It's always been easy to sneer at the Porsche 'T' models, on paper at least. Without huge power gains and with seemingly modest chassis updates, they have been easy to dismiss as marketing ploys cashing in on classic Porsche branding. Only problem being that all of the Ts thus far - both 718 Boxster and Cayman, plus 991-era 911 - have been a real treat to drive. Not night and day different, perhaps, but just sufficiently improved to make the premium over a standard car seem worth paying.
Confident that it has the formula down to a, er, tee, Porsche has now applied the same logic to the Macan. It is the first four-door Porsche T, wouldn't you know, and follows the template laid down by the others: i.e. based on the standard model (here the 265hp 2.0-litre), albeit with a chassis setup unavailable elsewhere in the range. Garnish with sporty styling bits, charge a few thousand more, then watch the cynicism ebb away as soon as hands are behind the now-standard heated GT sports wheel.
But the Macan ought to have its work cut out, even by the standards of Porsche Ts. No more power than standard is an easier pill to swallow in a 300hp Cayman or 370hp 911, less so arguably in a 265hp Macan, the four-cylinder never quite feeling to do the smallest Porsche SUV justice. Furthermore, though it's claimed the Macan T is 58.8kg lighter over its front axle than a V6-engined car, there's no mention of any weight saving over a standard 2.0-litre. Which would also therefore be 58.8kg lighter. Indeed 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 144mph are identical to the Macan, but the T is £5,000 more expensive - you can see where the cynicism might find purchase.
The chassis is where the T might justify its premium, thanks to a bespoke setup. So it has steel springs (lower by 15mm than a standard Macan) with PASM dampers, which is said to be a unique arrangement (presumably as the lowered Macans are often on air springs). The T also gets stiffer front anti-roll bars, recalibrated traction control and chassis tuning "optimised for the specific vehicle and powertrain combination, resulting in agile handling and very responsive steering behaviour." Again, it doesn't sound much, but that's what Porsche does so well. If they wish, customers can further enhance their T experience with air suspension that drops the ride height another 10mm, plus Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus.
Those that aren't eagle-eyed enough to spot a Macan T via the ride height alone (they must be out there) will be able to identify the new model thanks to Agate Grey accents for the mirrors, rear spoiler, side blades and front end. The wheels are the 20-inchers borrowed from the Macan S, albeit painted in dark titanium. Best like grey then. Interior enhancements include T-specific upholstery with Sport-Tex bits, more silver-grey highlights, and some Macan T logos. There's no mention here of ditching the PCM infotainment as in other Porsche T models (thank goodness).
According to Porsche, the new Macan T will "be immediately at home along winding country roads... further amplifying the typical Porsche qualities of responsiveness and agility." Which sounds corny as anything, of course, but then the hugely popular Macan has made a habit of proving Porsche right over the years. We'll know whether the T is another when it arrives on UK soon - it's on sale now, with deliveries due in the spring. That £5k premium over a base model makes the Macan T £53,970, or just £660 less than a 380hp, V6 Macan S. Best hope it drives really, really well...
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