Skid Marks

Porsche Macan 2018


The mild facelift on the Porsche Macan includes new-design 18-inch wheels shod with Pirelli Verde.

The Porsche Macan and I have very fond memories. I was first able to sample the car in early 2015 during an exclusive drive around Baden-Wurttemburg in Germany a few months prior to its Asian release.

My guide, who is a works driver for the Porsche factory team and a chauffeur to the Porsche Group Board Members, took me to so many secret driving locations that only locals knew, according to him.

Suffice to say, we did a lot of “unorthodox” testing, such as a good amount of jumping, and sliding around in dirt, mud and mounds of leaves and a bit of black ice.

It was amazing and revolutionary to think a Porsche could be this practical and surprisingly, affordable.

Suffice to say, it found a special place in my heart, and remained to be my favorite compact luxury SUV.

The Macan shares its basic chassis architecture with the Audi Q5, as does the engine and transmission. But Porsche being Porsche, it will always be more driver-focused.

Hence, the bits that matter, the ones you feel and interact with, have that sense of heft that gives one confidence on the road.

Driving a Porsche is indeed rewarding, but will also always be a conscious effort—not for the absent-minded driver for sure.

Three years after its launch, a mild facelift was in order for this volume seller.

Locally, PGA Cars is tight-lipped as to how many they’ve sold, but there’s no question about its popularity. Go to Greenhills, Ortigas, Makati, BGC, Alabang or any other posh neighborhood or CBD, and you’ll see a lot of them.

Exterior-wise, the main difference are a set of new-design 18-inch wheels shod with Pirelli Verde high-performance all-season tires sized 255/55R18 available for the base Macan (internally called as the R4 variant).

On the inside, you get Porsche’s all-new communication management which features a large LCD screen plus a revised navigation system.

It also has Apple Carplay, voice command, lane departure warning for added safety, and two USB ports. Nothing major, but more small things to improve convenience.

Of course, if you really want to break the piggy-bank, you can go crazy with options: 20-inch wheels and tires, special leather package, exterior body trim, interior/exterior color combinations…the list goes on with an almost infinite number of permutations of interior and exterior options available.

It’s what you don’t see that gets a more significant upgrade: the 2.0 TFSI engine now delivers 252 hp and 370 Newton meters of torque (previously, it was 237 hp and 350 Nm of torque).

The improved power-to-weight ratio, increase in efficiency, and, though not mentioned, a tweak in the 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, deliver noticeable improvement on fuel consumption.

On the highway, I was able to get an honest-to-goodness 15.5 kilometers per liter from my weekly drive to Tagaytay at 100-110km/h.

Left and above photos: Inside the Macan, you get the Porsche’s all-new communication management with a large LCD screen and revised navigation system.

It seems to want to actually cruise at around 130-140km/h (typical Autobahn speeds), and might have delivered even better fuel efficiency as 7th gear is quite long.

In the city, even with the engine start/stop feature disengaged, the Macan delivers an honest-to-goodness 8-8.5 kilometers per liter.

Bumper-to-bumper in rush hour saw fuel efficiency dip to about 6.6 km/liter, but that’s after being stuck in traffic for 2 hours on Edsa.

This engine, which sees action in the entire Volkswagen-Audi Group, is a real gem: you’ll find it on sedans, MPVs, SUVs and hot hatches, and is surprisingly highly-tuneable with the right supporting modifications. Just don’t tell Porsche Philippines else you’ll void your warranty.

The added grunt also makes driving more enjoyable overall: there’s just more response, more urgency, but at the same time, more smoothness from the engine.

At times, you can barely notice the engine turning over especially on a highway cruise, and were it not for the sport-tuned suspension, the impressive NVH isolation will lull any baby to sleep in minutes.

It makes for the perfect Porsche family car as it’s easy to get in and out, thanks to a modest but still very welcome 182 mm ground clearance, and has a decent fording depth of 300 mm.

Both ground clearance and fording depth can be raised further if you opt a Macan with the air suspension, which can raise it by as much as an additional 2 inches.

Even today, Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche believed that a proper sports car should have precise, responsive steering, yet it shouldn’t be overly-sensitive and nervous.

The Macan, despite being a luxurious 5-seat compact cross-over, has that perfectly weighted, intuitive steering wheel that many other so-called sports cars, sports sedans and coupés sorely lack.

Likewise the impressive 4-piston front and 2-piston rear brake calipers, which brush off speed effortlessly, consistently with excellent feel, feedback, progression and modulation.

Perhaps the sole minor complaint I have about the Macan is the sloping rear roofline going towards the C and D pillars: it’s too rakish, which cuts into the headroom especially if you’re over 5-feet 10-inches tall.

Otherwise, the interior is roomy and comfortable.

The boot is useful, but unfortunately doesn’t seem to fit a golf bag unless you drop the rear seats.

Few things are as right, as simple, and timelessly elegant as a Porsche.

Looks will always be subjective, and it may lack the aural drama (Italian) or the painlessness (rival German brands) of other marques.

But the way you get in, sit down, reach for the steering wheel, feel the brakes, and be one with the car—be it a long drive, a short commute, or a day at the track or some dirt trails—it’s going to be hard to find anything better than the Macan.

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