Road Test: Porsche Macan S Diesel
Sector: SUV Price: £43,648 Fuel: 44.8mpg CO2: 164g/km
It would be entirely appropriate, regardless of the manufacturer, to be a little sceptical of claims that an SUV can match up to the sports car DNA mentioned in the Porsche Macan’s marketing literature.
This is a difficult combination to get right, and one which can result losing both the style, performance and agility of a sports car and the supple ride, practicality and light off-roading ability of an SUV. But if anyone was going to crack the formula, Porsche seemed like a likely candidate. The Macan completely resets the goalposts in this segment.
It also resets Porsche’s own goalposts. While it isn’t targeting the volumes of other premium brands, the carmaker is seeking an increased presence in fleet and the Macan is the jewel in its company car crown. A combination of Porsche desirability and dynamics, but with realistic running costs for the senior-level employees likely to be able to pick it on the options list.
It’s strong even from an aesthetic point of view. While the Cayenne can look slightly awkward and bulky from some angles, the Macan’s tapered roof, muscular shoulder lines and sculpted three-dimensional rear lamps give it a convincing sports car presence. Considering how little the Cayenne’s controversial styling did to blunt its popularity, this bodes well for the Macan.
Like the Cayenne, the platform is derived from an Audi, but heavily modified. Porsche has dropped the centre of gravity compared to the Q5, equipping it with low-weight suspension components, staggered tyre sizes front and rear, and the same electro-mechanical power steering system as the latest 911.
Without condeming the Q5, this transforms the driving experience. Although the adaptive dampers fitted to the test car (a worthwhile £785 option) help, the Macan manages to offer the stability and steering feedback of a well set-up four-wheel drive hot-hatch, but with the ride comfort of a compact executive saloon with wheels considerably smaller than the 20-inch items fitted here.
The drivetrain is also familiar from Audi, using the 258bhp 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine found across the Volkswagen Group portfolio and in the Cayenne. It’s a quiet engine while cruising and offers a muscular shove of torque from 1,750rpm, reaching 62mph in 6.3 seconds from rest, yet the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox defaults to the highest possible gear to return palatable fuel economy on longer trips.
Plus the business case gets stronger the more you look into the Macan. It’s up against the new BMW X6, which is closely matched on performance, economy and pricing, and it isn’t significantly more expensive than sportiest diesel Audi Q5 S line. Considering the growing waiting list and the Cayenne’s record, residual values are likely to be excellent, which will benefit leasing rates.
So not only is the Macan able to satisfy as a performance car and an SUV, but it manages to be a luxurious and desirable option which is relevant to the fleet sector too. Those who are lucky enough to be able to choose one will find it’s worth the wait.
While Porsche is a newcomer in fleet, the Macan does everything needed to be an excellent company car, without compromising on its heritage.