Porsche Macan EV review: The best handling electric SUV?

    In its switch to electric, Porsche’s baby SUV has seriously big shoes to fill.

    Published on Apr 23, 2024 05:30:00 PM

    10,915 Views

    Make : Porsche
    Model : Macan EV
    We Like
    • Ballistic performance
    • Precise handling
    We Don't Like
    • Firm ride
    • Price

    The most affordable Porsche. The bestselling Porsche. The handling benchmark for all SUVs, big and small. But that was the old Macan, which means this new one has big shoes to fill. It’s ditched petrol entirely and gone completely electric, the first of a number of Porsches to do so, including the 718 twins – the Boxster and Cayman. The inescapable thing is, EVs are expensive. So how does that affect the Macan’s positioning, and arguably more important for Porsche fans everywhere, is it still the best SUV to drive?

    All Turbo models now get a special Porsche badge.
     

    Porsche Macan EV range, battery and charging

    The ICE Macan will turn 10 this year, and its Gen 1 MLB platform (shared with the previous-gen Audi Q5) is so dated, it does not support hybrid powertrains, let alone full electrification. The new Macan, therefore, starts from a clean slate, but once again, alongside Audi. It’s the high-tech PPE (Premium Platform Electric) architecture that's shared with the Q6 e-tron, and that includes its 100kWh (95kWh usable) battery, 800V electrical system and onboard charger. In range-topping Turbo guise, it puts out a supercar-like 639hp and 1,130Nm of max torque, but we’ll get to the performance in a bit.

    Macan EV updates familar SUV silhouette with modern Porsche styling

    It can be charged at up to 270kW – not that we have many such chargers around in India – in just 21 minutes, and an interesting thing is if you use a more common 400V charger, it can effectively split the battery into two, charging more efficiently at up to 135kW. Interestingly, when it comes to AC charging, while Audi will offer a 22kW option, the Macan goes only up to 11kW. The large battery gives it a WLTP range of up to 591km for this Turbo, which climbs to 613km in the Macan 4.

    Porsche Macan EV exterior design

    For such a huge generational leap, in terms of outright dimensions, it hasn’t grown all that much: 58mm longer, 9mm wider and exactly the same height. The wheelbase, however, is a full 86mm longer, and thanks to a cleaner design and larger wheels (up to 22 inches), it appears larger than before. Air suspension gives it ground clearance ranging from 185mm to a full 224mm in off-road mode, but the real big change is that it’s a full 400kg heavier than its ICE predecessor, at 2,405kg!

    Macan EV's wheelbase is 86mm longer than its ICE predecessor.

    Looks wise, it’s a superb modern reinterpretation of a decade-old design – still recognisable as a Macan, but with the modern elements of 2024 Porsches, especially the Taycan. Notably, the slim four-slash LED DRL signature, made possible by the fact that the headlamps have moved down into the bumper. Those DRL pods sit in raised front fenders – a nod to the 911 – and are helpful in placing the nose of the car accurately. Around the side, two Macan signatures return – the curved roofline and the black ‘side blade’ at the base of the doors that can be customised with different materials. At the rear, there’s a more indented, three-dimensional take on the LED tail-lamps and light bar, with the Porsche lettering included within. Incidentally, the roof is so raked it doesn’t get a rear wiper, but it does get a 911-like active spoiler that lifts open at speed for stability.

    Porsche Macan EV interior and features

    Macan EV shares the three-screen layout with new Panamera.

    Surprisingly, Porsche hasn’t gone too radical with the interior, choosing instead to keep it similar to the ICE models. The only real giveaway you’re in an EV is the storage bay under the centre console where a gearbox would have been. It’s the familiar three-screen layout we saw in the new Panamera – 12.6-inch dials and 10.9-inch touchscreens at the centre and for the co-driver. What’s good is that the AC vents aren’t digitally controlled, and that there are a few physical buttons for essential functions on the dash.

    Storage bay under centre console is only giveaway that you're in an EV.

    Quality, as always, is superb, and though a lot of it will likely be optional extras, our test cars were superbly equipped. Of note is the panoramic sunroof and Porsche’s excellent 18-way adjustable front seats, which get heating, ventilation and, for the first time in a Macan, a massage function. The new heads-up display, which equates to an 85-inch TV in your windscreen, features augmented reality that projects graphics, like lane warnings and navigation markings, and is better executed than other cars that have tried this.

    HUD features superbly executed augmented reality display.

    At the rear, the coupe styling and EV architecture come together for a less-than-ideal back seat experience. Space is good enough, but to make it so, you’re sat noticeably low in a knees-up position, so much that the window line is just below your eye line. You will feel cooped up back here, and two six-footers sat one behind the other will certainly feel cramped. When it comes to storage, there’s an 85-litre frunk up front, which is just as well, since the main boot on this Turbo is just 480 litres; lesser models will have a far more reasonable 540 litres.

