Open gallery Close by James Disdale 15 October 2019 Share
How we test cars
This is the long-awaited, top-of-the-range Turbo version of the Porsche Macan. Yes all Porsche Macans have turbo engines, but like the new electrically-powered Porsche Taycan, the big ‘T’ turbo badge now denotes a level of performance rather than any under bonnet shenanigans.
Now, Porsche has been forced to drip-feed the flow of its new Macan models, the combination of the SUV’s popularity in showrooms and the rigours of WLTP sign-off stretching even Stuttgart’s near inexhaustible resources. As a result it’s only now, nearly 12 months after the facelifted Macan made its debut, that we’re finally seeing this Turbo flagship. So has the fastest and traditionally sportiest of the firm’s sports utility vehicles been worth the wait?
There’s typical Porsche weight and precision to the controls that makes it more involving than any other car of its typeJames DisdaleSpecial correspondent
How does the updated Macan Turbo stand out from the rest of the range?
Well Porsche has certainly gone a little further with the update of the Turbo than other versions. There’s a new engine for instance, the old 3.6-litre V6 being ditched in favour of a downsized yet more powerful 2.9-litre. Featuring a pair of ‘hot vee’ turbos (the sort that, for quicker response, nestle on top of the engine between the banks of cylinders) it delivers 434bhp, which is an increase of 40bhp, and a thumping 406lb ft of torque at just 1,800rpm. Exhaust manifolds integrated into the heads promise to reduce weight and boost efficiency, while new dynamic engine mounts aim to restrict the units movement during extreme cornering, boosting both agility and steering accuracy and speed.
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The remaining mechanical modifications are more modest and run to a rear track that’s 3mm wider than a standard Macan’s, plus subtly recalibrated anti-roll bar settings and new, lighter aluminium spring forks that locate the springs and dampers to the front hubs. Of course our test car was fitted with the full gamut of suspension upgrades, including the height adjustable air suspension with its revised dampers and the Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) active rear differential. Finally, all Turbo models get the neat tungsten carbide coated cast iron brake discs that are a sort of halfway house between standard stoppers and the eye-wateringly expensive carbon ceramics. In all our car weighed in at in excess of £100,000. Yikes!
Visually the Turbo gets the latest car’s subtle sheet metal changes, yet it also receives a bespoke nose treatment that delivers a 12mm shorter overhang, helping giving the car a subtly stockier stance. The final go-faster addition is small double-decker spoiler at the top of the tailgate.
How does the Macan Turbo perform on the road?
On the move, the Turbo feels very familiar. For starters, apart from the larger 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system and some new materials the interior is pretty much identical. For an SUV you can sit remarkably low thanks to a wide range of seat adjustment, while the three-spoke steering is exactly the same as the one you get in a Porsche 911. As you’d expect, everything has a top notch look and feel, although the clunky digital displays for the climate control are a reminder of the old heart that beats under the new clothes.
Even the new engine sounds and feels similar to the one it replaces, delivering effortless, rapid acceleration but in the same slightly characterless way. An optional sports exhaust adds a distant baritone and some cracks and pops, but the combination of near flat torque curve, seamless seven-speed PDK and terrific four-wheel drive traction means even hard acceleration feels less dramatic than the numbers (0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, or 4.3 seconds with Sport Chrono) suggest. The V8 in the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 knocks it into a cocked hat for noise and drama, while in terms of raw outright pace the Turbo doesn’t have as decisive performance advantage over the S as you’d hope.