2018 Porsche Macan GTS
The nimblest SUV in the market
- 박재승 (firstname.lastname@example.org) --
- 13 Mar 2018
By James Park
Porsche representatives are probably sick of cynical hacks going on about how the legendary sports car producer has turned into a ‘truck company.’ Let’s all give it a rest.
Much could be forgiven because the 911, born in 1963 (same as this writer), is still going strong. However, it is worthwhile to note that the Porsche icon only crossed the 1 millionth sale landmark just last year. Whereas the Cayenne, Porsche’s first foray into the utility segment, has reached 75% of that milestone in mere fifteen years.
The utilities are taking over – no question. Even Lamborghini and Bentley are cutting in on the action and Porsche has already introduced its second model in 2014, the Macan. Many enthusiasts are saddened by the situation, of course, but today’s customers demand SUV/CUVs and no manufacturer is averse to fattening its profit margin.
The good thing about the Porsche utilities is the DNA they’ve inherited from the sports car side of the company, especially the lighter Macan. It is probably the nimblest SUV/CUV one can buy, at least for the present.
Starting with two, the Macan lineup has grown into four models – the ‘regular’ Macan, Macan S, Macan GTS and the top-of-the-line Macan Turbo. Regardless of the nomenclature, all Macans are turbocharged with the base model – the latest addition – propelled by the VW Group’s tried and true 2.0 litre force-fed four pumping out 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque.
This iteration is the least expensive with MSRP starting from $52,000. The most expensive Macan Turbo starts from $86,000 before taxes, destination and dealer surcharges. It comes with 3.6 twin-turbo V6 good for 400 stallions.
The Macan S and the GTS both use the 3.0 V6 boosted by twin-turbos. However, in the GTS, the motor kicks out 20 more horses and 30 more lb-ft of twist respectively than the S for the maximum of 360 horses and 369 lb-ft of tread-vaporizing twist. The engine is powerful, smooth and makes noises that tickle the brain into a forgiving mood and you are left to enjoy the drive, not caring about things like what the dotard in the White House is twitting about.
While the GTS test-vehicle is not as blistering as the Turbo in a drag-strip, the Porsche engineers have massaged its suspension to the degree that it handles better than some sports sedans. Despite the higher center of gravity, this utility vehicle dives into fast corners with poise and confidence and displays almost no body-roll. The suspension, which can lower and raise itself, is firm overall but compliant enough for the occupants to know they are riding in a luxury vehicle.
Delivering power to the rear-wheels or to all wheels as necessary is the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The PDK is fast, transparent and precise. When left in normal, it up-shifts as quickly as possible for the maximum fuel-efficiency. Push the Sport button and the transmission displays a whole different characteristics. It holds each gear longer for faster acceleration and rev-matches perfectly during down-shifts.
The tester was not equipped with the Sport Chrono package, which adds Sport Plus mode and Launch Control. Even without this option, the tester is capable of arriving at the 100kph mark in just 5.2 seconds, compared to 5 seconds with the Launch Control.
Another thing about any Porsche vehicle is the steering wheel that is perfectly weighted and balanced and communicative. All electric-powered steering should be this good.
On the other hand, Porsche (and most other German manufacturers) has the annoying habit of charging extra for options that would come standard in most US, Japan and Korean models. The $76,000 Macan GTS tester shoots up to $84,510, adding things like panoramic sunroof, heated seats and steering wheel, etc.
The black interior is bit sombre and as many have pointed out, the plethora of buttons and switches may look daunting. However, they are very easy to figure out and work quite well.
Like all Porsche automobiles, the ignition switch sits left of the steering wheel. Twist it and the Macan comes alive with a growl that puts smile on your face. If you are an enthusiast with couple of kids but still want to drive an agile sports car and you can afford it, you can’t go wrong with the Macan GTS. (James Park is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada.)
2018 Porsche Macan GTS
As tested: $84,510
Engine: 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6
Power: 360 hp/369 lb-ft
Transmission: 7 spd PDK
Fuel: 13.8 litres per 100km (city), 10.3 litres (highway)
Best: nimble handling, power
Worst: option packages cost extra
Competition: Range Rover Velar, Jaguar F-Pace, Audi SQ5
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