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Porsche Macan Turbo | Driven

The Macan after this will be an electric vehicle; time to bid farewell, then, with the new 440hp Turbo

By Dafydd Wood / Friday, December 20, 2019

It was this time in 2018 that we first got behind the wheel of the facelifted Macan, meaning that the wait for a Turbo variant of Porsche's best-selling model in the UK has stretched to over a year. It's 'Turbo' in the modern Porsche sense, however, with both of the existing engine options - a 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre V6 - also benefitting from forced induction. As with the definitely-not-turbocharged Taycan, the Turbo moniker here represents increased power, performance and prestige.

This also, of course, could be the last genuinely turbo'd Turbo Macan that we see. With Porsche having already announced that the SUV is destined to follow in the Taycan's footsteps when the next generation goes EV-only in 2021, there's a very good chance that there'll never be an internal combustion replacement for this model. Don't despair, though, because the manufacturer has done its utmost to ensure that the Macan departs the petrol era in style.

The 3.6-litre turbocharged V6 found in the previous iteration may be gone, but is replaced by the 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 used to great effect elsewhere in Porsche's lineup. In this guise it produces 440hp and 406lb ft of torque, giving the new Turbo a 40hp advantage over the old one, and an 86hp head start over the Macan S which sits beneath it in the range. It's quicker, too, 62mph arriving in just 4.3-seconds in this Sport Chrono-equipped car; that's a 0.3- and 0.8-second improvement over the previous Turbo and current S respectively.

So it's the fastest Macan, big shock there - but the Turbo is also the best to drive. Like other variants the steering has Porsche's fingerprints all over it, as weighty and direct as you'd hope to find in one of the manufacturer's bonafide sports cars, though not inappropriately so for something this size. It's that extra power which sets it apart, though, finally bequeathing the facelifted car with the muscle out of corners to match its prowess through them.

Not that it's some rabid canyon-carver; this is still a 1,945kg car, one which in its default setting is perfectly happy to keep progress swift yet steady and can understeer through tighter bends if pushed too hard. But on a flowing B-road, with the dial turned to Sport or Sport+ and using the seven-speed PDK's paddles to keep the needle high above its 5,700rpm sweet spot, the Turbo is capable of covering ground very quickly indeed. And if perhaps not inducing a beaming smile, then at least prompting the corner of your lips into something that certainly resembles a grin.

A good portion of that enjoyment stems from the knowledge that the Turbo is capable of dampening its powder as quickly as it ignited it. The tungsten carbide coating on the standard cast iron brakes meaning that, even on cars not fitted with the £3,578 ceramic discs, stopping power is never a concern. The chassis meanwhile, assisted by the optional PASM system's self-levelling air suspension (£1,044) and Porsche's Torque Vectoring Plus technology (£1,052) does an excellent job of maintaining the Macan's composure at speed - body roll being virtually non-existent - while retaining a good degree of comfort even over rougher tarmac.

Inside you'll find the same combination of design, materials and build quality that we've come to expect, along with superb visibility and up to 1,500 litres of boot space. To travel any distance in the Macan is to be largely as calm and comfortable as you could wish, but there are one or two areas where even Porsche has left room for improvement. The footwell of our right-hand drive car felt rather impinged upon by the bulge of the transmission tunnel, for example. The parking sensors, even in entirely stationary traffic, were overly sensitive to the point of being occasionally infuriating and, with the cabin so well insulated, the exhaust note lacks the excitement of something like Audi's new RS Q3 from within.

The larger, 10.9-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay is beautifully crisp and responsive, however and, while the paddles may be a little on the small side, the steering wheel remains one of the nicest to hold in the industry. All of which you might reasonably demand for £68,530 - or £86,143 once our test car's options are taken into account. The upper echelon of Macan ownership doesn't come cheap, then, but does continue to offer a breadth of ability which makes it feel, if not a bargain, then at least sufficient value for money.

The Macan still isn't, nor has it ever been, a 'driver's car'. What it remains, alongside Alfa's Stelvio Quadrifoglio, however, is one of the best SUVs for people who enjoy driving. That the new Turbo can offer such a complete package, one which doesn't seem to require significant compromise in its Utility in order to deliver the Sport, explains why the mid-size machine continues to stand head and shoulders above its rivals.


SPECIFICATION - PORSCHE MACAN TURBO
Engine:
2,894cc, V6 twin-turbo
Transmission: 7-speed PDK dual-clutch auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 440@5,700-6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 406@1,800-5,600rpm
0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
Top speed: 167mph
Weight: 1,945kg (DIN, unladen)
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
Price: from £68,530 (£86,143 as tested)

 

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