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2019 Porsche Macan 2.0 review: still the driver’s choice

Porsche Macan review

The Macan is Porsche’s SUV breadwinner. It’s the car that makes 9,000rpm-revving manual 911 GT3s financially possible for the marque. 

Although some enthusiasts lamented its arrival, the cashflow the Macan generates means the cars they really love continue to get better. Indeed, the Macan triples the sales numbers of the 911.

The Macan also brought much of what makes Porsche so revered to a new customer base. We’re not talking scintillating sports car dynamics or spine-tingling engines, but a Porsche-specific design aesthetic, a high level of quality and Germanic common sense.

All that being so, the Macan was not alone in offering these traits. The Audi Q5 and Volkswagen Tiguan provide premium build quality at a more accessible price-point. The Range Rover Evoque has style previously reserved for those with the keys to a ‘proper’ Range Rover.

Yet while sporting dynamics weren’t front-and-centre to the Macan’s appeal in the context of the Porsche range, they were still class-leading among rivals.

Porsche Macan review

That was all nearly five years ago, and the car industry moves on quickly. There’s a new Evoque, Q5 and sporting rivals in the form of Jaguar’s E-Pace and F-Pace. What has Porsche done to keep the Macan relevant in this competitive segment? It’s facelift time…

The biggest change is under the skin. A new 245hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine joins the bottom of the line-up, taking the place of the old diesels. There is no oil-burning option this time around.

A more powerful 354hp 3.0-litre V6 turbo heads the range for now in the Macan S. All cars come with Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch transmission. A Turbo, GTS and Turbo S will be along soon, with the latter potentially sporting up to 500hp.

For now, the Macan and Macan S are all we’ve got, priced at £46,344 and £48,750 respectively, although it’s not difficult to imagine those starting prices swelling with a dusting of options. They could increase by 10 percent in the event of a no-deal Brexit, too.

2019 Porsche Macan: first impressions

Porsche Macan review

Even the staunchest of SUV detractors can’t deny the Macan is a bit of a looker. It was certainly much better received than the larger Cayenne when that first came out.

Then again, Porsche did play it safe, with a familiar face, swooping proportions, pleasing hips and a bulbous backside. All hallmarks of other – more conventionally desirable – cars it’s better known for.

The facelift goes some way to emboldening the Macan and we’re really quite fond of it. The focus of this mid-life nip-and-tuck was definitely the rear, with a width-spanning light bar bringing the Macan into line with Porsche’s new family design. The bar fills dark spaces when you unlock it at night, luminous like a lightsaber.

It’s really rather lovely in person. The Porsche lettering standing bold in the 3D light cutout is a nice touch. The front is a bit sharper, but you’d need old and new cars side-by-side to spot the difference.

Our car came with 20-inch Turbo wheels (£2,576), sports exhaust tips (£548), LED headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (£767) and Dolomite Silver paint (£632). That’s more than £4,000 of exterior upgrades alone.

Inside the 2019 Porsche Macan

Porsche Macan review

Onto the Macan’s cabin and it’s good news for the most part. An 11-inch screen replaces the old seven-inch unit. It comes complete with excellent resolution, superb touch sensitivity and response, plus a user interface we couldn’t find fault with. The vents that used to flank the smaller screen in the pre-facelift car are now beneath it, to lend those extra inches.

Otherwise, it’s pretty much standard Macan fare, which is where our concerns begin. See, when the car came out, it was pretty much the final Porsche with the 2009 Panamera-style button fest on the centre console.

A lot of that is retained on this updated car and, teamed with the now somewhat old-school analogue dials, it serves to date the cabin from the off. This is discernibly a mid-life refresh, not to 2019 standard in the same way the brand new 992 911’s cabin is – or indeed the current Panamera.

In fairness, the Macan’s instrument cluster features part-digitisation in the form of a screen in one of the ‘pods’. It’s an easily configurable and welcome companion to the big screen, with a pleasing aesthetic. But it’s quite obviously a vestige of the previous-generation car.

Porsche Macan review

Practicality could be better, too. While front occupants should be fine (with their standard eight-way electrically adjustable seats, no less), rear passengers could find themselves a little cramped. This is absolutely fine if you want a car for your nuclear family – kids will be comfy in the back – but average-sized adults will struggle for headroom due to that sloping roofline.

