Compact crossovers are characterized by four general characteristics: five doors, five seats, higher ground clearance, and a commanding seating position. The devil is in the details though as every carmaker, whether mainstream or premium, has put their own unique stamp on this proven formula. For a brand such as Porsche though, there’s extra scrutiny involved; after all, this is the carmaker that’s renowned the world over for creating poster-worthy flights of fancy. All eyes are set on the Macan—a compact crossover that blazes its own trail and doesn’t follow the lead of others.
The design brief of the Macan is fairly simple: create a genuine Porsche in everything from design to driving dynamics while delivering what’s required of a class-leading premium compact crossover. In that regard, it delivers beautifully. It’s all about sporty style and performance engineered for the racetrack injected into everyday driving.
It starts with the Macan’s exterior which lays bare the dominant sporty genes of Porsche’s hereditary line. Compared to other crossovers, it’s much more curvaceous with a strong 911-like silhouette. It’s characterized by the integrated headlights with four-point LED daytime running lights, the large imposing air intakes, and the stretched hood that flow onto the wheel arches. The side profile itself is muscular while the roofline slopes distinctively down the back. Overall, it draws a customary sports car profile that designers call the Porsche flyline.
Inside, the strong lineage continues. Porsche has always emphasized that the driver and car must form a single entity, and the Macan harks back to that tradition. As the creator of the iconic 911, the ergonomic architecture integrates one into the vehicle. The essentials are all seen at a glance. The instrument cluster has a three-tube design with a central tach—just like a sports car. The ascending center console looks imposing and requires some time to master, but it allows easy access to the most important vehicle functions while looking somewhat aeronautical inspired. Every surface too speaks of high quality with soft-touch plastics, padded leather inserts, and brushed aluminum accents.
One area where the Macan splits from its familial roots is in its packaging. It offers ample space not just for the pilot and co-pilot upfront, but it allows two (three in a squeeze) more friends to tag along for the ride. Compared to some compact crossovers, the rear quarters are a bit tight, but the seats themselves are comfortable. Finished in a combination of leather and Alcantara, they’re supportive, supple, and perfect for long drives out of town. Plus, when not in use, it folds down in a three-way split for added luggage space.
Equally impressive is the Macan’s generous list of standard features. Typically, Porsche wants customers to dig through its long list of options to feel satisfied, but even the base Macan comes reasonably loaded. Outside, it features automatic bi-xenon HID headlights, 18-inch alloys, power folding mirrors, and LED rear lighting. Inside, the driver’s seat moves electrically, the tailgate has power operation, the climate control has three configurable zones, and the Porsche Communication Management or PCM now includes Bluetooth audio streaming and telephony. For safety and security, it even has front and rear proximity sensors with a rear parking camera. The only glaring thing missing is cruise control.
And speaking of drives, the Macan must have performance built in as standard; after all, it’s expected from the purveyors of the 911. This starts with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cyinder motor that generates 252 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque. There’s a subtle hesitation in power delivery, but once it delivers the goods, it delivers them with a knockout punch. The century mark arrives in just 6.7 seconds and terminal velocity is at 223 km/h. The entire experience actually livens up because of the lightning response of the Porsche Doppelkupplung or PDK. This dual clutch automatic features quick up- and downshifts letting the driver experience motorsport-style gear changes. It also incorporates a coasting mode which reduces fuel consumption. And speaking of fuel efficiency, it does 6.02 km/L in the city (average speed 16 km/h) and 16.12 km/L on the highway (average speed 52 km/h).
The electromechanical steering is weighty and responsive; perfectly matching the sporty characteristics of the Macan’s suspension tuning. It still cannot negate the laws of physics when being thrown into a corner at high speed, but there’s a great degree of neutrality, balance, and willingness to rotate that’s unheard of in this segment. The rear-biased all-wheel drive system also allow for increased driving dynamics and stability. It works its magic, sending power in an infinite split to the set of wheels that need it the most. Together with the mixed tires, it offers great traction and agility. Though not expected of it, there’s even a dedicated Off-Road mode that re-calibrates the drivetrain (throttle, gearbox, torque split) to maximize traction for temporary off the beaten path excursions.
The Porsche Macan is built for an intensive life, where the main driving force is challenge. It’s built for a life that reduces to be hemmed by conventions and in that regard, feels more authentic for it. It also adds a little spice in the premium compact crossover segment. It’s compact, concentrated, and intense; practical but never ordinary. It’s always been Porsche’s mandate to build a sports car in every segment they compete in and in that regard, the Macan succeeds. It allows one to realize a sports car experience in the way it gives an intimate relationship with the road and yet boasts of added practicality for leisure and life. The only thing it doesn’t leave room for is compromise.
2016 Porsche Macan
|Ownership||2016 Porsche Macan|
|Vehicle Classification||Compact Crossover|
|Body Type||5-door SUV|
|Engine / Drive||F/AWD|
|Under the Hood|
|Aspiration||Direct Injection, Turbo|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I4|
|BHP @ rpm||252 @ 5,000-6,800|
|Nm @ rpm||370 @ 1,600-4,500|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Gasoline / 95~|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||1,770|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, Double Wishbone|
|Rear Suspension||Independent, Multi-link|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Rear Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Michelin Latitude Sport 3 235/60 R 18 W (f), 255/55 R 18 W (r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||Yes, Front and Rear, with Camera|
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front and Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjustment||Tilt/Telescopic|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Electric (driver)|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 40/20/40|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|Climate Control||Yes, 3-Zone|
|No. of Speakers||10|
|Steering Wheel Controls||Yes|