Porsche Macan 4x4 performance
The entry-level Macan uses the 2.0 turbocharged petrol engine from the Volkswagen Golf GTI; this unit might make sense for some business users, but it's the more powerful V6 models that sell more.
The 335bhp petrol Macan S would be our pick. It's much faster than the 2.0, but it does its best work at higher revs, as does the slightly more potent GTS. The Turbo has a 394bhp 3.6-litre engine and the ferocity of its power delivery makes it feel more like a sports car than an SUV. If that isn’t enough, there’s a Turbo Performance Package that adds even more power for truly shocking acceleration.
Whichever Macan you choose, a seven-speed automatic gearbox is standard. It’s quick-shifting and responsive when you’re running at speed, but when parking or pulling out of a junction it has an annoying tendency to dither.
Porsche Macan 4x4 ride
The Macan is distinctly sports-oriented and, on its standard springs, is firmer than the best-riding SUVs, such as the Audi Q5.
You can upgrade to Porsche Active Suspension Management (optional on all but the GTS and Turbo models), Porsche’s adaptive damper set-up that allows you to vary the suspension’s stiffness. It’s worth thinking about if you want a more rounded ride and handling balance.
That’s improved further if you add the pricier optional air suspension – which is what we recommend doing. Over sharp-edged ruts, you still feel a little jiggled about around scruffy town roads, but it isolates you from anything jarring. And it doesn’t crash heavily like some rivals do, still cushioning you over speed bumps and staying relatively comfortable on motorways.
Porsche Macan 4x4 handling
All Macans have a Sport button that sharpens the steering, gearchange, accelerator response and – if you’ve specified air suspension or PASM adaptive dampers – the suspension. With Sport on, it’s clear that Porsche has made the Macan one of the best-handling SUV you can buy. Even when judged against the most dynamically proficient cars in the class, such as the Jaguar F-Pace, the Macan shines, feeling utterly planted and keen to turn in to bends, with confidence-inspiring steering and good body control. Bear in mind that it’s all relative, though; while a Macan is great for a tall SUV, any notion that it handles like a sports car – or a well-set-up saloon, for that matter – is erroneous.
If you plan on taking the Macan off the Tarmac, then you’ll be pleased to know that it has a standard Off-Road button, regardless of model, that adjusts the traction control settings and gearbox (and sets air suspension to its highest ride height if you’ve added it) for optimal off-road handling. Hill descent control is also standard, so the car will maintain a steady speed down steep, muddy hills.
Porsche Macan 4x4 refinement
For all its sportiness, the Macan is a pretty relaxing cruiser when you need it to be; every engine is hushed on the motorway and wind noise is well suppressed. That said, there is noticeable tyre roar at higher speeds and over certain road surfaces the big tyres create a slight resonance that travels up through the steering column. It’s far from irksome, but it doesn’t isolate you to the degree that a Q5 will.
On the open road, the dual-clutch PDK gearbox is one of the best autos around, delivering near-imperceptible changes at precisely the right moment, although it can be a bit jerky at parking speeds. The well-judged pedal weights also help to make it easy to drive smoothly and contribute to the precise, upmarket feel.