2015 Porsche Macan S Review

High-Riding Porsche People Hauler

2015 Porsche Macan S Review

This isn’t going to be another diatribe about how Porsche has lost its way. For a while now Porsche has proven that it can make highly profitable and excellent sports cars side-by-side. Don’t like the new Porsche? Tough, this is what the company is now and personally if Porsche continues to build vehicles like the Cayman GTS, 918 Spyder and 911 Turbo S, it can build all the Panameras, Cayennes and Macans it wants.

FAST FACTS

Engine: 3.0-liter Turbocharged V6, 340 HP and 339 lb-ft of torque.

Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Fuel economy: 17 MPG city, 23 highway. We averaged 21.6 MPG

Price: Macan S begins at $50,980. As tested came in at $57,740.

The Maca-what? The Macan, it’s the newest member to join the Porsche family. Smaller than the Cayenne, the Macan is built on the MLB platform that underpins a number of Audi sedans as well as the Q5 crossover. Measuring 184.3 inches long, the Macan is designed to compete head-to-head against luxury compact crossovers like the BMW X3 and its cousin, the Audi SQ 5. 

An Affordable Porsche?

It’s no secret Porsches can be quite pricey. Despite a starting price of $50,980 (after destination charges), a Macan Turbo can easily eclipse the six-figure mark once options are packed on. But it’s the lower end Macan S that will sell in greater volume and compete head-to-head against other small German crossovers.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Porsche Macan Review

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For example, my Macan arrived with an as-tested price of $57,740. The only options added to the otherwise base Macan S are the infotainment package, the panoramic sunroof, upgraded paint, park assist and heated seats. That price does not include HID or LED headlights and despite having LED running lights and turn signals built into the front bumper, old-school halogen lights are used for the daytime running lights. That might seem like a minor point, but I expect a little more exterior flash in a $57,000 luxury crossover.

Two Turbocharged Engines, One “Turbo” Model

The Macan is available with a choice of turbocharged V6 engines displacing eitherz 3.0 liters or 3.6-liters. Confusingly, Macans equipped with the larger turbo V6 are referred to as the ‘Turbo” while the smaller turbocharged 3.0-liter Macans are simply called the “S”.

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With 340 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 isn’t exactly weak and can propel the Macan from 0-60 MPH in 5.2 seconds. Opt for the Sport Chrono package and that time shrinks to five seconds flat.

PDK in a Crossover?

That quick acceleration time has as much to do with the Macan’s transmission as it does the engine. Unlike the larger Cayenne and most other crossovers, the new Macan uses a true PDK dual-clutch transmission. That means using the ubiquitous paddle shifters found in virtually all luxury crossovers actually makes sense for once. Upshifts and downshifts occur quickly, especially in sport mode. This is the first crossover I’ve driven where I wanted to use the paddle shifters more than just letting the transmission run its own program.

The Macan S straddles the line between sport and luxury. In regular drive mode, it focuses on economy first and performance second, well, as economically focused as a 4,112-lb. crossover with a turbocharged V6 can be. Officially rated at 17 MPG city and 23 MPG highway, the Macan isn’t exactly a Prius, but after 700 miles of mostly highways driving with four adults and a hatch full of luggage, I was able to average 21.6 MPG.

Comfort and Confidence

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The general ride and handling of the Macan S with the base steel spring suspension is geared more toward comfort than sport. Don’t let the six-piston front brakes and staggered tires fool you, the Macan is tuned for a soft, supple ride and it delivers. In S trim, the new Porsche is one of the most comfortable compact crossovers when it comes to highway cruising. In fact, it’s so smooth and comfortable on the highway that I actually had to set the speed limit warning because the Macan would constantly creep into “arrest me” territory.

SEE ALSO: Porsche Macan Diesel Coming to US

Some of the creamy ride can be attributed to the high profile tires. But even with non-performance tires and the base S suspension, the Macan does corner with confidence. Even a Porsche more geared toward comfort has to handle well enough to justify its badge.

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Surprisingly Spacious Interior

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The Macan may have a small footprint, but it’s surprisingly spacious inside. Four adults were able to travel in comfort during a five-hour road trip with rear seat passengers appreciating the cushion height and panoramic sunroof. All of our luggage for a weekend getaway easily fit into the 17.7 cubic foot hatch and that’s important because Porsche is doing away with the base Cayenne, effectively replacing it with the Macan. Yes, the space is smaller, but no it isn’t too small to be useful.

The Verdict

The Macan S is not a sporty vehicle, but a very good luxury crossover. This makes sense since Porsche has long abandoned being a pure sports car maker. Like it or leave it, the new Porsche continues to thrive as it gets closer and closer to a full-line luxury automobile manufacturer, with a sporty edge.

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