Making A Case | Porsche Macan S

BY Azfar Hashim

Porsche’s Cayenne is a big seller in Singapore; it looks like the new Macan - particularly the Macan S - is set to follow suit

Photos by Azfar Hashim

More than a decade ago, the world laughed when news broke that Porsche wanted to mass-produce SUVs. Laughed at not because Porsche was going off tangent by building something else besides sports cars; but because the Cayenne simply looked like a frog. And also because Land Rover and BMW had already started producing SUVs while Porsche executives were still sitting around in the boardroom contemplating whether or not to enter this new segment.

But look who is laughing all the way to the bank now? Porsche, of course. The Cayenne was such a mega hit, every moneyed family man wanted one; having the Porsche badge helps as well. Fact is it performed even better than the X5, Q7 and Range Rover in terms of sales. So much so that the Cayenne became Porsche’s money cow…

Although the second-generation Cayenne remains highly sought after, Porsche was not contented. They knew that a smaller, cheaper SUV model would provide more appeal for the brand. Tadaa… Meet the Macan.

There’s no denying that the Macan is an Audi Q5 in a different skin, but after spending some time getting to know this baby Porsche, the Macan is significantly different than what it is based on.

Under the bonnet of the Macan S sits a biturbo 3.0-litre V6 powerplant mated to the 7-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission. This combo allows a maximum power output of 340 bhp and torque of 460 Nm which is readily available from only 1,450 rpm. But here is the surprise: it does the 0-100 km/h sprint in only 5.4 seconds (hot-hatch territory, yo) and maxes out at slightly more than 250 km/h.

In this concrete jungle, the Macan S is ready to outrun anything that tries to come close. It is seemingly hard disciplining your right foot to ‘take-it-easy’ with all that power at your disposal, especially in Sport Plus. Floor the accelerator and watch everything else disappear behind you. And to make it even sweeter, the exhaust goes ‘barrp!’ at every upshift, with a subtle ‘waaaap!’ when you release the right pedal. Gee Porsche, is this an SUV or a hot-hatch you’ve created?

To be honest, you can still feel the weight bogging down the car at initial move off. After all, it comes with all-wheel drive, and combined with all that sheet metal and mechanical nannies, the Macan S has almost 1.9-tonne to haul around.

Out on the expressway (in Normal) the Macan S proved to be a rather sedate cruiser, the suspension soaking up bumps and road irregularities with aplomb. The cabin is even well insulated against wind, road and tyre noise; Porsche has done a brilliant job here. You can still hear the engine, true, but I am sure that is deliberate, cos hey, who would want to miss out on that V6 rumble as you pull away in 3rd and 4th?

In 7th, you could even hear those in the second row gossiping away… Clearly.

I took it out for a blast in the western part of our island and I came back with a high degree of respect for the Macan S. Not only could it handle a series of tight bends with well-controlled body movements and responsive steering, it even has the pace to exit each and every corners with nary a sweat. Ok, so the 265/45 R-20 front and 295/40 R-20 rear Michelin Latitude Sport 3 might complaint (I reckon a set of ultra high-performance rubbers would change things) early, but this SUV still has more to offer each and every time I thought I was reaching its limit. And despite the tall stance, the Macan S is also able to iron out mid-corner bumps, well, like a boss — while some cars might start to disconnect (whereby the front two wheels are reading things differently than the rear), you get full confidence from the Macan S.

And here is Porsche’s neat party trick: on top of the - take a deep breath - all-wheel drive system, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Stability Management (PSM), present also in the Macan S is the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system with an electronic rear differential lock. If this whole list of nannies seems too much for you to register, just see it as (cough… cough…) “maximum grip”.

Inside is your typical Porsche: solid build quality, leather everything (a minute of silence for the cows that lost their lives) and Panamera-inspired centre console. Which also means days needed for you to get familiar with every single control buttons.

The cockpit is obviously well thought-out by the interior designers — you get a comfortable driver seat that has a myriad of controls (useful if you have more than one driver in the family), the steering wheel is perfectly sized and shaped and the displays are clear and concise.

While the rear bench is able to accommodate up to two adults and a child with ease, missing air-con blowers for them could be a major turn-off for buyers in our climate.

In a nutshell, the Macan S is near flawless. It looks oh-so-handsome, is terrifically fast and handles more like a hot-hatch than anything else. You can even say what Porsche has created here is a new class of car: the “Sport Utility Performance Active Hatchback”. Or should I say, SUPAH.

And looking at the healthy sales figure, I smell big bonuses for all Porsche employees at the end of this financial year.