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FIRST DRIVE: 2019 Porsche Macan S is ‘a true sport utility vehicle’


The 2019 Porsche Macan S is powered by a turbocharged, 3.0-litre V6 that makes up to 348 horsepower and 352 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 2019 Porsche Macan S is powered by a turbocharged, 3.0-litre V6 that makes up to 348 horsepower and 352 lb.-ft. of torque. - Richard Russell

I’ll bet not many Porsche purchasers had fuel economy at the top of their wish list. I certainly would not have thought of that factor when picking up the 2019 Macan.

A week and several hundred kilometres later, I was more than a little surprised to see I had averaged 8.3 litres/100 km. Considering my driving style and how much any Porsche encourages such driving, that number was impressive.

And this wasn’t the new 248-horsepower, four-cylinder Macan! It was the S model with a turbocharged V6 under the hood producing an additional 100 horsepower. The mileage topped off a week-long appreciation of the other facets of the smallest Porsche utility vehicle.

The Macan has become the brand’s best-seller, representing almost half of all Porsche sales in this country.

Rather than mess with success, the mid-cycle refresh of the 2019 Macan includes a variety of subtle visual changes — principally at either end of the vehicle.

LED headlights are incorporated in a new and wider grill. Width is also emphasized at the other end where the taillights run the full width of the vehicle.

- Richard Russell
- Richard Russell

The interior has come in for an update and here again wider is better. The infotainment screen is 28-cm wide compared to 18 cm in the outgoing model.

That screen is now used to control the Porsche communication management system. You can also use your voice to control a variety of functions. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi is now standard as is a navigation system.

The ignition is to the left of the steering wheel and the tachometer occupies the prominent centre position in the instrument panel, in typical Porsche fashion.

The front seats are adjustable in a number of ways. Combined with the tilt and telescope steering column, drivers of any size or shape should be able to find a comfortable position.

The rear seat offers accommodations for two, there is ample headroom, but not a lot of legroom. The cargo area is similarly on the small side.

Unlike the latest versions of the Panamera and 911, the centre console retains a myriad of buttons and controls.

The base Macan has the VW/Audi family’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The next step up the price and performance ladder, is the test vehicle — the Macan S with a new 3.0-litre V6 with a twin-scroll turbocharger nestled in the V. The new engine puts out 13 more horses than the old V6, of the same displacement. It also allows the Macan S to sprint from rest to 100 km/h in only 5.1 seconds.

While the fuel mileage was a surprise, everything else about the Porsche lived up to expectations. The response to inputs is amazing — whether it be throttle, steering wheel or brake pedal. The combination of these and a thoroughly engineered suspension system make this a sport utility vehicle — one of a very few deserving that name.

The turbo is in the valley of the V6 allowing extremely short distances from the exhaust port to the turbo. This helps to all but eliminate dreaded turbo. Thanks to the forced induction, torque peaks at only 1,860 rpm so there is plenty of grunt from the get go.

In addition to the new engine, Porsche engineers have tweaked the suspension and brakes.

The steering is a model of accurate feedback and immediacy and the brakes can take full-on panic stops all day long with no evidence of fade.

At $55,500, the base Macan is the least expensive Porsche. The more powerful Macan S starts at $63,000. Of course, as with all things Porsche, prices can escalate quickly as you dabble with the option sheet.

The tag for the tester was more than $82,000 and there were many options still available. But you won’t find a more responsive and fun-to-drive utility vehicle anywhere near this price. Porsche earned and maintains a reputation for exceptional sports cars.

The runaway success and immense profits from the Macan and Cayenne utes enables to company to continue developing and refining those sports cars.

- Richard Russell
- Richard Russell

The specs

  • Model: 2019 Porsche Macan S
  • Engine: turbocharged 3.0-litre, V6, 348 horsepower,352 lb.-ft. of torque, premium fuel
  • Transmission: seven-speed automatic
  • NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway combined: 8.9
  • Length: 4,696 mm
  • Width: 2,098 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,807 mm
  • Weight: 1,865 kg
  • Price: $63,000 base, $82,010 as tested, including freight
  • Options on test vehicle: Volcano grey metallic paint, $790; leather package in black/garnet red, $2,230; adaptive air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension management, $3,140; heated steering wheel $370; painted 21-in alloy wheels, $4,530; Premium Plus package (includes: auto dimming mirrors, keyless entry and start, ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, Apple CarPlay); $6,700

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