Porsche Macan GTS: Macan Gets Guts

The accomplished all-rounder from Porsche’s SUV range gets a sporty upgrade that fills a gap in the Macan line-up.

The Porsche Macan has been an impressive model from the start but there was a noticeable void between the S models at the more affordable end of the range and the hugely expensive Turbo model. This is where the GTS comes in, bridging that gulf with a high performance upgrade of the 3-litre engine, a leaner, meaner stance and a palatable price.

We really liked the Macan when it first arrived as a junior sibling to the much revised Cayenne SUV. It struck a balance between the ‘everyday sports car’ philosophy for which Porsche is renowned, and the practicality of an SUV, without boasting the anti-social proportions of its bigger brother. Not that the plus-sized Cayenne was unpopular. Far from it. The high-performance SUV dared to enter a niche that had been monopolised by the Range-Rover for decades and, in doing so, changed the way car makers thought about the luxury 4×4. Now everybody is doing it.

By the time the Macan came along, SUVs were cropping up in all segments from super-mini sized crossovers to beefed up estate cars, and even Range-Rover was spawning new niche models to capture a piece of any action it had been missing out on. The standard Macan was joined by petrol and diesel ‘S’ variants and by a range topping ‘Turbo’ model, but the step up to that 3.6-litre Turbo was an astonishing £16,500. Enter the GTS. All the sports car you need in an SUV without breaking the bank.

If you did want to break a bank, the GTS would be a handy piece of kit to use. The upgraded 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, taken from the S model and tweaked to squeeze out 360PS, will get you from the scene of the crime to 62mph in just 5.2 seconds. It will max out at 159mph – that’s around the cruising speed of a typical police helicopter, in case we were giving you any ideas. The sports exhaust breaths out a chorus of fury from four glossy black tailpipes, but can be quietened down at the press of a button if you need to make your get-away a little more discreetly.

Cruising along the motorway should be a relaxed affair in ‘Comfort’ mode but, when you find yourself on twisty country roads, selecting ‘Sport’ mode adjusts Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) system to provide a more responsive ride while quickening gear changes and weighting up the steering to give more meaningful resistance. If you’ve ticked the ‘Sport Chrono Package’ option, your Macan GTS will get the extreme ‘Sport Plus’ mode which, if used in conjunction with Launch Control, should knock a couple of tenths off your 0-62mph time.

This is still a four wheel drive car and while, in theory, it should be capable of doing all the things the rest of the Macan range can do off-road, the reality is that it rides 15mm lower to the ground than the other models. This is partly to ensure sportier handling characteristics, but it also plays a big part in giving the Macan GTS its squat, aggressive looks. Lots of black trim helps too and while this looks great matched with Carmine Red paint, that particular colour will set you back a whopping £1,600.  Black and White are the only colours that wont cost extra.

Inside, the cockpit is luxuriously appointed with acres of Alcantara or leather adorning the seats, dashboard, doors and even the roof lining if the notion takes you. All the functions this car comes with can be controlled by the huge back of buttons extending along either side of the gear lever. If you’re an airline pilot, as some Macan GTS buyers may well be, you’ll feel right at home. Boot space isn’t the biggest in its class but at 500-litres with the rear seats up and triple that with them down it is certainly big enough for the demands of most GTS drivers.

The gap between the Macan S and the Macan Turbo was £16,500 – about the price of a decent family hatchback or performance super-mini. It was a big commitment to go for the top of the range model, so the GTS is a welcome ‘go-between’ at just over £55,000. That’s about £9k more than the S model and £7k less than the Turbo though it is still more expensive than most of its direct competitors. The Macan GTS is prestige enough to merit a £5,000 premium over the equivalent BMW X4, and £3,500 over the rival Audi SQ5 , but bear in mind these are both efficient diesel models from excellent car makers. At £51,500, Jaguar’s 3.0-litre Supercharged F-pace S is a compelling petrol-powered performer which may prove to become the Porsche’s nemesis.

Standard equipment on the Macan GTS includes Bi-Xenon headlights, 20-inch black wheels, a sports exhaust system, Porsche’s Communication Management (‘PCM’) touchscreen system, 8-way electronically adjustable sports seats and ‘Lane Departure Warning’ to keep you on the strait and narrow. If you haven’t planned you’re get-away route you’ll be thankful for forking out over £1,000 to include a ‘Navigation Module’ but having to add that to a £55,000 car you may be forgiven for feeling robbed.
If the decision ultimately comes down to running costs, the Macan GTS is at a disadvantage to many of its rivals which are diesel powered. Compared to the unleaded F-Pace, the Macan is marginally more frugal, sipping fuel at 32.1mpg on the combined cycle, against the Jaguar’s 31.7mpg. These are still commendable figures for high performance SUVs but they pale in comparison to the BMW X4 xDrive 35d M-Sport, While both Audi’s SQ5 and Alpina’s very rare, but competitive XD3 can travel around 10 miles further per gallon than the Porsche. As you’d expect it is the same story with emissions, as the Macan coughs up 207g/km of CO2, around the same as the big Jaguar, but again the BMW X4 trumps both, emitting just 157g/km.

Being the more prestigious brand, The Porsche is in the 45E insurance group making it more expensive to insure than either the BMW or Audi rivals. The three year unlimited mileage warranty is matched by the Jaguar and BMW while the Audi’s Warranty expires after 60,000 miles. Servicing intervals are recommended for every two years, or 20,000 miles. Due to the popular nature of the segment, the competitive value proposition and potency of the brand, residuals should be a little stronger than the ‘Turbo’ but may not quite match the lower spec models in the range.

Porsche’s Macan GTS may have been the missing piece of the puzzle, but now that it has slotted in between the accomplished ‘S’ models and the range topping ‘Turbo’ the line-up looks complete. More driver focused, the GTS aims to verify the Macan as a sports car disguised as an SUV. The performance-oriented specification from the black front grille to the polished black tailpipes give the GTS a sense of purpose that other models in the range are now shown to be lacking. As luxurious as it is menacing, the GTS will appeal to a new audience who feel the standard Macan is too soft, but the Cayenne just too big. Being a Porsche, the engineering isn’t just skin deep. The on-road manners do nothing to diminish the Stuttgart maker’s reputation as a world renowned sports car company and while it may still be a little pricey compared to rivals, it is worth every penny.

The edited, published version of this piece can be viewed here: The Scotsman

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