The boot is far from class-leading in terms of space, but 500 litres is enough for a week’s shopping or a couple of suitcases. The opening is a little high up, although the optional (£1,860) air suspension can go some way to remedy this. An electrically powered tailgate is, pleasingly, also standard. Even in the world of posh crossovers, you don’t buy the Porsche for its load-lugging capacity or ability to carry five fully-grown adults with ease.

We fear we’re being a little harsh. There’s a lot to praise and as great as it ever was. It all feels absolutely solid, starting with the ‘thunk’ as you shut the door. The quality is second to very few rivals, if any, and there’s a real sense that everything’s been meticulously thought through.

2019 Porsche Macan: on the road 

Porsche Macan review

Let’s get this out of the way now. A fire-spitting 911 GT3, this is not. But nor does it need to be: this is the people’s Porsche. Nevertheless, a level of expectation in terms of the dynamics comes with the badge. Pleasingly, it acquits itself very well and keeps the rest of the class honest.

We first observed a surprisingly compliant ride, thanks in no small part to the comparatively small wheels. Comfort doesn’t come at the expense of cornering, though. The Macan feels wieldy for an SUV, with a remarkable lack of lean. It’s not shot-through with feel and it will push on if you’re bullish, but it’s nicely balanced.

The elephant in the room is the engine. It’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit with 245hp, going to ground via a seven-speed PDK transmission. It’ll get you from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 141mph.

Porsche Macan Review

Those are good numbers for a crossover, but it doesn’t feel that fast. Put your foot down on a run and it’ll dispatch a few downshifts with ease, but the four-pot sounds uncomfortable as the car ekes out every last rev to muster up performance. Indeed, peak power comes in at 5,000rpm, so you’re well and truly spinning it up before you get everything it has to give.

It’s not like losing a litre and a couple of cylinders does the economy any good either. Porsche quotes 34mpg, but we struggled to top 30mpg when not being extra careful. We’d go for the Macan S with the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 – 354hp from six cylinders sounds much more like it, much more Porsche.

None of this will matter in a couple of years when the second-generation Macan comes with all electric power, of course. We’re rather looking forward to it.

2019 Porsche Macan verdict: 4 stars

Porsche Macan review

The Macan is, by virtue of its badge, subject to judgement by lofty standards.

The cabin is a very nice, generously equipped and well put-together. The performance is ample for the average SUV buyer. Yes, we’d take the V6, but it’s down to personal taste. The four-pot just felt a bit too far out of character.

As for the practicality, well, you don’t buy a Macan for class-leading boot depth, you buy it because it’s a Porsche. It’s an SUV-shaped taste of a marque so adored by many, which exhibits the style and quality, if not the purity, that the badge promises. We fully understand why they sell as well as they do.

For all its little flaws, it’s still a great car. Nevertheless, that all-new electric successor on the horizon is a bit too close for comfort. We couldn’t whole-heartedly recommend the updated Macan, based on the fact an all-new model will be out while you still have a year left on the PCP contract.

Porsche Macan review

If we were to buy one, we’d save up for the rumoured Turbo S that will see off the combustion-powered Macan. If horsepower isn’t your tonic, perhaps holding on a year for some run-out deals would be a good idea.

Five 2019 Porsche Macan rivals

Range Rover Evoque

Audi Q5

Mercedes-Benz GLC

Jaguar F-Pace

BMW X4

How much did our test car cost?

Porsche Macan 2.0: £56,977 (£46,344 without options)

Which engines does Porsche offer with the Macan?

2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder, 245hp

3.0-litre turbo V6, 354hp

Magnitude Finance's Tim Marlow

Porsche Macan – the car that MAKES you money

Magnitude Finance's Tim MarlowA Porsche Macan bought two years ago for £43,300 is now worth more than £55,000 – that’s a 25% return on investment for the pleasure of driving a Porsche.

The figures have been revealed by specialist car finance firm Magnitude Finance, which has already funded £1 million worth of Macans with owners keen to be the first to drive them in the UK.

> More car news on MR

Some were so impressed with the car, they immediately ordered another one – meaning the 25% return on investment will be doubled to potentially £25,000 or more…

Head of sales at Magnitude Finance, Tim Marlow, said the situation is all down to brilliant timing on Porsche’s part. “Its biggest competitor was the Range Rover Evoque but that was three years old when the Macan was released, so people were keen for a change.

