News Article

A polished Porsche SUV

The best selling Porsche isn't a sports car - it's a medium SUV.

Price range:
 $115,500 to $135,000
Powertrains: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four, 185kW/370Nm or 3.0-litre turbo-petrol V6, 260kW/480Nm, 7-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox, AWD, Combined fuel economy 7.2L/100km (2.0) or 8.9L/100km (V6), 0-100kmh 6.7 seconds (2.0) or 5.1 seconds (V6).
Body style: 5-door SUV
On sale: Now

The Macan has been a massive success for the German brand since it launched in 2014 and will no doubt continue its strong run when the next generation becomes an EV. But for now the current model (which will continue alongside the EV) is has been refreshed for 2019 with a facelift to bring it into line with the rest of the Porsche range.

Make me an instant expert: what do I need to know?


The medium SUV segment is where everyone wants to be these days, with the bulk of the "sporty SUV" silliness taking place, so of course you have to have a Porsche in there.

But the refreshed Macan line up does without the sportiest GTS and Turbo versions for now, with just the entry level 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo Macan and the 3.0-litre turbo V6 Macan S making up the initial line up.

Both get an external update, with LED headlights now standard across the entire range and a new front bumper design, with LED DRLs now a strong horizontal slash through the air intakes.

Down the back the Macan now gets a rear treatment similar to that of the Cayenne and Panamera, with a "three-dimensional LED light panel" stretching the width of the car, connecting both taillights and looking quite spectacular at night. A 3D Porsche logo is integrated in the light panel, while the Macan S gets four big exhausts to differentiate it from the entry car.

On the inside the most noticeable difference is the new 10.9-inch HD touch screen infotainment system, up from the old car's 7.2-inch system.

Where did you drive it?

Wine country north of Melbourne was the location for the launch of the refreshed Macan, with the main presentation taking place in an intriguing underground room at an upmarket winery that was a gallery of contemporary Aboriginal art that presented confronting images of modern Aboriginal life.

So, yeah, it was a high-end European SUV surrounded by paintings selling for $10,000 that depicted the desperate, squalid reality of Australia's indigenous people...

Anyway, cultural inappropriateness aside, while the roads around Melbourne are hardly the most dynamically exciting, they do show up ride quality, or a lack thereof.

And it was here that the Macan shone brightly. While it is one of those misnomers on wheels that are "sporty SUVs", the Macan - even in S guise on huge wheels - boast an impressively refined ride.

Firm, but nicely compliant, it is here that the Macan really puts distance between itself and other VW Group SUVs that share its underpinnings, with the same going for its handling abilities.

While the external tweaks of the refreshed Macan are relatively minor, Porsche says its chassis engineers examined every chassis component for "further optimisation potential", with detailed improvements and a completely new suspension setup.

On the front axle, spring forks made of aluminium replace the previous steel components, with the new light alloy design being more rigid and reducing the unsprung mass by around 1.5kg, while newly tuned anti-roll bars and wheels with a rim width reduced by half an inch on the front axle improve turn in.

This means the Macan in every guise is a delightfully responsive thing.

The four-cylinder engine is surprisingly strong, despite its modest capacity, with a charmingly six-ish growl under acceleration, while the turbo V6 is a smooth, free-revving delight that brings added thump out of corners, thanks to its generous 110Nm of extra torque.

What's the pick of the range?

While the entry level 2.0-litre four is a nice thing, its price tag puts it uncomfortably close to similar Audis, and with a lot of stuff that should be standard on a $100,000-plus SUV being optional (adaptive cruise control being the most glaring example), by the time you spec up a $115,500 2.0-litre to where it really should really be, it is the same price as a$122,900 Audi SQ5.

This means that (as is often the way with Euro SUVs) the higher you go up the range, the better the value becomes, meaning that - for now, at least - the V6 Macan S is the pick of the range.

While it isn't necessarily massively more powerful, the extra torque available makes the S a more effortless thing to drive on the open road, while the extra weight of the bigger engine doesn't affect the handling in any tangible way.

Why would I buy it?

Because you want a quick, comfortable medium Euro SUV that handles well and is well bolted together. And, of course, there is that evocative badge that carries a lot of weight, even on an SUV.

Why wouldn't I buy it?

You're fishing in the shallower end of the price range and realise you can have one hell of a good (and more powerful) Audi, BMW or Benz for the same money.