Porsche Macan: towing the company line

By Miles Downard

Porsche’s Macan may not tickle the fancy of a purist but it’s none the less the company’s most important vehicle, simply due to the sheer volume in which it sells. One can almost think of it as the reason Porsche can continue to make things like the 911 GT 3. So in that light it’s no bad thing.

Now there’s a new one. It’s still based on the VW/Audi group platform that’s shared with other vehicles like the VW Tiguan and Audi Q3, only with a dose of Porsche-ness to set it apart. Or so they say. So I headed off to the Cape recently to see if that is indeed the case.

What’s good?

In my view the main selling point for the Macan is it’s price. Starting at approximately R850,000 you might think I’m mad but remember this is the cheapest car in the line up. It says Porsche on the front. And it competes very favourably in value terms against cars from ‘lesser’ brands, such as BMW, Mercedes Benz and the aforementioned Audi.

Then there’s the power-plant options, a 2.0 litre turbo petrol four pot and a thumping 3.0 litre V6 turbo. The base model is good for 180kW which isn’t too shabby while the big guy will rip up the road with its 260kW. Mated with Porsche’s renowned PDK double clutch gearbox it’s a very slick package, dare I say slicker than the rest of the petrol powered offerings out there.

The cabin is also quite lovely. Laid out in typical modern Porsche fashion, the centre console is neat and well considered with a nice big infotainment screen in the middle of the dashboard to house navigation, audio, various vehicle settings and the parking cameras.

What’s not so good?

Porsche’s ethos is that it makes sports cars, regardless of the fact that the body shape might be that of an SUV. Obviously given that the Macan shares a platform with the least dynamically exciting mid-sized premium SUV of the lot, the Audi Q3, I didn’t hold much hope for the Macan.

What I can say is that it’s much better than the Audi. Whether I can say there’s an inherent Porsche sports car-ness, I’m not so sure. For my money the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is a more sorted SUV. Whether anyone cares how well their SUV handles I’m even less certain. Probably not, in which case the Macan is perfect in that it’s better than most and most people don’t want a sports car for an SUV.

Pricing

As mentioned there are two Macan models. The 2.0 litre hits the price sheets at R849,000 with a three year maintenance plan; an extra R50,000 will extend the plan to five years. Competition from BMW’s X3, the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q3 are near the same money. The 3.0 litre Macan starts at R1,149,000.

Verdict

I think I’d be hard pressed to stand in the showroom of Mercedes, Audi or BMW with R850,000 in my pocket knowing well that I could rather be stood in a Porsche showroom taking delivery of a Macan. I think that says it all.