“Those who financed the car are now in an enviable position having benefited from historically low interest rates of 0.5% and significant appreciation.”

Because owners now have significant equity in their Macan, “the appreciation means, in effect, they’ve had two years of not just free but profitable motoring.

“For a car valued at just under £44,000 when new, that is an incredible scenario for owners – such appreciation is usually the preserve of supercars that people think will be future classics.”

And what are owners doing now with all the money they’ve made from their Macan? Well, many of them are not simply cashing it in, but making it work smartly for them: before supply begins to meet demand, they’re using the positive equity for cars at a higher price point than they’d previously been able to afford – in effect, it’s giving them a free upgrade.

From Macan to Cayenne, for free. How the other half lives, huh?

Buy a Porsche Macan, get a Cayman (for a bit)

Porsche Macan 001Porsche can’t build enough Macans right now, so has come up with a neat idea to keep prospective customers happy – give them a Cayman or Boxster instead. Read more

Porsche Macan S Diesel review

Porsche Macan S Diesel review – 2014 first drive

Porsche Macan S Diesel review

The Porsche Macan may be the best compact SUV on sale: the Macan S Diesel probably IS the best…

  • Macan is a new compact SUV from Porsche, we test projected best-selling S Diesel
  • Ideal upgrade for Boxster/Cayman owners seeking more practicality
  • £43,300 (£63,660 as tested) | On sale now
  • CJ Hubbard | May 2014 

    This is a strong contender for the best premium SUV currently on sale – and we aren’t just talking about the Porsche Macan in general, but this S Diesel model in particular.

    Combing a gold-standard brand image with a thumping V6 turbodiesel that claims more than 46mpg, and then wrapping the entire lot up in what we think is one of the best-looking off-roader designs on the market – well, if that isn’t a recipe for success we’ll eat the steering wheel. Which just happens to be similar to that fitted in the Porsche 918 hypercar. The Macan is not messing around.

    But more than this, the S Diesel also quite astonishingly accomplished to drive. Looking for a more practical Porsche but put off but the sheer bulk (and cost) of the Cayenne and Panamera? Even if you’re coming from a Cayman or Boxster, the Macan is unlikely to disappoint. Just be prepared to pay for the privilege…

    What is the 2014 Porsche Macan S Diesel like to drive?

    3_Porsche_Macan_S_Diesel

    At a basic price of £43,300, the Macan S Diesel is already an expensive choice. That it costs the same as the turbo petrol S is interesting, but probably irrelevant; you’ll either want the petrol’s extra speed (0-62mph in 5.4 versus 6.3) or prefer the diesel’s greater economy (32.5mpg versus 46.3mpg). What is worth mentioning here is that the test car had a few options – the total showroom tally being an outstanding £63,660.

    Still, only £1,789 of that was directly focused on improving the handling – the amount you’ll pay for air suspension and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) – and the Macan is fundamentally a very well sorted machine to drive. Porsche will even try to tell you it’s a sports car rather than an SUV, but that’s taking things a little too far. Not even the firmest suspension setting here could completely overcome the higher centre of gravity that causes the Macan to lean its way through corners at speed.

    Having said that, the Macan retains enough compliance to be comfortable and composed over bumps in this setting. The steering is positive and precise, and its one of few SUVs we’ve ever driven that really goads you into pressing on. The whole thing feels alive at your fingertips, and the decidedly rear-biased power delivery of the four-wheel system gives you a proper shove out of the turns, in a manner that’s actually reminiscent of – whisper it – Porsche’s own 911. But then, the 911 did serve as the Macan’s development benchmark at the Nürburgring.

    The seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox is smooth, and amongst the very best when it comes to paddleshift inputs, while the 258hp diesel engine’s refinement is first rate. There’s never a hint of dirge once warm, and the faint, turbinous boosting noises it makes when passing slower traffic swell with character. 458lb ft of torque at just 1,750rpm makes very light work of this, too.

    Is the Porsche Macan S Diesel the best SUV on sale?

