Porsche Macan Diesel – Review
By Liam Bird
Llanrhos’s Bodysgallen Hall has become affectionately known as HQ by the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers (WMW) and once again this year it proved the perfect venue for their annual awards evening and dinner. The same weekend just happening to fall-in with my time with Porsche’s new Macan S was purely coincidental – well at least that’s what I said… The 200-or-so mile round-trip from my place in the Marches to the North Wales coast provided the perfect test route.
Whether you view Porsche these days as a maker of world-renowned sports-cars that also happens to make SUVs (the Macan and Cayenne), or as an SUV maker that just happens to make world-renowned sports-cars, it may surprise you to learn that the Stuttgart based Porsche now produces far more four-wheel drives than they do sleek coupes. But perhaps that’s a story for the business pages. What of the Macan?
If you think of the Macan as the Cayenne’s smaller, altogether more athletic, sibling you won’t go far wrong. Mechanically it shares its underpinnings with Audi’s Q5 and so-far, for diesel buyers, there’s only one engine choice: a 3 litre V6 with 254bhp (as driven). Petrol options are a 335bhp (S) or 394bhp (Turbo). Nevertheless one glance at it is all it takes to know that the Macan is the work of Porsche; details such as quad exhausts, a clamshell bonnet and a sloping coupe-esque roofline mean it could hardly be anything else.
“Materials are impeccable”
Inside it’s a similar story. Were it not for the Macan’s loftier driving position you could easily kid yourself into thinking you were in a Boxster, Cayman or 911. Same button festooned centre console, same 918 style steering wheel, same tachometer dominated dash, same everything. The sports seats hug you in all the right places, the driving position is just so, and the build quality and materials are impeccable.
What may come as a surprise is just how quiet and refined things are on the move. It’s a cliché perhaps, but you could easily cross continents in a Macan, never mind Mid-Wales. There’s barely hum, or a rumble from either engine or tyres; wind noise is minimal, the boot is big, and the promise of 46.3 mpg is somewhat comforting too.
Perhaps though it’s the Sports part of SUV that will of be more interest to Porsche’s core clientele rather than the Utility.
The good news for the faithful is the Macan feels sharper and more agile than many a so-called sports-car. And that’s before you’ve sharpened the throttle and steering responses yet further with the aid of either the Sport or Sport+ buttons.
There is a familiar taut Germanic edge to the ride, but across country, or indeed tundra, desert, mud or snow – it’s a four-wheel drive after all – the Macan proves to be both a worthy and entertaining ally. Two hours dead from my house to Bodysgallen on a (albeit quiet) Saturday morning is a new personal best.
“Slightly in awe”
That same evening the WMW, aided by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Gwynedd, presented their Automotive Achievement Award to Ken Jones, founder of the Pentraeth Group, and their Tom Pryce Memorial Trophy to the Porthdinllaen Lifeboat – both craft and crew I’ll readily admit I’m more than just slightly in awe of.
But, is the Porsche Macan S an award winner too? The jury’s still out, nevertheless it’s fair to say it’s definitely one of the best SUVs I’ve driven in quite some time.
Porsche Macan S Diesel
Engine: 2967cc, V6 Turbo-diesel
Transmission: 7 speed Porsche PDK. Four-wheel drive
Power: 258 bhp @ 4000 – 4250rpm
Torque: 428 lbft @ 1700 – 2500 rpm
0-62mph: 6.3 sec
Max Speed: 142 mph
MPG: 46.3 combined
Price: From 43,300, (as tested) £56,845