PORSCHE MACAN TURBO

MORE POWER, SAME SUPERB HANDLING

ALEX INWOOD

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

SO YOU WANT a Porsche Turbo but can’t quite stretch to the $500K for the new 992 911. Plus, you have some rugrats that need ferrying to soccer practice. Well sir, step this way.

This facelifted Macan Turbo is the most affordable way into Porsche Turbo ownership, and forgetting for a moment that $142,000 is a lot of money (and a richer ask over the previous model’s $133K tag), it also represents strong value when measured against its competitor set. You’ll need an extra $16K for a BMW X3M and $23K more for the bombastic AMG GLC 63 S.

Interestingly, it’s ‘only’ a $9K jump from this Macan to an Audi RS4, which packs the same engine in a higher state of tune. Just saying...

Despite the Porsche’s edge in value, you do pay a price in performance. Unlike the BMW and AMG, which can hit 0-100km/h in less than 4.0sec, the Porsche takes a whisker longer at 4.5sec (or 4.3 with Sport Chrono fitted). Power outputs are smaller than rivals, too, though the Macan does gain a fresh engine for this long-awaited mid-life facelift. Gone is the old 3.6-litre V6TT and in slots the same 2.9-litre six-pot found in the Panamera and Cayenne.

It’s a poster child for downsizing, this donk. More than half a litre less in capacity than its predecessor, it produces 324kW/550Nm, or 30kW more than before. Paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch, it’s a powertrain with two distinct personalities.

In Comfort mode, responses verge on languid, and the ride comfort on 21in wheels and standard air suspension is plush. Cabin refinement is also top-drawer, making this an excellent highw ay cruiser. Select Sport Plus, however, and the turbo-unit is punchy, gearshifts are fast and decisive, and there’s a subtle raspiness to the exhaust note that echoes a BMW E46 M3.

Cabin highlights include comfortable and supportive 18-way adjustable seats, exemplary build and materials quality, and the welcome inclusion of a larger 10.9-inch touchscreen.

But there’s no head-up display, and active cruise control is a $2070 option. Still, the basics are all there: the boot is a useful 500L and the rear bench offers decent cushions, easy visibility and plenty of head room for adults.

Where the Turbo crushes the competition is its handling. Dialled into Sport or Sport Plus, the Turbo offers grip, poise and confidence in degrees few SUVs can match. Body control is impressive, though the ride becomes terse with the adaptive dampers in their stiffest mode. All of the controls, including new tungsten carbide coated brakes, deliver reassuring weighting.

Is it as raw, or as engaging, as its more loutish rivals? No. The Macan is more mature in how it dissects a winding road. But as last hurrahs go (an all-new, second-generation Macan is due next year) this updated Turbo is a fitting flagship send-off.

ALEX INWOOD

Model Porsche Macan Turbo

Engine 2894cc V6 (90°), dohc, 24v, TT

Max power 324kW @ 5700-6600rpm

Max torque 550Nm @ 1800-5600rpm

Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch

Weight 1945kg

0-100km/h 4.5sec (claimed)

Economy 9.8L/100km

Price $142,000

On sale Now

PLUS

Still dynamic benchmark; cheaper than faster rivals; polish & refinement

MINUS

Not as fun as rivals; equipment anomalies; button-heavy cabin