2022 Porsche Macan S Review

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The Porsche Macan is certainly the driver’s choice when it comes to SUVs…but it caters for the small family too.

The Macan’s dynamic punch is the very element that has kept it relevant over all these years, driving with genuine involvement and capability, and now it has had a nip and tuck inside and out to keep it visually arresting.

Those visual changes outside are subtle, with only the gentlest of exterior updates, however, it is joined inside by the adoption of flat touch-sensitive controls around the gear lever and an upgraded infotainment screen.

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Pricing for the new Macan starts at $84,800 before on-road costs for the entry-level four-cylinder model simply badged ‘Macan’, and goes to $91,500 for the same-engine Macan T. Moving up to the S requires you spend $105,800 and you gain two more cylinders courtesy of its V6 engine.

The V6 engine itself is the unit co-developed between Porsche and Audi, so is also found in the RS4 and RS5. As such, it shares that car’s hot-V turbocharger layout, injection system (that’s the Audi bit) and extremely impressive thermal management considering its compact packaging.

All Macan’s utilise a seven-speed PDK twin-clutch auto that shares the similar over-long gearing of the Boxster and Cayman. The transmission itself works brilliantly, with shifts that are very smooth, very fast and particularly responsive to the paddles – PDK remains one of the best dual-clutch transmissions on the market.

While none of the turbocharged engines has quite the character of one of Porsche’s (increasingly rare) naturally aspirated flat-sixes, it’s hard to argue with the figures they produce, particularly given the size and weight of the Macan. The Macan S’ V6 engine produces 280kW of power and 520Nm of torque which, with launch assist, brings in a brisk 4.8 second dash from naught to 100km/h. The top speed is 259km/h – just a few decades ago you needed a 911 to reach such velocities.

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When you’re not trying to reach mile-a-minute speeds though it the drivetrain is cultured and blessed with smooth, consistent responses. For a car capable of worrying Boxsters and Caymans, the way the Macan can also fade into the background as a quiet and refined cruiser is both welcome and impressive.

​Underneath is the MLB-Evo chassis, which like the engine is co-developed with Audi. These underpinnings don’t yield a huge array of cars with particularly involving driving experiences, which is why Porsche’s ability to instill some real finesse into the Macan is all the more impressive. SUVs are taller, heavier, no more capable and less efficient than something with a similar interior accomodation and footprint. That’s why this midsize SUV, which is no more practical than an A4 Avant, weighs nearly 2000kg in most specs with little to no obvious advantage for the user.

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So when a car manufacturer is able to traverse these road-blocks and create a genuinely engaging driving experience despite these setbacks, credit goes where credit is due. The Macan is one such SUV. At times, it feels not unlike a big hot hatch, doing a great job of delivering the interaction and performance that you’d normally expect in a smaller car.

This is largely helped by the Macan’s steering, which is a cut above the competition’s. With plenty of weight and, crucially, some proper feel coming back through the new 911-derived steering wheel – it almost feels out of place in a five-seat SUV.

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Rather than opting for a super-light steering set-up, which many SUVs use in an attempt to hide their weight, Porsche has instead engineered a system that offers resistance in their typical style, but never leaves the Macan feeling cumbersome or unwieldy. Combined with strong grip levels, you have the confidence to drive the Macan a lot harder than you would a conventional quick SUV.

As for the ride, the steel-sprung PASM set-up is more than acceptable for daily driving when in its Comfort mode and becomes obviously stiffer for a flat-footed composure in Sport mode.

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But it is the interior which has been given the most attention as part of its update, with a new centre console that incorporates the visually cleaner touch-sensitive controls. The rest is familiar, which is no bad thing, as although it’s an ageing architecture it still fundamentally works.

Fit and finish is very good, while the ability to customise the Macan’s interior fairly extensively ensures that those who are looking for something special will find it here, albeit at a cost. With tan, red and light grey trim options in all models, it’s one way of breaking free from all the darkness, while the more in-depth Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur options can really bring a bit of life to the cabin.

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Porsche has also improved its in-car tech, so it no longer lags rival systems from BMW, Audi or Mercedes (and it’s much better than the versions you’ll find in the Alfa Stelvio). Those looking for more digital bling might be turned off by elements like the analogue dials and physical gear lever, but we’re not sure banks of screens and tiny selectors really move the game on, decluttering yet cluttering the interfaces all at the same time. Plus, the dials have a lovely quality look to them.

The Macan has a relatively impressive 1500 litres of luggage space with its rear seats folded, 100 litres down on an X3. It is, however, a better shape, so the available space will be easier to utilise. There’s decent space for passengers front and rear, but a Cayenne will seat four or five in greater comfort. The Macan’s driving position is excellent however, being more similar to that of a 911 than most SUVs seem to manage.

Porsche claims that the Macan is “the sports car of the SUV segment”; it’s not exactly an out-and-out sports car, but the Macan certainly is the best-driving SUV on sale today, and the latest update brings a little better functionality and a more modern visual edge everyone can appreciate.

Final Verdict:

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