While the Porsche badge has a long history of being tacked onto the hoods of sports cars, the 2016 Porsche Macan is proof positive that a small crossover with seating for five, a tall ride height and a hatchback cargo area can still have all the performance necessary to warrant the Stuttgart Coat of Arms at the front.
In the compact luxury crossover segment, the Porsche Macan is the fastest and most rewarding vehicle available. With 340 and 400 horsepower available in the Macan S and Macan Turbo, respectively, acceleration is not only tops among compact SUVs, but matches many high-performance sport sedans. The Macan also possesses nimble handling characteristics that will put a smile on your face as you wind your way along a twisting road. While it's not as nimble as Porsche's two-door sports cars, the Macan is certainly more engaging than other rivals or even its bigger brother, the Cayenne. Also impressive is the ride quality, which doesn't seem to suffer much despite the focused performance.
In recent Porsche tradition, the Macan also has an excellent interior whether you go with a base model or decide to check off option boxes to your heart's content (and your wallet's pain). All-around build quality is top-notch, and the combination of physical buttons and a touchscreen interface works very well once you get past the initial learning curve. If you're looking for a refined and high-class feel, the Macan certainly has it.
It's worth noting, though, that the backseat and cargo area are smaller than those in most other competitors. The Macan is also pricier, especially if you sample from that aforementioned options list. So, if you're more interested in luxury equipment than performance, one of the Macan's top rivals may be a better choice. These include the Audi Q5 and SQ5, with their high-quality interior trimmings and wide variety of engine options (including Audi's fuel-efficient TDI engine in the Q5). The BMW X3 is an equally luxurious rival to the Macan, and it offers more cargo space and several drivetrains as well. You might also consider the Range Rover Evoque if you're looking for something with similar style and flair, but with an off-road bent rather than a high-powered one.
In the end, it comes down to a decision about what you want. And if what you want is the fastest, best-to-drive small luxury crossover on the market, the Edmunds "A" rated Porsche Macan should be an easy choice.
The 2016 Porsche Macan is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV available in two trim levels: S and Turbo.
Standard equipment on the S includes a no-cost choice of 18- or 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, privacy glass, automatic bi-xenon headlights (with auto-leveling and cleaners), LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, leather/simulated suede upholstery, eight-way power front seats with memory settings, 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen and an 11-speaker audio system with a CD player and an iPod/USB audio interface.
With the Macan Turbo you get a more powerful engine, bigger brakes, adaptive suspension dampers, unique 19-inch wheels, unique front and rear fascias, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, LED foglights, full leather upholstery, a simulated suede headliner, aluminum accents, heated 10-way power front sport seats (with four-way power lumbar and power-adjustable side and bottom bolsters), a heated steering wheel, a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system (also adds satellite radio and HD radio) and a navigation system.
Apart from the engine and styling elements, most of the Turbo's extra features are available on the S as options. There are also a multitude of other options, some of which are grouped into packages and are dependent on trim level. These include a variety of 20- or 21-inch wheels, high-performance ceramic brakes, variable torque vectoring (Porsche Torque Vectoring) for the rear wheels, an adaptive and height-adjustable air suspension, a dual-note sport exhaust, skid plates, adaptive cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, thermal and noise-insulating privacy glass, several roof rail choices, front and rear parking sensors (with or without a rearview camera), a surround-view camera, auto-dimming mirrors and keyless ignition and entry.
Inside, Porsche offers full leather seat upholstery and/or cabin trim, 10-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, rear side sunshades, smartphone app integration (including Aha Radio), a 16-speaker Burmester audio system, a rear-seat entertainment system, voice-command functionality, satellite radio and HD radio. There's also a Sport Chrono package (featuring a dash-top stopwatch, a launch-control feature and selectable sport calibrations for the engine, suspension and transmission) and an "electronic logbook" that automatically records various driving data for subsequent analysis on your computer. Finally, Porsche offers a dizzying array of available color-matched and leather-swathed interior trim pieces.
From the Porsche Macan's driver seat, the dashboard layout clearly mirrors many other modern Porsche designs, with triple dials for the instruments, a flat dash top and a center console that looks as if it belongs in a Learjet. Although there are many buttons, it doesn't take long to acclimate to them thanks to a logical layout. This is also an exceptionally well-crafted cabin, and the interior materials have an upscale look and feel.
The cockpit-style layout provides a seating position well suited to spirited driving, and the steering wheel takes inspiration from the company's exotic 918 Spyder sports car. And, as we've come to expect from Porsche, even the base seats are exceptionally well contoured and afford long-haul comfort as well as reassuring side-to-side support for more spirited roads. The two optional seat designs throw in additional adjustments, including those for the cushion and side bolsters.
However, there is a price to pay for this overtly sporty ambience, as the Macan gives away some cargo and rear passenger space to its rivals. With the rear seats in use, the Macan's cargo capacity is 17.7 cubic feet, about 10 cubes shy of the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3. Fold them down and you'll still only have 53.0 cubes, making it smaller than most rivals apart from the Range Rover Evoque.
The Macan S is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 340 hp and 339 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission (PDK) and all-wheel drive are standard. At our test track, a Macan S sprinted to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds. This is at least a second quicker than other compact luxury crossover SUVs.
The Macan Turbo has a turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine putting out 400 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The Turbo also has the seven-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. With its launch control system, it recorded a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. That makes it the undisputed quickest compact crossover on the market and puts it on par with some seriously quick two-seat sports cars as well.
The Macan's EPA estimates rate the two engines' fuel economy identically at 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway). Automatic engine stop-start is standard with both powertrains. We confirmed these numbers on the Edmunds 116-mile evaluation route, as both achieved around 20 mpg.
Properly equipped, the Macan is rated to tow up to 4,409 pounds.
The turbo 3.0-liter V6 in the base 2016 Porsche Macan S pulls with plenty of gusto, and the lightning-quick shifts from the PDK transmission make for a lively driving experience as well. The 400-hp Turbo model is definitely livelier, but it is a bit hard to justify the price when the base Macan S is already so rewarding, and we learned as much during our year-long test of a 2015 Macan S.
While the Macan's steering doesn't communicate as well as what you get from a 911 or Cayman, it's still better than the majority of cars on the road -- let alone SUVs. The same could be said of the handling in general. Grip is plentiful, and the Macan changes direction with confidence and poise. The all-wheel drive also lets you put down the power easily. If you want the full effect and don't require all-season tires, we would highly recommend the summer tires for their added grip.
Thankfully, this impressive handling capability doesn't translate to a stiff-legged ride over bumps and ruts. Indeed, the Macan is quite comfortable and quiet over just about any road surface, something that cannot be said of all similarly athletic SUVs at any price. The optional 20-inch wheels don't upset the ride enough that we would recommend avoiding them if you prefer the looks of a larger wheel, and we even prefer the base suspension setup over the optional air suspension. It's that good.
Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Porsche Macan S includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. The Porsche Macan Turbo gets the same equipment, as well as larger front and rear brake rotors. Optional safety features include front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a 360-degree parking camera, adaptive cruise control with a frontal collision warning and mitigation system (with automatic braking), blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning and keeping assist.
In simulated panic stops from 60 mph, Edmunds recorded distances of 121 and 120 feet for the Macan S and Macan Turbo, respectively. These are perfectly acceptable and average distances for vehicles equipped with all-season tires.
For 2016, tri-zone climate control is now standard on every Porsche Macan, and the Macan Turbo gets a heated steering wheel as standard. A surround-view (360-degree) camera is now available as well.