2019 Porsche Macan S Review

The Macan is the gateway to the Porsche club. It’s incredibly popular, racking up hundreds of thousands of sales in its few years of existence. But it’s also been criticized in the past for being a bit too focused on athleticism and not quite focused enough on luxury. The latest Macan is going through an update that will help balance it out and broaden its appeal to a wider audience of car buyers.

The biggest upgrade is found under the hood of Macan S models. There’s a new engine, a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that makes 348 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and sends power to all four wheels.

But that AWD system is clever, constantly shifting power around. It can send up to 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels and shift 70 up to the front as needed. The transmission has a few tricks up its sleeve as well. It can shut off the engine and coast to improve fuel efficiency, although, in our test, we found that this can sometimes delay things when you need to get going again.

From a standstill, the Macan S can hit highway speeds in just around 5 seconds, making it plenty quick for a crossover. However, if you want to save some money, the base Macan comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 100 less horsepower and takes about a second longer to hit 60.

See Also: 2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Review

Beyond the engine, Porsche has made a few small changes to the Macan’s interior. For example, there is a bigger infotainment screen, and that system has Apple Car Play support. The Macan also offers a sporty steering wheel, similar to what’s found in the rest of the Porsche lineup, and there’s an available Sport Response switch, that allows you to toggle between drive modes with a dial on the steering wheel. This system is inspired by the 918 Spyder Supercar, and also has a button that turns every function in the car to its most aggressive setting for just 20 seconds. It’s ideal for making a pass, but little else.

There’s a small hitch in the Macan’s interior, namely that it doesn’t look at all up to the standard of recently updated Porsche models. The Panamera and Cayenne both feature nicer layouts without the clutter of buttons by the gear stick. They also offer a nicer digital gauge cluster and can be equipped with a head-up display. It’s a shame that none of these high-tech innovations are offered on the new Macan.

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On the other hand, the materials and quality of the cabin are quite nice. The seats come with Alcantara inserts and customers with allergies will likely appreciate the optional ionizer that improves the cabin’s air quality. The most limiting factor with the Macan is its space. It has fewer cubic feet of storage than, say, the Mercedes-Benz GLC or BMW X3 and the rear seat space is really lacking. It’s not going to be fun putting adults back there for anything longer than a 30-minute drive.

Yet, for the driver, the Macan will be a joy to pilot. The new engine is plenty quick and responds nicely when in motion. There is a slight hesitation at times from a standstill, but that may have more to do with things like the transmission or engine start/stop logic. Otherwise, this motor is a wonder. You have to think that this 3.0-liter hasn’t been tapped out yet, as Porsche could slide a Turbo or GTS model above the Macan S.

See Also: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC Review

Porsche has also optimized the chassis for this year’s Macan S and much of the front end suspension bits have been replaced with aluminum components. This helps cut weight, which is helpful in a car that weighs over 4,200 lbs.

To help manage handling and weight transfer, there’s an optional air suspension, which is fantastic. The previously overly sport Macan is now smooth and refined on the road. The air suspension can also raise the ride height for improved off-road capability.

Helping with handling are the newly tuned rear anti-roll bars, which help make the Macan S feel very neutral in the bends. It’s been said so many times, but this crossover never feels like it’s designed to be a family-friendly grocery getter, It feels more like a sports car that also has a liftgate and ground clearance.

The Macan also gets new engine mounts which help out when you’re laying into the throttle while cornering. It all turns the Macan S into a thoroughly enjoyable car to drive, more so than other crossovers. While that’s usually low on the priority of luxury crossover buyers, the Macan has personality in ways that others don’t. It’s a well-crafted machine, and the Porsche engineers obsessed over every potential criticism. Even the brake pedal has been put on a diet, losing 300 grams, to help improve braking feel and feedback.

Those brakes are helpful, as the Macan S can also include an adaptive cruise control function called traffic jam control, which brings the Porsche to a stop during congested commutes. The usual suite of drivers aids and safety features like blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning are also offered.

The Verdict: 2019 Porsche Macan S Review

The new Macan S is a more balanced vehicle following this update. The new engine is great, and the crossover rides much better and smoother than before. If you can get over the limited space, then this Macan is among the best in its class.