The Macan has been refreshed for 2022, but are the updates worth the higher price?
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – a proverb Porsche has taken very seriously since the inception of the 911, back in the ‘60s. And to this day, the Stuttgart giant follows the same ethos with all its cars. So it is safe to assume that the refreshed Macan, which, incidentally, is also the entry to the Porsche range, will have the historic pedigree and that special feel. To find out, we left behind the chaos of the concrete jungle to drive on a road that will confirm this assumption. A beautiful, scenic but also treacherous and challenging road, snaking through the tall mountains of Maharashtra called the Varandha Ghat. It is packed with long curves, tight hairpins, and S bends that mimic chicanes at the best race tracks. In a nutshell? Porsche territory.
2022 Porsche Macan: Performance
The Macan, in its entry-level guise, gets a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine making 265hp. It is essentially the same engine as the one in the Audi Q5, but you need not frown just yet. Porsche has tweaked it to be more… Porsche. It churns out 20hp more than before, but more importantly, the engine has a distinct character and a lot more enthusiasm. There is a sense of eagerness as you accelerate off the line, but it is also linear all the way up to its 6,800rpm redline.
Ambling about in the city feels relaxed and effortless but in a location like Varandha Ghat, it fully wakes up and comes into its own. Engage ‘Sport’ mode, and the enthusiasm is further heightened with sharper responses from the engine and gearbox. What the Sport mode also does is open up the valves in the exhaust for a raspy exhaust note with some pops and crackles. Power is transmitted to all four wheels via a 7-speed PDK gearbox, which is superbly calibrated.
The gear ratios are well-spaced out, so when you engage manual mode, it allows you to fully control the gearbox via the paddle shifters, taking the driver involvement up a notch. Flicking through the paddles as the exhaust bangs away is reassuring enough that this is no “base” version. It most certainly has the go that you expect of a Porsche. A 0-100kph is claimed to be 6.4 secs, but with a Porsche, straight-line speed is hardly the trump card.
2022 Porsche Macan: Handling
No matter the engine capacity or power output, the one aspect separating a Porsche from the rest is the way it handles. And it is the same with this new Macan. Yes, it is a midsize SUV, but nothing about it feels SUV-ish on a set of twisties. The BMW X3, for example, is a similar-sized SUV that is also very good to drive, but it is unapologetically an SUV in the way it handles. The Macan, on the other hand, isn’t slightly better, it is chalk and cheese the way it behaves when you let it loose. The chassis, body control, steering ratio and even the suspension set-up is all absolutely spot on for a thoroughly enjoyable drive. There is a lovely heft to the steering that might seem a bit iffy in tight city spaces, but it is so much more rewarding in the right setting. It is an EPS system, no doubt, but it is the best EPS system out there that offers the most feel and feedback possible.
Changing direction is effortless and there is a heightened sense of what the front-end is up to when you are mid-corner. Something you cannot say of many cars of the present, let alone SUVs. The Macan gets a rear-biased all-wheel drive system that further elevates its handling prowess. There isn’t any of that dragging understeer associated with front-wheel drive or nose-heavy SUVs. Also, the fatter rear tyres make sure they claw into the tarmac, and offer optimum grip at all times while the fronts nudge the car in the corner perfectly.
And on a road like the Varandha Ghat, it proves it mettle. It is by far the best handling SUV on sale. Sure the ‘S’ and the ‘GTS’ are more powerful and get adaptive air suspension, among other things, but as far as a pure, unadulterated drive goes, even this “base” Macan puts a smile on your face.
And once you are done with the twists and turns, you can head back in comfort because the ride quality on the Macan is also very impressive. With 19-inch wheels as standard, there is enough tyre wall to soak in the bumps, but the steel springs are also set up in a way where the bumps don't really rattle the occupants inside. However, if you spec your Macan with larger wheels, it will be at the cost of the ride quality. There is also an off-road mode that adjusts the power delivery for when you want to tackle challenging terrain. Not that many owners would want to get dirty with a Porsche, but should you find yourself at the end of the tarmac patch, there is some resolve.
2022 Porsche Macan: Interior
The refreshed Macan gets a new interior now, and one that is devoid of the array of buttons we saw earlier. The centre console gets a large touch panel with haptic buttons for most of the controls, but the HVAC settings still get dedicated buttons which are very smart, and very Porsche. They just think about all that.
The touchscreen too is bigger at 10.9 inches, which also is a lot better in resolution, but it only supports Apple CarPlay and also misses out on wireless CarPlay and wireless charging. But thankfully, the one thing they didn’t fiddle around with is the instrument cluster. The big analogue tachometer in the centre along with the speedo on the left is just so reminiscent of the classic Porsche’s. There is, of course, a nice colour MID screen on the right which is quite informative, and it also has a tasteful clock on top of the dashboard where the lap timer usually is. The upholstery as standard is all-black, but you can choose the beige and black for a few extra thousands. Also in the options list is the panoramic sunroof which costs an extra Rs 1.67 lakh, and sadly there is no option of ventilated seats for the entry-level Macan.
However, what is mighty impressive is the build quality. Even in comparison to its German rivals, the Macan feels a step above in terms of the fit-finish and stellar levels of quality.
In the rear though, the Macan struggles. You can make out that the engineers have spent so much time in perfecting the drive, that things like practicality and space just took a back seat (pun intended). The rakish roofline means headroom is a premium, legroom isn’t impressive either and the rear seats are enough for two adults only thanks to a large transmission tunnel. But then again, you buy a Porsche to be in the front seat, so the suffering in the back is likely to fall on deaf ears.
2022 Porsche Macan: Exterior
As always is the case with every Porsche design update, subtle does it, and on the Macan, subtle they are. It still has the bulbous curves of a Porsche, but look closer and you will notice the revised bumpers at the front. The ‘tiger claw’ air vents are conjoined now, with a body-coloured panel and you have a new grille and new LED headlamps as well. The lovely clam-shell bonnet remains though. Over to the side, the 19-inch wheels and coupe-like design make it instantly recognisable as a Macan, and for the connoisseurs out there, there is a new 3D pattern on the black panel low down.
The rear continues to flaunt the long LED light bar and chunky exhausts that aren’t just for aesthetics. Overall, it is a Macan alright, and the compact dimensions are one of reasons it handles the way it does.
2022 Porsche Macan: Verdict
Without a shadow of doubt, the refreshed Macan is mighty impressive. Sure, the fantastic Varandha Ghat did add a bit of a bias, but it also confirmed the assumption that every Porsche that leaves the factory brings with it a bit of magic. However, there is a price to pay for this elevated experience. The new Macan starts at Rs 83.21 lakh (ex-showroom, India), and that is before you start speccing it up. For reference, in 2019, you could get a Macan S, that had a 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 with 354hp for Rs 85.03 lakh (ex-showroom, India). If you want the S now, you are looking at an eight-figure price tag, and a whole new set of competitors that make it very difficult to justify the price.
It has always been a point that has affected the Macan’s image, and has refrained many buyers from signing the cheque. However, if you regard driving prowess over everything else and don't mind the price or the cramped back seat, the new Macan is the car for you. It is rewarding, joyful to drive and no SUV currently on sale in India can match the undiluted experience that the Macan offers.