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The Porsche Macan Turbo isn’t your average SUV

By Alex Inwood, 18 Jun 2020 Reviews

Why should you buy a Porsche SUV? Drive the Macan Turbo and you’ll no longer need to ask that question.

The Porsche Macan Turbo isn’t your average SUV

Overall Rating

5 0 5

Plus & Minus

  1. Plus Still the dynamic benchmark; cheaper than rivals; punchy twin-turbo; class-best gearbox

  2. Minus Equipment anomalies; not as exciting as rivals; cabin starting to feel old

The Wheels Verdict: How appealing the Macan Turbo will be to you depends on your priorities. If you’re seeking flamboyance or sheer powertrain presence and personality, then we’d recommend an Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q or an AMG GLC 6 S. But if you’d prefer a package with greater polish, better everyday usability and expertly judged dynamics, then the Macan is the one to buy.

WHAT IS THE PORSCHE MACAN TURBO

This is the ultimate iteration of Porsche’s smallest (and most affordable) SUV. For a long time, it’s been the smart choice when it comes to performance SUV. While it can’t quite deliver the same sense of excitement as its rivals, it decimates them for overall polish, and interior presentation and quality. 

WHY WE’RE TESTING IT

To see if the Macan Turbo is still the performance SUV to buy. This facelift brings some welcome upgrades, and a new engine, but the Macan’s rivals have upped their game too. Plus, the Macan is now at the very end of its lifecycle. An all-new model will be revealed next year. So should you commit or wait for the second-gen car? 

THE PORSCHE MACAN TURBO REVIEW

So, you want a Porsche Turbo but don’t quite have the $500K required for the new 992 911. Plus, you have some rugrats that need ferrying to soccer practice. Well sir, step this way. This facelifted Macan Turbo is the most affordable way into Porsche Turbo ownership, by a considerable margin. And forgetting for a moment that $142,000 is a huge amount of money (and a significant increase over the previous model’s $133K tag), the Macan Turbo also represents great value when measured against its competitor set. You’ll need an extra $16K to slip into a BMW X3M and a whopping $23K more for the bombastic AMG GLC 63 S.

Interestingly, it’s only a $9K jump from the Macan Turbo to an Audi RS4 Avant, which packs the same engine in a higher state of tune, better back seats, more luggage space and greater driver involvement, but don’t get us started on the whole SUV v wagon thing…

Read next: This super SUV will obliterate most performance sedans

Despite the Porsche’s edge in value over its rivals, you do pay a price when it comes to performance. Unlike the BMW and AMG, which can hit 0-100km/h in less than 4.0sec, the Porsche takes a whisker longer at 4.5sec (or 4.3 with Sport Chrono fitted). You won’t win bragging rights when it comes to power outputs either, though this remains a seriously rapid SUV.

The Turbos’ engine is the biggest headline for this long-awaited mid-life facelift. Gone is the old car’s 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 and in slots the same 2.9-litre six-pot found in the Panamera, Cayenne and previously mentioned RS4. 

It’s a poster child for downsizing, this donk. More than half a litre less in capacity than its predecessor, it still manages to produce 324kW/550Nm, or 30kW more than before.

And while it might lack the potency and theatre of AMG’s 4.0-litre, the trade-off is remarkable civility in everyday driving. Paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch, response from the engine and throttle verge on languid in Comfort mode, and the ride comfort, on 21in wheels and air suspension with three-stage adaptive dampers, is plush.

Cabin refinement is also top-drawer, making this an excellent highway cruiser. Comfortable and supportive 18-way adjustable seats, exemplary build and materials quality, and the welcome inclusion of a larger 10.9-inch touchscreen are cabin highlights, though there are a few interior gripes.

Read next: Porsche 911 to get bigger engines in the future

There’s no head-up display and active cruise control is a $2700 option. And while wireless Apple CarPlay is available (Android users aren’t catered for), the usable display doesn’t extent to the full width of screen. Still, the basics are all there: the boot is a useful 500L and the rear bench offers decent cushions, easy visibility and plenty of head room for adults.

Where the Turbo crushes the competition is its handling. Macans have always toyed with the laws of physics, and when dialled into Sport or Sport+, the Turbo offers grip, poise and confidence in degrees few SUVs can match. 

Body control is kept rigidly in check when the dampers are in their stiffest mode (though you do lose some ride quality), and all of the controls, including new tungsten carbide coated brakes, have a typically Porsche reassuring weight to them. 

There’s even a raspy six-cylinder soundtrack that has echoes of a BMW E46 M3 courtesy of a standard sports exhaust, but the Macan Turbo is never as raw, or as engaging, as its more loutish and potent rivals.

Read next: Why SUV Coupe owners are buying the wrong car

It has greater bandwidth and is more polished and mature in how it dissects a winding road. If that sounds like your kind of performance SUV, there is another option to consider.

The equally fresh Macan GTS is now available in Australia. It uses the same engine in a slightly lower state of tune and has a sportier focus courtesy of a 15mm lower ride height, yet costs $30K less.

But if you’re chasing a greater duality of character, and that revered Turbo badge, the Macan Turbo is a fitting flagship send-off. An all-new second-gen Macan will be announced next year. 

RIVALS

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q, Audi SQ5, BMW X3M, Jaguar F-Pace SVR, Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S, Volvo XC60 T8

2020 PORSCHE MACAN TURBO SPECS

Model: Porsche Macan Turbo

Engine: 2894cc V6, dohc, 36v, twin-turbo

Max power: 324kW @ 5700-6600rpm

Max torque: 550Nm @ 1800-5600rpm

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch

Weight: 1945kg

0-100km/h: 4.5sec (claimed)

Economy: 9.8L/100km

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