    Porsche Macan EV performance and acceleration

    And that’s because the rear motor on the Turbo is larger, extending over the rear axle for, technically, a rear-engine layout; another nod to the 911. This is also why it has a sportier 48:52 front to rear weight distribution, while lesser models are 50:50. Expectedly, it rockets off from a standstill, so much that its 3.3sec claimed 0-100kph time feels decidedly understated. That 639hp output, however, is only for a few seconds during launch control, or ‘Overboost’ as Porsche calls it, pulling another term from internal combustion. The rest of the time it produces 584hp, which is still considerable, and a number that pops into your head every time you touch the accelerator.

     Macan Turbo feels quicker than its 3.3sec 0-100kph claim.

    In Sport Plus mode it feels highly strung, at times overly so, with hair-trigger responses that will snap your head back repeatedly. It almost feels too much for the public road, where you will find yourself dialling back to Sport or even Normal. In these modes, the power is far more manageable and the synthesised sport sound gets softer, but it’s still plenty quick, making for arguably the better way to enjoy this family crossover once you’re done terrifying your friends. This sounds like a criticism for any EV, but the truth is, others have started to do it better.

    The Macan EV gets no paddles to adjust the regen on the fly.

    Much like on the Taycan, there are no paddles to adjust the regen on the fly. In fact, your only options are ‘on’ and ‘off’ and this is adjustable via the touchscreen, or can be programmed to a shortcut key on the steering wheel. When switched on, it feels mild and unobtrusive, and one-pedal driving certainly isn’t possible here. 

    The Macan 4 has AWD, but a smaller and less powerful rear motor.

    Also on hand was the lower-spec, 408hp Macan 4, and though this model won’t be coming to India, we suspect others with a similar mechanical make-up will. It, too, has AWD, using the same front motor as the Turbo, but its rear motor is smaller and less powerful. It’s lighter too, by about 85kg, but in cars this heavy, that certainly can’t be felt. What is apparent is that power delivery is a lot gentler in any of the modes, and it never overwhelms the driving experience like it often does in the Turbo. This ultimately makes it feel more enjoyable in more situations, not just being driven flat out, and should you want that, it’s powerful enough as well.

    Porsche Macan EV handling and ride quality

    The mountain roads above Nice are a great place to test the handling chops of a medium-size crossover like the Macan. Not only are they beautiful and beautifully paved, they also wind and tighten, and climb and drop, letting you really lean on a car’s chassis. Moreover, they’re narrow and unpredictable, making agility and responsiveness of high importance. I’m happy to report that the Macan came out shining, with dynamics worthy of Stuttgart’s crest.

    Space at the rear is decent, but you’re sat noticeably low in a knees-up position.

    The steering feels sharp but hefty when you turn it, the Macan’s agility aided by rear-axle steering that cuts the turning radius down to just 5.5 metres. Its effectiveness is less apparent out here as it is in a parking lot, but you know it’s working in the background. What you can feel more overtly is the rearward weight and power bias – it’s primarily rear-driven, with the front axle activating in just 10 milliseconds to mitigate oversteer under hard acceleration. And it grips the road so very tightly, almost clinically, and like the power, these are limits you couldn’t – and shouldn’t – attempt to exceed on a public road. There’s no getting around that some of the adjustability and playfulness of the ICE Macan has been lost in the move to electric, partly because of the snappy, instantaneous power delivery, but mostly because of the weight.

    Even if you discount the large 22-inch wheels, the ride quality is firm. 

    Ride quality, even if you discount the huge 22-inch wheels, is firm, but that’s Porsche territory. The weight plays a part, sure, but even with air suspension, you won’t get the same soft cushy ride a conventional luxury SUV would give you. The trade-off is the superior handling, and Porsche buyers know that. And while it does get the latest, two-valve adaptive air suspension system from the Cayenne, you don’t get the fancier, self-adjusting active ride system, which makes sense; they had to keep something unique to the Taycan and Panamera.

    Porsche Macan EV price and verdict

    Macan is now a posh, high-tech crossover EV for those who want to make a statement.

    What’s clear is that the Macan is no longer the entry-level Porsche. What it has transformed into is a posh, high-tech electric crossover for those who want to make a statement. Its dynamic proposition is impressive as ever, but in an entirely different way to its predecessor, the performance in Turbo guise is certainly electrifying. That comes at a hefty price of Rs 1.65 crore (ex-showroom, before options), but know that more affordable models will be added to the India range later this year. Moreover, the petrol Gen 1 Macan will soldier on for the foreseeable future. With its new positioning, the Macan EV will find a different set of Porsche aficionados to call owners, and it will be interesting to see if the SUV body style and slightly greater practicality will make it the better selling Porsche EV. One thing’s for sure, few can make EVs exciting quite like Porsche can.

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    Tech Specs

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