crossover fences, with Cayenne performance in a more tidy, somewhat more cost-effective package.
Porsche's no longer just a sports-car maker. The Cayenne's a huge part of the Porsche footprint--and now, the compact crossover SUV by the name of Macan looks to be Porsche's most successful model ever.
The Macan is loosely based on the Audi Q5. It's a compact crossover that seats five, and comes with standard all-wheel drive. With a choice of turbocharged six-cylinder engines, the Macan uses some of the same performance hardware that upconverts the Cayenne from a family wagon to a serious sport machine, with some off-road diversions tossed in for good measure.
The promise: Porsche levels of power output, cornering forces, and handling excellence, all in a compact wagon body that instantly telegraphs its Porsche identity from the outside, too.
2015 Porsche Macan styling
If you're familiar with the Cayenne, the Macan's styling offers few surprises. It's a tall-roof, short-wheelbase evolution of the bigger ute's themes, with the usual massive set of front-end intakes and strakes and compound headlamps. At its side, the Macan shows a quicker slope to its rear roof pillar--all the better to avoid Q5 comparisons and to call up 911 ones instead. The rear end's simple and spare, with LED taillamps barely intruding on the wraparound tailgate.
Spotters can pick out body-color brackets on the front air intakes on the Macan Turbo, and gray-metallic ones on the Macan S, unless they've been replaced with optional carbon-fiber inserts. It's easier at the rear, where the Macan S has four round exhaust outlets, and the Turbo four squared-off tips.
In the cabin, the Macan sports a rather lovely and plainly organized dash smothered Porsche-style in a heavy coat of buttons and switches. The center console intersects the dash just below a big, bright LCD screen and associated controls; the console itself flanks the shift lever with at least a dozen buttons on either side. Inside the gauge display, a trio of dials hosts the tach, the speedo, and on the right, a high-resolution display for navigation, audio, phone, and secondary systems. Finishes like piano-black or carbon-fiber or dark walnut trim, and Alcantara inserts for the seats, are on the relentless list of pay-up touches that can make a Macan order like an expensive trip through the Sears Christmas catalog (is that still a thing?).
2015 Porsche Macan performance
Porsche outfits its first Macan SUVs with twin-turbo six-cylinders, but those will be badged Macan S and Macan Turbo. Left unsaid for now: a base Macan that's expected to come later in the life span, and to come outfitted with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
The Macan S is the base spec for now, and it's powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 with 340 horsepower. Power's channeled to all four wheels--with the rear wheels always delivering some of it--through Porsche's dual-clutch PDK transmission. (Need a little German to get by? PDK is "Porschedoppelkupplungssgetriebe.") Porsche pegs this version at a swift 5.2 seconds in 0-60 mph runs, with a top speed of 156 mph.
A Sport function lifts redline and shift points, but to truly advance the argument, the Macan can be fitted with an optional Sport Chrono package. With quicker shifts and more advanced throttle programming, it drops the acceleration time to 5.0 seconds and adds its own stopwatch gauge as well as a launch-control mode.
Both Macans have stop/start as well as electric power steering, for more efficient operation. Porsche hasn't released any fuel-economy estimates.
As it's done with the Cayenne, Porsche has set up the Macan's all-wheel-drive system to keep performance a priority. Porsche Traction Management (PTM) sends torque to the rear wheels at all times, and varies its torque split back to front, with the capability to send all of it to the fronts. With the optional torque-vectoring system, the rear wheels get varying levels of torque depending on detected wheelspin, via an electronically controlled locking differential across the rear axle.
There's also an off-road mode, which changes the shift behavior and torque distribution for higher-obstacle driving at speeds of up to 50 mph. Hill descent control is available between 2 and 18 mph. The Macan has 7.8 inches of ground clearance, which rises to just over 9 inches with the optional air suspension.
That air suspension leads the most technologically intensive Macans in their quest for roadholding. The standard Macan has a five-link independent suspension front and rear, while a mid-level setup (standard on the Turbo) adds electronically-controlled adaptive dampers with three-mode operation--the usual Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ modes. On top versions with the optional air suspension, ride height is lowered by 0.59 inches when in low mode, also triggered by a switch to Sport+, and raised 1.58 inches in its highest off-road mode. There's even a luggage-loading mode that drops the rear end almost two inches.
All Macans ride on standard 19-inch, 55-series tires, and sport six-piston front brake calipers. Wheels can be sized up to 21 inches, or downsized to an 18-inch lightweight design.
We've driven the Macan S extensively on and off road, and have found that it acquits itself just fine on all those surfaces. But it's the Turbo that truly feels worthy of the Porsche name. The Macan Turbo pumps up displacement to 3.6 liters; its V-6 can launch to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, or 4.4 seconds with Sport Chrono. Top speed is 164 mph.
If any SUV could be called unflappable, the Porsche Macan Turbo can. It flows like mercury; it blows by sluggish autobahn traffic in vast, Amtrak-sized chunks with a part-throttle foot on it. It's almost impossible to get the Macan Turbo flustered. It even has an off-road driving mode. It's a supreme all-arounder.
2015 Porsche Macan seating and utility
Riding on a wheelbase of 110.5 inches and about 185 inches long overall, the Macan hosts five passengers in Porsche-class accommodations. In front, that means eight-way power front seats, standard leather upholstery, and an option for 18-way front seats in the Macan S (they're standard on the Turbo). The front seats are also heated, and can be ventilated.
Porsche says the driving environment puts all the critical controls into key groups on that busy center console, and in practice we've found it works better than the touchscreen interfaces embedding themselves in other luxury wagons--so long as you know where the correct switch lives. Newbie nota bene: The key goes to the left of the steering wheel.
The Macan's rear bench splits so that a slim middle section folds independently to create an armrest. All three sections fold down to expand the cargo space and to render the Macan a two-seater, in true Porsche style. With the rear seat up, there's 17.7 cubic feet of space; seats folded, it's 53 cubic feet.
2015 Porsche Macan safety and features
Since it's brand-new, the Macan has no crash-test data, but it does have the expected safety features and options. Alongside airbags, stability control, and standard all-wheel drive, it also gets Bluetooth and a rearview camera. On the options list are lane-keeping alerts, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control--and a panoramic glass roof.
Along with power features, a power tailgate, and 19-inch wheels, the Macan comes standard with an 11-speaker audio system with a USB port and a 7-inch touchscreen display. Option one is a 14-speaker, 545-watt Bose audio system--while the spendy versions get a Burmester setup with 1000 watts and 16 speakers.
A navigation system with a music hard drive is an option on the Macan S, and standard on the Macan Turbo. It's integrated with an infotainment system that accesses web feeds and Internet streams through the Aha Radio app. Finally, the Macan mates up with Porsche Car Connect, a mobile app that enables remote unlocking, vehicle location tracking, and other data.
Base prices start from $50,295, but by our gauge, you'll want to spend at least $62,000 to get the equipment you really want. A Macan Turbo starts from just over $73,000; with competitive features, it's $81,000. It's not that difficult to blow past $100,000 when ordering a Macan Turbo, either. A little restraint may be the only thing left off the options list.