Luxe

Porsche power

Dhiram Shah | Updated on April 25, 2019

The Macan S is responsive, quick and smart — and fun to drive

The Spanish island of Mallorca is the ideal holiday destination — sun-kissed beaches, historic sites, olive orchards, honey-coloured stone villas, and the classical ‘Mediterranean flair’ which leaves visitors in awe. I was here not to explore, but to test a car. I was here to drive the all new Porsche Macan on the island’s winding roads and open highways.

Porsche introduced the Macan in 2014 as a sportier version of the Cayenne SUV. Like its older sibling, it won the hearts of everyone and the company managed to sell a record 350,000 units in just four years thus making it the fastest selling Porsche ever. For 2019, the compact crossover gets a refresh — the wider grille gives it a much cleaner and leaner look. The revamped LED headlights with Porsche’s insignia four-point daytime running lights add to its oomph. While the side-profile remains practically unchanged, on the rear the refreshed Macan has Porsche’s full-width taillight design in which a LED light strip connects the two lamps together. Add the 21-inch wheels and you have a complete stunner, but my test car was beyond that. Coated in the new Miami blue shade, it glittered like the ocean.

Beyond basics

Though performance is key, the car does not compromise on comfort. The 2019 Macan can comfortably seat four; the back seat provides ample headroom and decent leg space. Stepping inside, the first thing that caught my eye was the massive 11-inch full-HD infotainment system which uses the same tile-based user interface found in the Panamera. Unfortunately, the plethora of buttons in the centre console remains and they add a touch of age to the otherwise modern cabin. Further tech upgrades include an ionizer, adaptive cruise control, voice commands and navigation with real-time traffic information. Instal the Porsche Connect phone app and you can monitor vehicle data, send navigation data and even lock or unlock the car from your mobile. The Porsche Connection management is fast, easy to understand and intuitive. I must say it is one of the better infotainment systems in the segment.

The base Macan is powered by a 2 litre, turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that makes 248 bhp and 273 nM of torque. My choice for the 168-km drive was the Macan S. It has a 3 litre V6 engine and produces 354 bhp and 480 nM of torque. The four-wheel drive goes from a standstill to 100 kmph in 5.1 seconds and has a top speed of 254 kmph.

Grows on you

The Macan is comfortable and easy to drive. In the city and the countryside, I kept the drive selector in ‘Comfort Mode’. The gear changes were smooth, the suspension soft and the exhaust was toned down. The cabin was quiet and the ride pleasant. The engine is so well insulated from the cabin that even when cruising at 70 kmph it hardly produced any noise.

 

The steering is nicely-weighted and offers a feel of being connected to the car, something that is rare in modern SUVs. On the ridiculously narrow lanes of Majorca, which are best suited for compact cars such as the Fiat 500, I was able to navigate the Macan with ease.

Reaching the highway, it was time to take things up a notch. The Macan comes to life in the sport, or rather the sport plus mode. In an instant. the air suspension stiffens, the steering becomes heavier, the exhaust louder, and as the car readies to charge ahead, it drops a gear or two. The vehicle beautifully carries its weight around, with negligible body roll even when getting in and out of sharp corners. The car slowly grows on you and soon you want to push the Macan harder and harder into each bend. For that extra fun, you can make use of the Sport Response button — it puts the engine and transmission on overdrive for 20 seconds to deliver rapid thrust.

I must hand it to Porsche for the PDK gearbox. The seven-speed on the Macan is extremely responsive, quick and smart. It learns how you drive and adapts to the gear you want to be in at the time. For 2019, the PDK gets the ‘coasting mode’ in which the transmission shifts into neutral when acceleration is not required. It’s just brilliant engineering. Be it the city, village or highway, the Macan S is incredibly fun to drive. I loved the instant acceleration; it was linear and with minimal turbo lag. The brakes are powerful and keep things controlled and predictable.

In a nutshell, the 2019 Macan S is a compact SUV which is infused with everything we love Porsche for. You get a well-tuned engine, responsive steering, a brilliant gearbox, crisp handling and rock solid build quality. What Porsche has missed is removing the button-heavy interior layout and including support for Android Auto.

Dhiram Shah is the founder of LuxuryLaunches.com

Published on April 25, 2019

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