First Drive: Porsche Macan S Diesel
Sector: Premium SUV Price: £43,300 Fuel: 44.8mpg CO2: 159g/km
You might not think that you are likely to have many Porsches on your fleet, but I’d wager that is about to change.
That is because the new Porsche Macan is set to rival the Range Rover Evoque as the corporate car many executives desire above all. In the next 10 years, industry analysts reckon global market demand for this small SUV sector will quadruple from around 400,000 units currently to nearly 1.8 million because, instead of smart, sleek saloons and estates, buyers are increasingly wanting something a little chunkier, a little more distinctive.
The Macan most certainly ticks those boxes. Based loosely on the Audi Q5’s platform, so smaller than the Cayenne, its steeply raked rear window and aquiline nose make it look a lot less oafish than its big brother. In fact, it is a very good-looking car and in a sector where aesthetics are important, it looks well-judged.
The cabin is equally impressive, smeared with firm leather and a plethora of buttons, which is something of a Porsche trait as other manufacturers increasingly group functions on TV screens and rotary controllers.
There are two turbo petrol engines offering as much as 400bhp, but the diesel will be by far the biggest seller, and it’s not hard to see why. Its 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine impresses with a maximum torque of 428lb.ft, 255hp and combined fuel economy of 46.3 mpg. CO2 emissions at 159 g/km is hardly something to write home about, but then company car drivers who choose a Porsche are hardly in it for financial brevity, are they?
What they are in it for is a badge with bomb-proof brand values and performance, and on both counts the Macan scores. Already, the first 12 months’ allocation is sold out and the residual values are likely to be as healthy as any car on sale, which should help chisel a few pounds off monthly lease rates when the time comes.
When it comes to performance, the Macan is in a different league to any other SUV. With the clever four-wheel drive system adapted from the 911 Turbo and air suspension, the higher-end performance models handle more like sports cars than family 4x4s. It’s so utterly mind-bending that you have to recalibrate your expectations of what a car like this can do.
The diesel, with some with springs as standard, is a little less surprising in the way it takes corners and more typical of high-sided cars but the trade-off is an improved, more supple, ride quality.
The range of standard features in the Macan S Diesel is fairly extensive, but then it is hardly cheap with prices starting at more than £43,000. And, as with all premium brands, you have to be careful when browsing the options list or you can inflate the price incredibly.
The cleverest option is Torque Vectoring Plus, which offers variable distribution of the drive torque to the rear wheels in conjunction with an electronically controlled rear differential lock. The result is that this SUV now handles more like a Cayman.
It’s a remarkable thing with incredible performance and very high quality. You will pay through the nose for it, and the wait for one will be long, but it will be worth it.