    4_Porsche_Macan_S_Diesel

    Of course, it’s hard to imagine Porsche failing to deliver a stunning drive on current form – and that’s before you learn that the firm spent €1 billion on the Macan’s engineering programme. So although it is based on fundamentally the same architecture as the Audi Q5 – and Audi will also sell you a more powerful 315hp diesel in SQ5 guise for similar money – the feeling you get from behind the wheel of the Macan is very different. There really are elements of Cayman DNA here for enthusiastic drivers to get their teeth into.

    Beyond this, the Macan is also beautifully finished inside and out. The dashboard is dominated by a rev counter, in traditional Porsche fashion, while the rising centre console is a design cue that also separates this car from those of other brands. The open-spoked 918 steering wheel is also a delight, allowing you an even better view of the gorgeous metal paddleshifters. There’s enough space in the back for two adults to get relatively comfortable, while the boot’s nominal volume is a useful 500 litres – which expands to 1,500 litres with the rear seats folded. A powered tailgate is standard.

    CO2 emissions of 159g/km mean you’ll pay £180 a year in road tax, more than reasonable considering the performance. Official fuel economy is 46.3mpg – and we know from experience with other Porsches that you might actually achieve this on a the motorway, thanks to a combination of efficiency measures that include stop-start and a coasting function that disconnects the drivetrain whenever you’re off the power, instantly saving fuel. Drive it more in the manner the chassis encourages, though, and don’t be shocked if you halve that figure.

    The Macan does also have an “Off-road” button, which makes some changes to the way the electronic stability and traction control systems work. But it’s no Range Rover, and we can’t see too many people taking one further than the occasional muddy field doubling as an event’s parking lot.

    MR Verdict: Porsche Macan S Diesel

    2_Porsche_Macan_S_Diesel

    The Porsche Macan S Diesel is very, very good. Expensive – yes, but that’s not the same as saying it doesn’t deliver value for money. The combination of image and accomplishment here is simply unrivalled at the compact end of the SUV market. Sometimes if you want the best, you have to pay for it, and this is an excellent example.

    If you can afford the entry price, perhaps you aren’t worried about running costs – and the petrol alternatives certainly deliver an even greater performance hit than the Macan S Diesel. But the torque-rich response of the diesel means it can do relaxed as well as rapid, and you will also travel further between fuel stops. It’s one hell of an all-rounder. And a proper Porsche.

    MR_5_star

     
     

    Rivals

    • Audi SQ5
    • BMW X4
    • Infiniti QX50
    • Range Rover Evoque
    • Nissan Qashqai

    Porsche Macan S Diesel specification

    Engine 3.0 turbodiesel

    Drivetrain front engine, four-wheel drive, seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic with paddleshifters

    Price from £43,300

    Power 258hp @ 4,000-4,250rpm

    Torque 428lb ft @ 1,750-2,500rpm

    0-62mph 6.3 seconds

    Top speed 142mph

    MPG 46.3mpg

    CO2 159g/km

    Porsche Macan

    Porsche to dealers: please don’t use live tigers

    Porsche Macan

    Dealers’ tiger plans tanked by Porsche US HQ

    Porsche US dealers have been requested not to use live tigers in promotional events for the Macan SUV, following complaints by animal rights activists. Read more

    Porsche Macan

    Porsche to dealers: please don't use live tigers

    Porsche Macan

    Dealers’ tiger plans tanked by Porsche US HQ

    Porsche US dealers have been requested not to use live tigers in promotional events for the Macan SUV, following complaints by animal rights activists. Read more

    Porsche Macan Four Cylinder image (c) Porsche

    OFFICIAL: Porsche launches 4-cylinder Macan to customers

    Porsche Macan Four Cylinder image (c) PorscheIt’s been known for some time that Porsche is developing a four-cylinder engine for future entry level models… but Motoring Research can reveal the sports car manufacturer has already launched a four-cylinder car to customers! Read more

    Porsche Macan dealer

    Magnitude manages a million for Macan

    Porsche Macan dealerSpecialist funding firm Magnitude finance reports it has already arranged £1 million of finance for the new Porsche Macan – before the vehicle has even launched in the UK. Read more

    Porsche confirms four-cylinder Macan

    4cyl_Macan_1

    Porsche has confirmed that its new Macan compact SUV will be available with a four-cylinder engine in the near future.

    Read more

    Launch Pad: Porsche Macan

    Macan1

    This evening I’m flying to Germany with Porsche – to do something I’m really looking forward to.

    Read more