“I love the way the Macan looks, the interior is wonderful and the handling can be very sporty if the buyer chooses.”

When the Porsche Cayenne was introduced, I questioned why the iconic sports car maker would build a grocery-getting SUV.

Boy, was I ever wrong. Porsche was not only successful introduced the Cayenne, it went into become its best-selling vehicle and – wait for it – I even bought one! So, with the latest introduction of a smaller SUV called Macan, there is less fanfare around the fact that it actually exists and more excitement about how it performs.

The bigger question is, with so many small luxury SUVs entering the market, is the Macan worth the $54,300 to get a base model or $82,200 for the turbo?

Looks

The Macan uses same platform as the Audi Q5, a Volkswagen Group sibling, but features an entirely different body shell and engine options. The most striking design element is the wide hood that folds over the side of the front fenders, making a seamless, wide stance that is impressive. The hood actually has cutouts for the headlamps and weighs only 17kg. “Side Blades” decorate the lower body of the Macan and can be ordered in black, a matching body colour or carbon fibre. The back end of the Macan is particularly sleek and tidy, the taillights wrap around from the side and into the tailgate with precession. It’s the lack of a trunk release that makes the design so pleasing. Instead, a small button on the base of the windshield wiper that electronically releases the power tailgate. Below the tailgate four exhaust tips tell passersby that this is a powerful machine.

Inside

What the Macan has over the Q5 is a level of interior refinement that is almost unmatched in the car business. It’s finished with fine leather and a simple design that makes interacting with his SUV a joy. There are several drawbacks though. The cargo area is long but the rake of the rear window limits taking larger objects inside the car. The back seat I find too small for a family of four people. Since I own a Cayenne, I have a great perspective on the amount of room this Macan offers. Legroom is obviously tighter, headroom is just okay, it is the lack of space side-to-side that I find limiting. The Cayenne is a perfect family choice, the Macan I believe is suited for a single person or active professional couple. Not to say it couldn’t be use for family duty, it just wouldn’t be my choice.

Drive

The launch of the Macan in California provided a route that carved through the mountains outside of Los Angeles on the way to Willow Springs racetrack. Porsche always holds its events at a racecourse, proof that they believe they have something in this new SUV. There might be some confusion surrounding the naming of this car. Both the Macan S and Macan Turbo both come fitted with a V6 turbo. The base model is a 3.0L V6 with 340hp. The “Turbo” gets a larger 3.6L V6 with a higher output turbocharger and is rated at 400hp. The base model would be my choice. Driving in back country roads the power was fantastic and the additional money could be spent upgrading the suspension from the base steel springs to steel with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) that allows the driver to set the firmness of the ride. This upgrade was noticeable on the track. The turbo comes standard with this setup but the added power and expense was only really noticeable when the Macan was pushed very hard around the racetrack. For regular commuting the S is just fine.

Verdict

I love the way the Macan looks, the interior is wonderful and the handling can be very sporty if the buyer chooses. Here is the issue; the Macan can get very expensive in a hurry. All of the cars I drove in California were over $100,000 with features like PASM, additional air suspension and sport-chrono settings for the 7-speed duel clutch automatic. When I configure a base S with the features I would want like navigation, PASM, front and rear parking sensors, bigger wheels, Bose stereo and a few other odds and ends, comes to almost $75,000, never mind the $82,200 starting price of the turbo.

Having recently driven the spectacular Audi SQ5, from which this car is based, that 354hp rocket is a bargain at $60,000, almost fully equipped. I like the Macan, and they will sell every one to people who want to have the latest, but I think the pricing structure is a bit over the top.

Contact: zack [dot] spencer [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

The Lowdown

Power: 3.0L Turbo V6 with 340 or 3.6L Turbo V6 with 400hp

Fill-up: N/A

Sticker price: $54,300-$82,200

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