I went into this with visions of $100K-plus Macans dancing in my head -- frankly this one costs less than I thought it might. It’s got pretty much everything on it you could want, and I would have guessed the price was north of $100K.
If you’re in the camp that thinks Porsche building Macans and Cayennes has destroyed its very soul, then you’ll be happy to know the GTS isn’t a sports car, and you can sit by the fire in your den and smugly laugh. Realize two things, though: One, the Cayenne literally saved the company, and two, this thing ain’t bad as far as driver’s cars go. The AWD is rear-wheel biased, and, even in the slickish conditions, I couldn’t tell when it was sending torque toward the front. The Macan feels easy to drive quickly to me. The handling is great, too; the body roll is impressively low and the steering spot-on.
After a brief hesitation as the turbos get their act together, it’s also fast from a stop in sport mode. I played around with the paddles and they snap off the shifts quickly, but they really aren’t necessary -- you won’t miss much if you don’t feel like messing with them because the trans shifts about where you would anyway.
The interior is mostly fine, though the center console is a bit busy: There are 30 buttons on there. Yes, I counted them.
Very sneaky, Porsche, you made that twin-turbo V6 sound like a flat-six on purpose! Then you made this Macan GTS deceptively fast. It doesn’t snap your neck off the starting block, but once it gets going, torque just stays high and flat through all seven gears. I found myself scarily close to triple digits while still feeling 100 percent in control, like I was doing 60 mph. That engine really has the flat-six … hum? Buzz? Not roar. Yell, maybe? Also like Porsche’s flat engines, it doesn’t sound great at idle (speak for yourself, Jake -- Ed.).
Like I said, it doesn’t fling off the line, but once you get past 3,000 rpm or so, it flies. There’s zero hesitation between gears with Porsche’s PDK and, unlike Wes, I had a hell of time snapping gears up and down with the paddles.
I thought the brakes weren’t as linear as I would have liked, and they went down a little far, too. Granted, some of that is the nature of test cars, but sometimes when I got to the stopping point of the pedal, I had to give it some extra force to scrub off that last 10 mph. Kinda weird, but the Macan seems to like being hammered on. I bet it would make quite an entertaining track car, crossover body be damned.
Inside, the seats are heavily bolstered -- good for my narrow frame -- but you do have to hop over the side bottom bolster to get in. I love Alcantara trim, especially on the steering wheel. Not only does it keep warm in the winter, it just feels good in the hand. I haven’t said this in a while, but I still wonder how that would hold up over 10 years of sweat and use.
The radio/nav worked perfectly and connected to my iPhone immediately with AppleCar Play. Thankfully you can use the native navigation system while still using Play. Some cars don’t allow that. I still love the clock in the analog center and the huge panoramic roof.
Moving to tech, the lane-keeping system didn’t vibrate or push back, it just made an alert sound, which is better. Sometimes you need to make a quick lane change sans signal, and I don’t want to be pushed back on. The parking sensors though, WTF? They kept going off when I was plodding along in traffic. There has to be some system where it knows if you’re in driving lanes or something -- this is the first car in which I’ve noticed it.
For the enthusiast, Porsche is on another level. It’s hard to find a car to compare it to because dynamically, it’s near-perfect. I too would have guessed our Macan GTS came in more expensive than $80K. I would really have no problem ditching the leather and suede, even though I like it, and the Premium Plus package. At that point, it’s $72K or so -- and possibly the most fun crossover on the market.
Options: Leather interior in black with Alcantara ($4,790); Premium Package Plus, including automatically dimming mirrors, heated front and rear seats, panoramic roof, Porsche entry and drive ($3,390); navigation module for Porsche Communication Management ($1,730); Connect Plus ($1,300); heated multifunction steering wheel in Alcantara ($840); Carrara White Metallic ($690); trailer hitch without tow ball ($650)
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