2017 Porsche Macan Turbo review

The SUV that thinks it is a sports car

Porsche Mascan turbo
What's not to like about 440-horsepower in a compact utility vehicle?

The Porsche Macan may look like a compact utility vehicle. But from behind the wheel, it is a sports car on steroids, especially in turbo trim.

The 2017 Macan turbo with Performance Package can haul itself to 100 km/hr in less than five seconds. Or it can haul up to 1,500 litres of cargo. It is more than blisteringly fast in a straight line. It can erase prodigious speeds effortlessly, and repeatedly, thanks to massive brakes.

The Macan turbo can tackle the twisties with the alacrity worthy of the brand.

When Porsche first entered the Utility Vehicle game the purists cried foul. “How dare they dilute the brand,” they shouted from tree tops and online forums. Upon a closer look, it was discovered most who questioned the move were not Porsche owners, rather enthusiasts who aspired to one day own one.

Those who did own a Porsche sports car, were busy putting down a deposit a Cayenne or Macan. Porsche was satisfying a demand. It was preventing loyal clients from going elsewhere to get a year-round, four-door family vehicle while their other Porsche rested up for weekend and fine weather duties. 

Automotive News reports Porsche earns an average of $17,250 profit on each new vehicle it sells. The Cayenne and Macan utes allow the company to continue to pursue development of the two-door sports cars and racing upon which the brand was built. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in accounting to crunch the numbers. Porsche sells nine utes for every single sports car!

Having pointed out the business reasons, I should also emphasize Porsche utes need no apologies. They can stand on their own as performance-oriented vehicles, witness to the company’s engineering prowess. Porsche was not content with the Macan Turbo being the fastest and best-handling vehicle of its type. It raised the bar for 2017, with the arrival of a Performance Package.

Talk about gilding the lily!

In addition to adding $11,800 to the $85,800 Macan Turbo’s base price, the Performance Package brings 10% more power. It has a lowered suspension, newly developed brake system, unique chassis control, special exhaust system, and a Sport Chrono Package.

The Macan Turbo has a 3.6 litre, twin-turbo aluminum V6 producing 400-horsepower.  With the performance package, a recalibration boosts that to 440-horsepower. Even more impressive, and useful in daily use, is the 442 lb. ft. of torque that peaks at only 1,500 rpm. In pursuit of every possible performance edge, the engine has dry sump lubrication (oil in a remote reservoir, instead of in a pan hanging beneath the engine). This allows it to sit lower in the chassis, contributing to a lower center of gravity and enhanced handling. 

Bright red six-piston calipers, clamping internally-vented 390-mm rotors (10% larger than the Macan Turbo) almost fill the space inside the 21-inch forged wheels. A height-adjustable, self-levelling air suspension, is tuned for this application. This Macan turbo sits 10-mm lower as a result. Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and Sports Chrono pack are standard, including launch control and a Sport Plus driving mode.

Bigger brakes a $2,920 option

As you would expect from a vehicle carrying a six-figure price tag, the interior has an upscale feel with high quality materials, applied with care. The driver faces the familiar Porsche three-dial binnacle. The tach is most prominent. The speedometer is relegated to a position to the left, above the ignition key. The tall center console carries a sea of switches flanking the shift lever, more than 30 of them! 

The full range of standard features includes 14-way adjustable sports seats and a 14-speaker Bose surround sound system. The big news for 2017 is the optional $1,510 Connect Plus Package. It adds new features to the Porsche Communication Management System. They include the ability to create a WiFi hotspot in the car, and Porsche Connect App services. This lets you send a pre-selected designation to the vehicle from yoiur home or office. The route, as well as your phone’s calendar and addresses. will be automatically transferred. You can use the latter for route guidance.

OK, but what is it like to drive?

This is a smile generator, whether testing the launch control system to get to 100 km/hr in less than 4.5 seconds or tackling a favourite piece of twisty back road. The engine is impressive to say the least. But it is only part of the overall equation. Porsche is famous for its extensive, and expensive option list. It has also proven capable of developing an overall package that combines rock solid build quality and longevity, with luxury and balanced performance.

By performance, I mean not only the ability to accelerate like a rocket or pass with ridiculous ease (80-120 km/hr in 2.9 seconds). But also to stop effortlessly from any speed and respond to steering inputs with uncanny accuracy and feel. All this, while providing a firm but forgiving ride.

The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic boasts seamless shifts under normal use. Put the system into Sport Plus and instead of reducing power between gears, the transmission maintains torque for quicker upshifts and provides perfectly matched revs on downshifts. The sophisticated all-wheel drive system is equally impressive on snowy and icy roads or during fast dry driving.

The bottom line, as mentioned above is that this drives like a much smaller and lighter vehicle, a quality that become more impressive the harder you push.

Macan sales in Canada were up 32% last year in a segment that had grown only 10%. This latest addition to the line may be priced at a premium and not add much to the actual numbers, but makes a clear statement about the brand.

The term “Sports Utility Vehicle” has been wildly over-used. But it certainly applies here.

The specs

Model: 2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with performance package

Engine: twin turbocharged, 3.6-litre, V6, 440 horsepower, 442 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel

Transmission: seven speed double clutch automatic, all-wheel-drive

NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 14.1 / 10.1

Length: 4,699 mm

Width: 2,098 mm

Wheelbase: 2,807 mm

Weight: 1,925 kg

Price: $97,600 base, $109,100 with options before delivery and taxes.

Competition: Jaguar F-Pace S AWD, Mercedes AMG GLC43 Matic.

Options on test vehicle: Volcano grey metallic paint, $790; black leather seats with garnet red trim, $240; heated rear seats, $600; LED headlights with automatic leveling and aim, $1,340; 21-inch alloy wheels, $2,920; Connect Plus, $1,510; Premium Package Plus (lane keep and lane change assist, automatic dimming mirrors, ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroof), $4,100.   

Standard equipment: 18-way adaptive, heated front sport seats with memory; heated steering wheel with electric adjustment for tilt & telescope, three-zone automatic climate control, Porsche Communication Management with navigation, 665-watt, 14-speaker Bose audio system; power heated mirrors, power windows, power tailgate, cruise control, front and rear park assist, rear view camera.

click here for my review of the 2019 Porsche Cayenne 

click here to read about Porsches on the Cabot Trail

 

About Richard 166 Articles
At the age of five I was already obsessed with all things automotive being able to identify the make and model of car by just the sound of its engine going down the street in front of our house in the small town on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Although I have been covering and writing about the automotive scene for more than 40 years and the light still grows brightly.