The compact SUV from Porsche the Macan is one of the most important models for the German luxury automaker as it has been sold for approximately 350,000 units around the world since it launched in 2014. Named after the Indonesian word for tiger, the car is assembled in the brand’s facility in Leipzig. The brand already expanded the facility into a full-fledged one as the demand for the model was high, today the site produced 420 units of Macan per day and more than 90,000 units per year. Now Porsche just launched the facelifted version of the car, the new car has updated design, connectivity, and driving dynamics to make it more appealing and one of the sportiest in its segment. ForbesLife Indonesia was the only media from Indonesia to be able to sample the car during its global media drive in the beautiful countryside of Mallorca, Spain last November.
During the drive, Porsche provided us with the base model and the sportier model the Macan S. The new car looks more sportier while looking leaner than before, the front end of the new Macan appears wider due to the more vertical lines of the side air intakes. This effect is supported by omission of the fog lights, that now can now be performed by the LED light technology of the newly designed headlights. On the side the car also has several upgrades with newly designed up to 21-inch alloy wheels are optionally available, complemented with the side blades that can now also be ordered in Brilliant Silver and High-Gloss Black.
The big noticeable change is in the rear, it uses the contemporary design cues of Porsche. Similar like the Cayenne, Panamera, and the newly launched 911, the Macan has a three-part, three-dimensional LED light panel that connects the two tail light clusters with each other. While the tailpipes of the exhaust system are now integrated in the rear apron and round off the rear end dynamically in downward direction. What makes the car even sportier, it uses wider tires and wheels in the rear just like a sports car.
Inside the car there are more noticeable changes, being the highlight is the 10.9inch full HD touch screen that is a big bump compared to the 7.2-inch screen in the previous generation. The bigger screen makes it more convenient, especially when driving. The larger screen estate also made it possible to display several tiles with different information. With the new screen, it has been possible to reduce the number of buttons in the display area thanks to the new interface. The interface is like the one in the Cayenne and Panamera, it is responsive and intuitive to use. There are also two digital screens at the side of an analogue tachometer on the driver dash, the two
Screens can display various functions and can be controlled through a scroll wheel on the steering wheel that is very helpful as it is intuitive and easy to use. With the bigger screen the air vents have been upgraded with metal trim elements and are now integrated horizontally in the centre console under the new PCM, making the dashboard appear wider and flatter. The rest is the usual thing you can expect from a Porsche, the cabin is luxurious with premium materials, one nice touch is the steering wheel like the one in the 911 and a mode switch integrated into the steering wheel – including Sport Response button – is part of the optional Sport Chrono Package that can be fitted in the Macan.
One of the significant updates on the car is the connectivity, the car now has an integrated sim card slot among many other new features. With the sim card slot, the car can be connected to the internet and obtain data such as real time traffic for the navigation. For iPhone users the car also has Apple Carplay and can be connected to some exclusive apps, however there is no support for Android Auto as Porsche says most of its users uses iPhone. With the Porsche badge, driving is an important aspect of the car. Like the previous generation the car is a fun compact SUV with the right proportion and performance to boast, while still very civil to drive around town. Driven around the countryside of Mallorca the car is very comfortable, everything from the transmission and suspension was smooth.
There are also several new driver aids to make things more convenient, such as the new Traffic Jam Assist that uses adaptive cruise control to allow more relaxed driving at speeds of up to 65 km/h. The new system uses a radar sensor located in the middle of the central air intake that keeps the Macan in lane by targeted steering interventions. Driving the car in the narrow village roads of Mallorca was also still manageable, thanks to the park assist that informs the driver with visual and acoustic warnings when maneuvering and parking. There is also a birds-eye view from four individual cameras that uses ultrasonic sensors.
In term of performance, the base model has the improved four-cylinder 2,000cc engine that is now able to produce 245 horsepower and a maximum torque of 370 Nm that can be obtained from a low 1,600 rpm to 4,500 rpm. The base engine while inferior compared to the S model in paper is still quite zippy and enjoyable to drive, it is also lighter than the V6 in the S model that contributed to the handling of the car. For one that wants more power and joyful soundtrack then the Macan S with its V6 engine is the way to go, it is the same engine as the one in the base model of Panamera and Cayenne.
The 3,000cc engine now features a single turbo with twin-scroll technology that located in the inner V, the engine generates a peak power of 354 horsepower and 480 Nm of torque that is an increase of 14 hp and 20 Nm compared with the previous model. The twin-scroll turbo also made the car can obtain its peak torque from as low as 1,360 rpm. When driven the V6 engine on the Macan S is a fun engine to use, it can be revved to 7,000 rpm and comes with a throaty soundtrack. The power delivery was smooth, and power was decently available until the end of the rev range.
The retuned 7-speed dual clutch gearbox also was fast to do upshift and downshift, the all-wheel drive also did a good job on delivering the power to the wheels. The superb traction can be experienced when one tries the car launch control, the traction was so good that the quick launch will knock your head to the backrest of the seat. We didn’t manage to get some off-road time during testing, but the car was equipped with air suspension and an off-road mode. With a touch of a button, the car ride height can be raised to accommodate some nasty offroad terrain.
Like the previous generation, the Porsche Macan shines in the handling department. Dubbed as the sports car of the SUV, the brand refined the handling prowess of the car even further. On the front axle, spring forks made from aluminium replace the previous steel components. The new light alloy design is more rigid and reduces unsprung mass, making the steering on the Macan more precise and improving ride comfort. Newly tuned sway bars also ensure more neutral handling. The car able to devour the twisty and some hairpins road on the highland of Mallorca with no problem.
The handling of the car is precise and quick, it almost doesn’t feel like you are driving a compact SUV anymore but more of a sports car. It’s like driving a Cayman with a higher driving position and rear seats, you also don’t quite feel the mass of the car when cornering which is quite good. The steering feel was also very good, its' still light but still gives you a satisfying feel and well weighted.
Overall with the upgrades the new Porsche Macan is more appealing, it’s more practical to use with the new entertainment system and more capable than before. One will get the sporty element of a Porsche, a cabin that looks like a sports car and capable to act like a sports car. Its sporty yet still subtle a la Porsche, it is overall a complete package and definitely one of the sportiest cars in the segment.