By Khulekani Dumisa
The updated Porsche Macan has landed in South Africa and Porsche SA has a few tricks up its sleeve with it. Before we get there, let’s spend a few moments on the Macan story. The Macan is the second Porsche SUV after the Cayenne – the best-selling Porche of all time, having sold over 400,000 units since launch in 2014. The Macan has been updated and two models will be offered in South Africa initially – the entry level Macan (185 kW) and Macan S (260 kW). We drove the “entry level” Macan and we were impressed.
The front end of the new Macan appears wider due to the more vertical lines of the side air intakes. The headlights have also been completely redesigned and now come standard in LED. In daylight, the sculptural interior of the headlights in the three-dimensional light modules makes the Macan stand out. The luxury compact SUV features three-dimensional LED light panel on the rear of the vehicle. The brake lights with their four-point design also play their part to set the Macan apart from any Porsche model. The tailpipes of the exhaust system have been integrated in the rear apron, giving the Macan a design that rounds off in the downward direction.
The most eye-catching new features in the interior are the 10.9-inch (increased in size from 7.2) touchscreen of the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM), the newly arranged and designed air vents and the optional GT sports steering wheel familiar from the 911. The PCM provides access to new digital functions such as intelligent voice control and the standard online navigation. Apple CarPlay is also available. The introduction of the new infotainment screen has not made things unnecessarily cluttered as the number of buttons in the display area have been reduced. The air vents have been upgraded with metal trim elements and are now integrated horizontally in the centre console under the new PCM. This makes the dashboard appear wider and flatter.
The Macan appears roomy and classy inside. Passenger space is plenty upfront and at the back. The choice of materials used also give the interior an undeniably premium and Porsche feel.
Two engine versions will be available at the market launch. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be available on the Macan. This unit produces 180 kW (increase of 10 kW) of power and delivers a maximum torque of 370 Nm. The Macan S is powered by a new 3.0-litre V6 engine with power output of 260 kW and torque of 480 Nm. The acceleration time of the Macan S from standstill to 100 km/h is reduced by 0.1 second to 5.1 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, the top speed is reached at 254 km/h. On the other hand, the Macan accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 225 km/h.
At launch we only had the opportunity to sample the 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and we were pleasantly surprised. It’s no secret that the engine is from within the Volkswagen group but it has been tuned to give satisfaction that is fitting of any Porsche model. The test route included town and highway driving, and some mountain passes with tricky corners. The Macan was up for all of it. In the city, the ride was comfortable with gentle but responsive acceleration. Actually if things got out of hand from a traffic point of view, we would have deferred to the new Traffic Jam Assist which uses adaptive cruise control to allow more relaxed driving at speeds of up to 65 km/h. The new system keeps the Macan in lane by targeted steering interventions. This was not necessary however and once we were done negotiating our way through city traffic, out of town driving proved to be exciting with the Macan getting to good speeds pretty quickly and seamlessly. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (PDK) and the PTM all-wheel drive are proved to be perfectly matched to the new engine and made the drive even more fascinating. The best was the car’s performance in what would typically be sport car domain, i.e. tight twisties. The Macan, an SUV if we must remind you, executed the challenging corners neatly and left us wanting more.
The best story about the new Macan is the compelling starting price of R849,900. This puts the Macan within reach for most buyers and takes the fight to the dominant German players (not forgetting the Swede (XC60) which clinched World Car of the Year in 2018 and the Brit (Range Rover Velar) which clinched Word Car Design of the Year, also in 2018). Not only does the price make the Macan competitive but it offers the buyers a lot as Porsche has eliminated the number of boxes to tick in terms of extras. Over to you, compact premium SUV buyer!
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