2015 Macan: Porsche's New SUV Sports Car

By Sue Mead, August 2nd, 2014

With the all-new 2015 Porsche Macan, the German automaker has expanded its lineup to include a whole new class of vehicle to join the highly popular compact SUV segment. It's no surprise that the 2015 Macan excels in performance, as Porsche is well known for its "sports" vehicles, regardless of size or class of the model.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Porsche Macan is poised to set new standards in the field of driving dynamics and enjoyment -- on both pavement and off road trails
Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Porsche Macan is poised to set new standards in the field of driving dynamics and enjoyment -- on both pavement and off road trails

The five-passenger Macan is no exception, as it's engineered to "set new standards in the field of driving dynamics and enjoyment both on pavement and on off-road trails," says Detlev von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. The name Macan comes from the Indonesian word for tiger, chosen by Porsche for the vehicle's sleek and powerful design and driving mission.

In truth, it is more of a "sports crossover" or CUV than an SUV. What you'll notice first when you see the highly sculpted and elegant exterior is that Porsche's sports luxury DNA is carried over to the new Macan. The side view window silhouette and the sloping roofline at the back, known at Porsche as the "flyline," are a clear nod to the Porsche 911, as are the rear fenders that share the same graceful profile.

The large air intakes are typical of Porsche and highlight the vehicle's potent performance mission, while the body is made of super-high-strength steel and designed with high integrity for collisions.

The interior of the Macan is sporty and elegant, with high-quality materials and craftsmanship. There's a decidedly cockpit-like feel with an ignition switch to the left of the steering wheel in a nod to Porsche models and racing heritage, a forward-sloping center console with a high-set gear selector, including a collection of gauges and function switches that rival a fighter jet.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Porsche Macan is poised to set new standards in the field of driving dynamics and enjoyment -- on both pavement and off road trails

strong>Macan comes in two models: Macan S and Macan Turbo. The S version is priced starting at $49,900 and the Turbo begins at $72,300.

The Macan S is powered by a new 3.0-liter V-6 twin turbo engine that delivers 340 horsepower and 339 lb.-ft. of torque. It scoots from 0-to-60 mph in 5.2 seconds (or 5.0 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package) and gets an impressive top track speed of 156 mph.

As the top model the Macan Turbo is said to be the most powerful vehicle in the compact SUV class (according to Porsche). The Macan Turbo gets a new 3.6-liter V-6 twin turbo engine that achieves 400 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque, giving it a top speed of 164 mph and 0-to-60-mph times of 4.6 seconds; when equipped with the Sport Chrono Package, it can get there in 4.4 seconds.

Both engines are mated to Porsche's quick-shifting PDK seven-speed transmission that has Sport, Sport Plus, and Off Road modes. Both engines get 17 city/23 highway fuel ratings. A standard off-road mode enables the Macan to ascend and descend steep backcountry tracks, as a result of all-wheel-drive traction controls, sheet metal that has been carved for good angles of approach and departure, and a high ground clearance enabled by an adjustable air suspension system.

Also standard with the off-road mode are "hill hold" and downhill assistance (Porsche Hill Control, or PHC) that keep the vehicle speed constant during descents; it can be adjusted to between 2 and 18 mph and holds the vehicle in place on an uphill. Ground clearance can be increased by 1.58 inches above its normal level with Porsche's optional air suspension chassis, which gives the CUV a top ground clearance of 9.06 inches.

Manufacturer photo: The 2015 Porsche Macan is poised to set new standards in the field of driving dynamics and enjoyment -- on both pavement and off road trails

strong>Three are three chassis versions: One is a steel spring design; another is a combination of the steel spring and the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, which comes as standard in the Macan Turbo and can be selected as an option for the Macan S. Combining the steel spring design and PASM will allow for ride variance at the touch of a button, with Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings. A third system is an air suspension that brings vehicle leveling and height adjustability for loading luggage or navigating rough backcountry trails.

We drove the two models over a course of more than 200 miles, traveling along the Angeles Crest highway, known for its tight and twisty corners and elevation changes as it snakes over the San Bernardino Mountains near Los Angeles. The centerpiece of the ride and drive day was at the Willow Springs Raceway, where we were able to test the handling at high speeds on the track macadam and along a sandy off-pavement track that required precise traction due to its steep up-and-downhills.

We were thoroughly taken by the Macan's highly competitive acceleration and braking figures, impressive engine power, boastful agility and steering precision, as well as the sports car's mountain-goat-like handling on the off-road course.

strong>Of note are the Macan's seats: standard is an electrical eight-way comfort seat on the driver's and passenger side that can be adjusted, while Turbo models get 18 way adjustments. The rear seats three passengers and can be split 40:20:40. Optional front-seat ventilation has three-stage control for the seat surfaces and backrests.

Porsche Traction Management is an all-wheel-drive system that is considered one of the world's most powerful. It is the enabler for Porsche's on-the-track and off-road prowess. Macan was built with a dual mission and its designers and engineers have hit a home run on both counts.

Specifications

Base price $49,900 (as tested: $50,895)
Curb weight 4,112 lbs.
Displacement 3.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 19.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 340 at 5500 rpm
Motor type Twin turbo V-6 w/DI
Overall length 184.3 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 339 at 1400-5000 rpm
Transmission 7-speed PDK
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD compact SUV
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