Sports Utility Vehicles, or SUVs, are big business in the automotive world, and no one knows this better than Porsche. The sportscar specialist’s first ever such model, the Cayenne, has gone on to become the most popular and best-selling car in the company’s history, and now accounts for half of all Porsche sales worldwide.
Capitalising on the seemingly insatiable demand for such cars, Porsche now has a second SUV model in its range. The Macan sits just below the Cayenne in the Porsche line-up, and is a compact premium model that aims to broaden the brand’s appeal to a wider set of younger buyers, giving a new audience easier access to Porsche ownership.
That makes it a hugely important model in the Porsche lineup, which must be why, for its world debut at the 2013 Los Angeles Motor Show, the company saw fit to book an entire hall section just to launch it.
In Singapore, the Macan was given an equally glitzy introduction, with local distributors Stuttgart Auto booking the Singapore Indoor Stadium for its launch. Over 200 orders were said to have been received in the lead up to the event, and the first 20 owners were presented with their new cars to drive home on the day itself.
Clearly then, the Macan is a very big deal for Porsche. But purists must surely be wondering if it is, well, a real Porsche at all. Naturally, the German carmaker insists that the Macan is packed with the sporting essence and heritage that all Porsches carry, even going so far as to dub the car “the only sports car” in the compact premium SUV segment. Let’s see.
Porsche tends to indulge customers with the luxury of choice, and so is the Macan, with no less than four different variants. You start off with the Macan 2.0, which has a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that puts out 237bhp and 350Nm of torque; just enough power to handle daily urban sprawl without a fuss.
Moving upwards, the Macan S Diesel makes the most sense for drivers who cover long distances boasting a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel that churns out 258bhp and 580Nm of torque. Its key selling point is its excellent fuel efficiency, with a quoted average consumption of 6.3 litres per 100km, which is impressive for an SUV.
Top of the hierarchy are the Macan S and Macan Turbo models, the latter adorned with a storming 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that produces a whopping 400bhp and 550Nm of torque, enabling it to rocket from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds. But arguably the key model is the Macan S, which Porsche says has been the best-selling so far, due perhaps to having the best combination of performance and value.
The Macan S is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine, which churns out a handy 340bhp and 460Nm of torque. All Macans come with Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox as standard, which offers lightning-quick shifts. It’s not only useful for track work, if you’re so inclined, but also makes driving in urban traffic a much smoother experience, as noted by the absence of any awkward lurches and jerks while the transmission shifts through the gears.
Options such as the Sport Chrono package and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) system enhance the Macan’s driving performance even further, with the former offering a Sport Plus mode that sets the car up for a more focused driving experience by adjusting things like the throttle response and suspension settings to suit. As for the latter system, it works in tandem with the four-wheel-drive to vary the power distribution among the wheels for more cornering precision, and sharper behaviour through bends.
All the same, the Macan can also offer a decent ride that can cosset and satisfy even the fussiest of occupants. Select an option from the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, which comes standard in the Turbo, and you get greater adaptability in adjusting the damping force according to road condition.
In developing the Macan, Porsche has spared no effort to create a truly sporty compact premium SUV that not only serves to meet the needs of its demanding customers, but is also capable of rivalling the best in class in terms of performance and driving enjoyment. Yes, Porsche is threading into all-new territory with the Macan, but it is doing so with a car that undeniably embodies the Porsche DNA.
Stuttgart Auto is at 29 Leng Kee Road, Singapore, 159099. Tel: +65 6472 4433. www.porsche.com