Porsche Macan S – Porsche may be identified as a sports car maker and the iconic 911 silhouette the symbol of its success but the powerhouse performer for the brand is the Macan.
Australians have bought almost 10,000 Macans since the mid-size five-seater was launched here in 2014 and 250,000 worldwide. Porsche this week launched a midlife update Macan.
The significance of this 2019 model – actually launched in August last year in Europe – is its new engine, a change to suspension components, better cabin features and upgraded tech from infotainment to drivetrain electronics.
The launch this week is for the Macan S with the new 2.9-litre V6 turbo-petrol. But an odd standard exclusion on the $97,500 (plus on-road costs) Macan S is autonomous emergency braking – an item standard on the $14,000 Kia Picanto.
With the new Macan, Porsche sees the end to its short-lived dalliance with the diesel engine. There are now no vehicles powered by a diesel and wearing Porsche badges.
This is a beautiful machine, its body cling-wrapped to a chassis and stretched over 20-inch wheels (21s are optional), with a big greenhouse, pouting grille and the pin-pricks of LED headlights.
It’s just clean, smooth and elegant. The headlights are flush finished and the bonnet is a clam-shell deign, spilling over the edges to almost touch the wheel arches. At the rear, the same warp-around design assures the boot lid of a wide opening to swallow as much cargo as possible.
There are active radiator flaps behind the whale-shark mouth grille that close to reduce air drag and open when the engine heats up.
The Macan’s 20-inch wheels on new-design five-spoke are standard, with optional 21-inch available. Tyres are different sizes front and rear and the spare is a deflated space-saver with an onboard compressor.
Unmistakable will be a new range of colours that takes some inspiration from the bright-painted models of the 1960s and 1970s.
The highlight of the new model is the large central screen with bright and crystal clear TFT graphics for functions including entertainment, navigation, communication and ventilation.
The instrument panel retains the classic central tachometer offset by the speedometer and a multi-function space for vehicle information and secondary navigation.
The white-on-black graphics, array of switchgear that highlights the feature list, high seating and clear vision from the driver’s seat are all Porsche hallmarks.
But there are too many switches, especially on the cascading centre console, to relate to quickly. By contrast, the steering wheel controls are intuitive, with a roller near the driver’s right thumb for altering the right-side information readout.
There’s also predictive controls that alight when a hand nears, actually worked by light rays.
Personal storage is adequate with large door pockets for bottles, a spacious centre console with lid, and cupholders in the front and within the rear seat’s armrest.
The seating position is perfect in an SUV sense, boasting excellent all-round visibility through glass though there’s hidden bits with the tapering nose and curvaceous tail. The use of quality materials goes hand in hand with the clean layout.
Cabin room is generally good, though the long 2.8m wheelbase does not translate into liberal rear-seat room, rather being a comfortable space for two adults with some limits to legroom.
The boot area is a surprise. The rounded tail hints at restrictive luggage space but the Macan soaks up cargo with ease, to allow 500 litres of load. Flip the split-fold rear seat and the flat floor will cope with 1500 litres.
The basic dashboard remains but the highlight is the 10.9-inch centre touchscreen in with beautifully clear and crisp graphics that looks like an OLED TV kaleidoscope.
This controls of the Porsche Communication Management system contain all the usual suspects from entertainment to sat-nav, ventilation and voice control.
The voice control gets all the attention because it allows easy operation of the infotainment system. Now you simply state the address.
The full HD screen is up from 7.2-inches in the outgoing Macan and now gets full connectivity and the ability to be personalised. The Porsche Connect app and Porsche Car Connect app – which talk seamlessly with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – are standard.
The standard audio is a 150-Watt, 10-speaker unit with digital radio. With the Porsche Connect system there is also a wi-fi hotspot.
Drive and Engine
New for 2019 is Porsche’s own 2.9-litre V6 that replaces the Audi-origin 3.0-litre V6 producing 260kW/480Nm.The 100km/h sprint is now covered in 5.1 seconds (when fitted with the optional Sport Chrono pack).
The transmission remains the seven-speed dual-clutch system with all-wheel drive and variable torque delivery to front and rear axles, complemented by electronic torque vectoring on each wheel.
Macan’s standard equipment includes the basic off-road aids – hill descent and an off-road button that changes engine, brake and transmission characteristics – with a lockable electronically-operated multi-plate differential.
There is also an Offroad Precision app that buyers who take their car off the road can use to document and record their adventure.
First there’s no autonomous emergency braking (AEB) unless you tick (and pay for) the optional pack that includes active cruise control. Porsche Australia said only 20 per cent of Macan buyers in Australia have ticked the AEB box.
That aside, new tech includes optional Traffic Jam Assist that uses adaptive cruise control (also an option) to drive the car up to 65km/h, keeping it in the road lane and tracing the car ahead.
Standard safety includes the rear camera plus a 360-degree surround function, lane departure warning and front and rear park sensors.
- Style and design
- Ride quality
Not so God Bits:
- No AEB
- Minimal standard features
It wins because it’s a Porsche, it’s an SUV and it’s drop-dead gorgeous. It is the brand’s top seller and they are the core of the reasons why.
As a wagon it seats five (better with four) adults, has heaps of luggage space, drives with uncommon assurance, has great performance and – if I didn’t mention it before – looks like a super model.
So, yes, this does the job. It’s expensive but it has an audience prepared to cough up. It can go off the bitumen rather well, too. Yeah, you paid a lot for it but it was worth it. And come resale, it’ll reward you again.
Also look at:
Facts and Figures: 2019 Porsche Macan S Details
- Engine: 2.9L V6 Turbo Petrol producing 260kW/480Nm
- Transmission: 7-speed DCT, AWD
- Warranty: 3 Yrs / Unlimited km 3 Yrs Roadside Assist
- Safety: TBC
- Origin: Germany
- Price: From $97,500 MLP*
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.