Meet the facelifted Porsche Macan. As before, it will be available in India with a 245hp, four-cylinder engine, with the yet-unreleased updated Turbo to join the line-up at a later date. However, new to the India line-up is the Macan S, that’s an interesting mid-point between the aforementioned versions in terms of power and performance.
Turbo V6 petrol engine gives serious go.
The latest Macan S is powered by the 3.0-litre V6 petrol found under the hood of the standard Cayenne. The engine makes 354hp and 480Nm of torque, with a single twin-scroll turbo doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes. Porsche says the engine will propel the Macan to 100kph in just 5.1sec. And the seat-of-the-pants feeling is that the Macan S is every bit as fast as it’s claimed to be. It launches hard and the lightning-quick 7-speed dual-clutch transmission ensures that there’s no break in power. The engine revs freely to well past 6,000rpm, and you can literally dial things up a notch or two by using the steering-mounted mode selector to Sport and Sport+ to sharpen responses even further. Expectedly, there’s readier access to power compared to the standard Macan and you don’t have to work this V6 engine as much to get to the good stuff. The fruity exhaust note just adds to the experience. Petrolheads, I don’t think you’d need to wait for the Turbo; the S does the job, and then some.
Porsche hasn’t made any radical changes under the skin. Not like the Macan was lacking dynamism, to begin with. It changes direction with a slickness you wouldn’t associate with an SUV and the light and precise steering wouldn’t seem out of place in a sportscar.Best-handling SUV? The Macan just might be it. For all its sportiness, there’s no compromise on comfort. The air suspension has enough ‘give’ at its softest and it helps that there’s plenty of rubber around the 19-inch rims.
Old versus new
Looking for visual changes to the Macan is a game of spot the differences. The basic low-slung, wide-hipped shape carries on unchanged, and, frankly, the biggest giveaway that this is the new version is at its rear. There’s a new light strip between the tail-lights, and the detail also serves to link the Macan to the newest models from Porsche. It’s a small change but it does work to take some years off the Macan. Up front, the four-dot DRLs are a telltale sign that this is indeed the latest Macan. The familiar headlights have actually been updated to full-LED units across the board. Playing Sherlock also has me note that the auxiliary lights now sit lower down on the ‘tiger claw’ vents. Even by facelift standards, this is as subtle as it can get.
There’s a bit more to talk about the updated Macan’s cabin. The dashboard has been redone to accommodate Porsche’s latest 10.9-inch touchscreen in place of the smaller 7.2-inch system. And it must be said, the large high-res display has made a big difference to the overall look of things. It’s also nice to use and works rather well as your go-to control for most settings. Porsche, however, hasn’t gone the whole hog to replace the Macan’s button-heavy centre stack with touch-sensitive panels, as seen on the latest models. Just as well, because the touch panels aren’t the most intuitive to use on the go.
New 10.9-inch touchscreen is the focal point on Macan’s revised dashboard. The driving position is properly sporty.
In other areas, it’s the same as before. The driving position is more hot hatch on stilts than commanding SUV, and the snug front seats are a constant reminder that you’re in, well, a Porsche. The rear seat is well-shaped but space is down on most SUVs of this size. Then again, if it’s rear-seat experience that you are most concerned about, you are looking at the wrong SUV; although the panoramic sunroof does help enhance the feeling of space on the inside.
It’s not an SUV for the chauffeur-driven.
There had to be a catch, of course. The Macan S costs Rs 85.03 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India). It’s a sweet price, when judged against the outgoing four-cylinder Macan’s Rs 80 lakh price tag (the new one is significantly cheaper at Rs 69.98 lakh), but most Indian buyers with deep enough pockets will still overlook the Porsche for a like-priced larger SUV. Sadly, that’s been the Macan’s perennial problem in India – it just doesn’t score well on the all-important price-to-size ratio.
If only buyers thought of the Macan S as a sportscar with all the practicality of an SUV, they’d see it in the right light.
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