We bow to Porsche’s Macan Turbo; rated unanimously, around the world, to be the best-handling SUV ever made. We believe that this badge of honour is a simple testament to the fact that it wears the Porsche badge, after all. Though the Macan sports an extravagant price tag which nudges cars that are from a segment above, we need to be fair and pass a judgement only after a full-fledged test drive.
We get our hands on one such Macan Turbo and reveal whether this hurricane is actually worth all that money..
A glance at the Macan is all that's needed to convince anyone that this is truly a sports car design which has been elevated to the height of an SUV. Huge grilles all over the nose indicate that whatever’s nestling under that hood needs nothing less than a storm to give it such breathing power.
As much as the overall stance exposes the smooth and pleasing curves that unite with a strong shoulder line all the way to the rear, those extravagant spider reminiscent wheels, red-callipers, carbon fibre door inserts and four exhausts add that tinge of hostility to this ‘Turbo’ package.
Once belted in the driver’s seat, one can't help but relish the superb build quality, and pristine materials used in crafting this exquisite piece of machinery. Everything here is designed to make one feel exclusive, and a thick three spoke steel finish steering with the Porsche badge adorns the two toned dash that’s split by a layer of brushed aluminium trim. Silver and chrome accents are used to highlight most of the dash, door pads and centre console. Talking about the centre console; it's nothing short of a cockpit with an array of buttons, a slick shifter and the Macan badge proudly etched.
One will appreciate the comfort offered by the front seats thanks to great cushioning, bolstering and top drawer thigh support since it is electrically adjustable. What’s distinct here is that these seats have aggressively sculpted contours on both the backrest and seat bottom, and propose a plethora of electric adjustments to hug the driver for brilliant lateral support. Even tall occupants shouldn’t have anything to complain about the head and knee room is on tap in the front.
On the flipside, the rear portion of the cabin feels a bit cramped, and the highly set windows and large front seat really don’t help matters. But what does help is that huge panorama sunroof and light cream interiors which kind of make up for it. Though the seat is adequately comfy thanks to the contours, backrest and thigh support on offer, legroom is in short supply especially for tall passengers. That said, the seat backrest can't be adjusted for angle, and some may find it bit upright. A tall transmission tunnel running through the middle means squeezing that third occupant would mean sacrificing on the other passengers comfort.
With the Macan Turbo, expect features such as LED fog lamps, twin dual-tube exhausts, ‘SportDesign’ side-skirts, 19-inch wheels with red brake callipers, Porsche ceramic composite brake (PCCB), and an air-suspension with Porsche active suspension management (PASM). Also available is a panoramic sunroof, a leather package, adaptive sports seats, Porsche communication management (PCM) with a navigation module and a large touchscreen, and a Bose surround sound system with 14 speakers, to name a few.
This is the best part! Lurking beneath that bonnet is a 3.6-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 that spins out a healthy 400bhp at 6000rpm, and lets out 550Nm of torque in the process, starting at a low 1350rpm all the way to 4500rpm. But that’s on paper, right? Twist the key and the motor fires up with an optimistic growl that reminds you that this is the real deal. Once on the move, all one can feel is the subconscious urge to hit that Sport Plus button on the console!
Make no mistake, Comfort and Sport are fast enough by all means and anything more than a regular tap on the accelerator pedal will get the motor to downshift with an eagerness to whip out its potential. When you hit the Sport mode, the engine management system opts for a mapping that offers an even sharper response. So, the transmission ends up selecting a lower gear to aid the performance requirement. Sprints get quicker and the engine feels more alive (if you thought it wasn't already).
Sport Plus is more like a shotgun mode. It immediately shoves the transmission into an even lower gear and propels you without any hesitation. Our VBox recorded 4.69sec for the 0-100kmph run, and 3.21sec and 3.80sec for 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph sprints. You get pinned to the seat while the engine rides the power curve, and all you notice is everything whizzing past blisteringly quick while the eyes are unable to keep up with the velocity of the digital speedo. The maniac seven-speed PDK transmission shifts each gear in fractions of a second with no interruption in the power drift. Using the slick paddle-shifters on the multifunction sports steering wheel works swell too.
Now, each of these modes have pre-set adjustments to the ride height, stiffness of the suspension, and the response from the steering. There’s something unique about how Porsche engineer their steering, and it feels more like a human brain was working in place of the electronics on-board. This power assisted electromechanical steering in particular, though it is on an SUV, is quick off the centre and responds to driver input as if was an extension of the human body. It weighs up brilliantly as speeds rise, and demonically encourages you to exploit the entirety of the insane package this Porsche has to offer.
With very few turns from lock-to-lock, driving the Macan even within city limits, is not challenging in any way. Now, inspite of the ride being firm, which is felt over bumps at lower speeds, it does not really get to the point where one feels uncomfortable. Porsche’s active suspension management (PASM) is permanently active, and electronically controls the absorption by continuously adjusting the damping force based on the current road conditions and driving style with the aim of increasing driving stability.
Armed with this suspension setup and Porsche’s traction management (PTM) active all-wheel drive system, this SUV handles remarkably thanks to the distribution of drive force between the rear axle and the front axle. Regardless of the intensity of any bend, it holds the intended line impressively. And even if the rear steps out, a quick fling of the steering swiftly corrects and settles it in an instant.
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||400 @ 6000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||550 @ 1350|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||75|
|Tyre size||235 / 55 R19 and 255 / 50 R19|
|Twin dual-tube exhausts||Yes|
|LED fog lamps||Yes|
|19-inch wheels with red callipers||Yes|
|Porsche ceramic composite brake (PCCB)||Yes|
|Air suspension with Porsche active suspension management (PASM)||Yes|
|Adaptive sport seats||Yes|
|Porsche communication management (PCM) with navigation||Yes|
|Bose surround sound system with 14 speakers||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Max. Power (bhp@rpm)||400 @ 6000||543 @ 6000|
|Max. torque (Nm@rpm)||550 @ 1350||680 @ 1250|
|Gears||seven-speed PDK||eight-speed auto|
|Fuel Capacity (in litres)||75||105|
|Tyre size||235/55R19 (Front) & 255/50R19 (Rear)||275 / 45 R21|
Porsche’s Macan Turbo is an incredible experience. Engineers have fused a sports car with a compact SUV without sacrificing the true sportiness of the package. Regardless of whether it’s you or me behind the wheel, the sense of driving a genuine sports car is present. With the Porsche badge shining bright on the body, one can expect nothing but the best when it comes to outstanding steering abilities, shattering handling and brilliant dynamics. Does it really matter if this Porsche costs Rs 1.14 crore? Nope, we believe it hardly matters.
Pictures: Kapil Angane