Saturday, 22 February 2020

Porsche Macan GTS review: the last of its breed



A new Porsche SUV?
Meet the new Macan GTS, the last of Porsche's smaller SUV series for the mid-life update update. It arrives in a political climate where overly long, over-powered hatchbacks prove to be harder to defend, so it has a small task to prove its worth. The big claim of the GTS? "No Macan has been closer to the road than this," thanks to a 15 mm lower suspension.
Doesn't that beat the point of an SUV?
JEP. The Macan has always been at the better end of its market, although it felt more like a chubby hot hatch than many of its colossal rivals. When we see the new GTS parked, we can't help but wonder why Porsche not only made a more traditional fast legacy.
But then we don't have a profitable car manufacturer, and probably we would never do that by putting such old products into operation. The Macan and Cayenne bankroll Porsche on levels that are so stratospheric that we simply have to learn luddite enthusiasts to accept their existence - indeed welcome.
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What's new here?
The engine. It is a displeased version of the 2.9-liter V6 of the Macan Turbo, which is itself a displeased version of the powertrain of the Audi RS4 Avant. Here it produces 375 hp and 384 lb ft, the latter delivered on a "wide and practical plateau" between 1,750 and 5,000 rpm. This is not Porsche that speaks the traditional language of sexy sports cars.
The Macan GTS, however, goes rather as one, with a time of 4.9 sec 0-62 mph and a top speed of 162 mph. It reaches 100 km / h in less than 12 seconds, which is annoyingly impressive.
Why should I choose the GTS over the Turbo?
It's for people who want to shout louder about their SUV performance, says Porsche. So the GTS gets bold alloys and details, Alcantara and contrast stitching in abundance and a more vocal outlet card for both passengers and bystanders to enjoy. Or admonish. Large parts of Macan Turbo buyers, on the other hand, opt for a sober color and remove the letters from the tailgate. And probably stay far away from the optional body-colored wheels shown above ...
Then go. Is it going well?
Yes, I am slightly ashamed to say. Should SUVs sit so low, be able to revolve sharply or handle them tightly? No they do not. But that's what it's all about. The surprise and enjoyment of a car that is so thick that it is so easily dragged into driving with a stern face is fun at a level that I would dare to admit in the company of someone who deals with climate change.
Porsche claims that its four-wheel drive is heavily rearward, and although there is no upset on its own - at least not at driving speeds - it is a considerably agile car to drive than all its rivals without an AMG badge. This is the performance SUV that is least bothered by physics, but that's because the dimensions and ride height mean that it lives on the edge of its target market. We suspect that some Porsche engineers would rather make a dinky fast estate like the RS4 with which he shares his engine, and this is the car that comes closest.
How are things inside?
The seating position, handlebar size and visibility are all classic Porsche: absolutely propelled. What is less ergonomically attractive is the enormously busy stack of buttons that are located on either side of the PDK gear lever.
It proves a) how much kit Porsche has thrown at the GTS to make it drive, act and sound like its badge promises, and b) why touchscreens and haptic feedback have become a 'thing' introduced in Porsches since the introduction of the Macan in 2014. It's all very distracting to play with it individually, so we suspect you will adhere to the Normal, Sport and Sport + modes in the steering wheel dial to keep your eyes on the road.
Do I need to know anything else?
This is the most sporty Macan with internal combustion that we will ever see. The next one will be fully electrified, sharing a platform with the new Audi Q5, and between now and then there won't be a Macan Turbo S or anything like that. So maybe this car can be enjoyed with a little less guilt, knowing that it is essentially the last of its race. If you can live with the image - or fully own it and enjoy it - then it's a great way to go outside.

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