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2014 Porsche Macan Quick Review: Redefining The Compact SUV

REVIEW BUYER'S GUIDE
Carlist News December 16, 2014 15:17

It’s been some time now that Sime Darby Auto Performance has had its all-new Porsche Macan on Malaysian roads, and if you’ve not had the privilege of seeing one for yourselves, you’ve been missing out – this thing is a beauty.

The latest model in the range to come from Porsche, and the third to have four doors since the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera sports sedan, had undoubtedly a lot riding on its shoulders. Not only was this another Porsche to break away from the iconic 911 mould, it also springs the sportscar maker into yet another segment that’s fiercely contested by industry giants with a lot more experience at playing the game - doing so with even a four-cylinder engine in tow for the first time ever.

Porsche Macan

Fortunate for us then, is that we’ve been allowed a bit of a test drive with the Porsche Macan recently, specifically the base Macan 2.0-litre turbo, Macan S 3.0-litre V6 turbo (petrol) and the Macan S 3.0-liltre V6 turbo diesel - pity the range-topping Macan Turbo and it’s 3.6-litre bi-turbo V6 couldn’t join the drive.

Set loose on a ‘cari Macan’ (yeah, we just had to go there) adventure to Ipoh and back to KL, we got a very good glimpse of how the baby Porsche SUV goes. Here are our thoughts based on the quick drive:

KEY SPECS: 2014 Porsche Macan/ Macan S (petrol)

  • Price: RM420,000/ RM560,000
  • Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged/ 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged
  • Transmission: Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Power: 237hp @ 5,000 to 6,800rpm/ 340hp @ 5,500 to 6,500rpm
  • Torque: 350Nm @ 1,500 to 4,500rpm/ 460Nm @ 1,450 to 5,000rpm
  • 0-100km/h: 6.9 seconds/ 5.4 seconds
  • Top Speed: 223kmph/ 254kmph

KEY SPECS: 2014 Porsche Macan S Diesel

  • Price: RM545,000
  • Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged diesel
  • Transmission: Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Power: 245hp @ 4,000rpm to 4,500rpm
  • Torque: 580Nm
  • 0-100km/h: 6.3 seconds
  • Top Speed: 230km/h

Porsche Macan

Driving a 2014 Porsche Macan:

Admittedly, we weren’t able to stretch the Macan’s ‘dynamic’ legs as much as we wanted to. The route selected consisted largely of highways, and some narrower than usual B-roads. So, while the stretches of highways gave us a good indication of its straight-line ride qualities at speed, the full handling prowess of the SUV and its dynamic driving systems like the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) couldn’t be fully explored, given the very tight and twisty public roads we were on.

That said, the Macan appeared flawless to drive. On long highways typically driven slightly over the legal speed limit, there’s a lot of confidence about maintaining your haste – it’s a very poised SUV at speed, and isn’t thrown off easily by road undulations or bumpiness. The only difference here is that the Macan has to settle for steel springs which really don’t detract the dynamic abilities of the car. Advantage then to the Macan S models, which benefit from an air suspension and Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) that lets you flip through different ride settings as and when you see fit.

Manoeuvring the Porsche around tighter bends isn’t at all troublesome either: there’s excellent surrounding visibility and good awareness of where all four corners of the car are at all times. When we did have the chance to gun it hard around a quick hairpin, the car felt planted and reassuring  - and even when you do manage to unsettle it, there’s the active all-wheel drive PTM feature to save you from under- and oversteer by sending corrective torque to either the rear or front wheels. But with a chassis this responsive and a steering as communicative as you have in the Macan, you’ve got a lot to do to actually cause any under- or oversteer.

Porsche Macan

With three variants to test (Macan, Macan S and Macan S diesel), it’s needless to say that both petrol and diesel versions of the 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo deliver impressive displays of power. But what really surprised us was the base Macan’s 2.0-litre four-pot turbo and just how it exceeded every bit of our expectations for it. Sure, 3.0-litre V6 engines in Porsches were always going to knock your head off, but you’d be quite amazed with what the 2.0-litre was capable of – 237hp and 350Nm of torque and all, nearly straight out of a Mk7 Golf GTI.

The performance figures don’t reflect just how lively the Macan is to drive in reality – this is also of course supported by a very linear and eager throttle response and seven-speed PDK (dual-clutch automatic) transmission. You physically get is a 1.8-tonne vehicle that sprints to 100km/h in just 6.9 seconds – and we don’t have to tell you how quick that is.

Porsche Macan

Living with a 2014 Porsche Macan:

Where exterior looks are concerned, it’s a bit unfortunate how the Macan leaves the Cayenne looking in dire need of a makeover here. The handsome Porsche shows no fault in its curves, making it a very worthy competitor against the pretty Range Rover Evoque, even.

Inside, there’s a wide array of upholstery colours to choose from, but it’s the switchgear, upholstery and build quality that really gets us. Distinctly Porsche, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a 991, with even the Macan’s sports seats placed sportily low to the cabin floor – make no mistake, this isn’t an SUV for jungle crawling, street cred is the name of its game.

Spaciousness is by no means a compromise in the Macan either. Front passengers have lots of room to breathe, and the boot is by far capable of a golf bag or two – folding the 40:20:40 split rear seat reveals more space than you’d ever really need. Taller passengers may find rear seating a little bit of a hassle where legroom is concerned, but surprisingly, headroom was of no issue to this six-foot driver.

For equipment, the base Macan is properly equipped with everything you need and beyond – needless to say, this is a Porsche. For more info on additional options, check out our full launch coverage.

Porsche Macan

Verdict:

The Porsche Macan in all its variants face off against the all-new BMW X4/ X3, Range Rover Evoque and to some extent, the Audi Q5. But with the base Macan starting from just RM420,000, it’s hard for us to come to terms with buying anything other than this beauty – which is also the most affordable Porsche in Malaysia. Plainly, it looks good, drives unbelievably well, is equipped very generously and is, after all, a Porsche: very quick off the line, light on its feet, superb to look at, and now, relatively affordable. To call this a baby Cayenne is an understatement to the Macan. We prefer to think of it as an XXL-size Cayman.

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