Apparently, the age-old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” does not apply to the engineers at Porsche AG in Zuffenhausen, Germany. Take, for example, the Porsche Macan: It is probably the quickest, best-driving compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) in the world and the company’s best-selling model. Did the engineers at Porsche just sit back and rest on their laurels? No, they didn’t.
Instead, they set out to improve on what can already be considered as one of their best creations. We can almost hear the engineers tell each other, “Come on, Hans. Let’s make the best even better.” And that’s just what they did. They made the “world’s tallest sports car” better, stronger, faster. Pardon the cliché, but we can’t help but use the “better, stronger, faster” phase from the introduction of the popular ‘70s TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man” starring Lee Majors. After all, the 2019 Porsche Macan Sport that we test-drove costs upwards of six million albeit in pesos.
Hard to Be Humble
We would also like to apologize for our apparent lack of humility. It’s hard to be meek and humble when you’re tooling around in a compact SUV that has a price tag of six-million-plus. And it’s equally hard to be humble when you’re driving a Porsche. Drivers and passengers of nearby vehicles crane their necks to look at the car. Pedestrians stop at their tracks to gawk while others scramble to take a photo with their smart phones. Life is good when you’re in a Porsche.
It used to be that a four-cylinder Porsche is considered a base model. But, like the 718 Cayman and Boxster that we tested recently, the turbocharged four-banger that powers our Porsche compact SUV makes it anything but a base model. The Macan Sport has most of the luxury appointments found in its more expensive siblings in addition to a new 10.9-inch touch screen monitor and an adjustable suspension system. Add a phalanx of buttons around the driver to control the audio, navigation, climate, stability, power and suspension settings, and parking assistance plus a sweet-smelling leather-swat interior with highly supportive seats and that lofty price tag, and the Macan Sport can never be regarded as a base model.
With Great Power…
Although the Macan is loosely based on the Volkswagen Group platform that spawned the VW Tiguan and Audi Q5, it gets the proprietary 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine with double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and variable vane geometry turbocharger that churns out 252 horses and 370 Newton-meters of torque. The power is channeled to the proprietary Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) seven-speed, twin-clutch automatic transmission, then to an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that comes in contact with the ground through stylish 20-spoke 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels shod with Michelin Latitude Sport 3 tires measuring 265/45R20 in front and 295/40R20 at the back.
Besides providing more grip with a bigger tire contact patch, those 20-inch wheels makes the Macan look more imposing and hunkered down. Its low roofline, shooting brake-like rear styling, and long, shapely front end with the unmistakably sporty Porsche design gives it a look unlike no other. Inside, the interior never lets you forget that you’re inside a Porsche. There’s the trademark tri-binnacle instrument cluster, wonderful ergonomic seats, and a steering wheel that bears that all-important Porsche crest in the middle. The overall fit-and-finish complies with Porsche’s meticulous standards and the expectations that come with multi-million-peso vehicles.
… Comes Great Responsibility
The Macan was already endowed with superior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) insulation from the start but the Porsche engineers made the Macan Sport even more comfortable with a supremely compliant suspension system that features adjustable ride height, in case you decide to go off-road. With the push of a button, the suspension lifts up by a few millimeters to improve ground clearance. Heaven forbid that you scratch that wonderful paint job and underside with all those bushes.
On paved roads and back to stock ride height, the Macan Sport feels planted. Compared to other compact SUVs, the Macan Sport stands out with its un-SUV-like handling. It’s almost – dare we say it – sports car-like. It accelerates better, turns better, and handles better than any compact SUV we’ve ever driven. The 7-speed double-clutch PDK shifts almost instinctively while the AWD system brings most of the torque to the rear axle in normal driving unless slippery conditions require it to shift all the power to the front. Flicking the Macan Sport around the corners will remind you that it’s a Porsche, albeit a tad taller than its sports car brethren. Those Porsche engineers made sure that the Macan Sport gets the job done.
Rekindling Our Inner Porschephile
There’s nothing better than driving a Porsche – any Porsche – with a PDK transmission. It changes gears almost instantly, faster than a professional driver using a stick shift, and it does so with a satisfying mechanical crispness. The paddle shifters behind the steering wheel engage with a pleasing heft and it works well with the meaty steering wheel and snug seats. The only time you’ll feel that you’re not in a sports car is when you step out of the Macan Sport and realize that you’re seated higher than a 911, 718 or Panamera.
Sure, the rear legroom seems a bit crowded and our fuel mileage, at 5.6 kilometers per liter in Metro Manila traffic, is nothing to brag about, but the Macan Sport is more than just the sum of its parts. It is the quintessential practical Porsche – one that you can drive anywhere every day. More than anything, the Porsche crest on the hood has a way of making people look your way as you go out on a drive. And as we said, it’s hard to be humble when you’re driving a Porsche, especially one that is better, stronger, faster…
Vehicle type : Front-engine, AWD, 5 passenger, 5-door SUV
Price : POA
Engine type : Liquid-cooled DOHC 16V inline-4 turbo intercooled
Displacement : 1984cc
Power : 252hp@5000rpm
Torque : 370Nm@1600rpm
Transmission : 7-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic
Wheelbase : 2807mm
Length : 4692mm
Width : 1923mm
Height : 1624mm
Curb weight : 1770kg
Wheels and tires : 20×8 aluminum alloy wheels with 265/45R-20 tires (Front)
20×9 aluminum alloy wheels with 295/40R-20 tires (Rear)