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2015 Porsche Macan S, Turbo First Test

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/17/2014 Courtesy of the Manufacturer, Motor Trend Staff, Christian Seabaugh

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to drive a Porsche 918 Spyder for three-quarters of a lap around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The rare opportunity to drive a million-dollar, almost-900-horsepower hybrid hypercar wasn't just due to me being in the right place at the right time, but also to two generations of Porsche Cayenne SUVs.

Hear me out: Without the Cayenne and the cash infusion it provided to Porsche, neither the 918 Spyder nor its Carrera GT predecessor would exist. Since its inception the Cayenne has been a huge hit for Porsche, and the 2015 Porsche Macan, now on our shores in Macan S and Macan Turbo forms, takes that tremendously capable sports SUV package and shrinks it ever-so-slightly. Porsche expects to sell 50,000 of them globally each year. If our first test is any indication, those lucky 50,000 owners will be incredibly satisfied.

It's quite easy to dismiss the new Macan as an Audi Q5 with a track suit on. Both crossovers ride on the same Volkswagen MLB platform, both are about the same size, and both V-6 engines are mounted in front of the front axle. Yet Porsche does much to separate the Macan from the Q5, with only about 20 percent of the Macan's parts interchangeable with the Q5's. Not even the engines are the same. The base (for now; a cheaper model is coming) Macan S sports a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V-6 making 340 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque. The top-trim (also for now) Macan Turbo gets a 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V-6 that produces a healthy 400 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. All Macans, like the Q5, are all-wheel drive. While the Audi SQ5 also sports a 3.0-liter V-6, its version is supercharged, making 354 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque -- leave it to VW to fill a gap where there was none. Further differentiating the Audi from Porsche is its transmission; the Macans get the automaker's lightning-fast PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, while the Q5 makes do with a traditional eight-speed automatic.

2015 Porsche Macan S© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Porsche Macan S So how's the Macan drive? Incredibly well -- as you'd expect from a Porsche. The base Macan S hits 60 mph from a standstill in 4.9 seconds and completes the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds at 102.1 mph. Big 13.8-inch brakes help the Macan stop from 60 mph in just 119 feet. Our Macan S tester, equipped with both the Sport Chrono package and the ride-height-adjustable Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) with air suspension, needed just 26.2 seconds to lap our figure-eight course, pulling an average of 0.71 g in the process. The Macan Turbo is faster still. Also equipped with PASM and the Sport Chrono pack, the Macan Turbo zipped from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds, before completing the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 106.2 mph. Slightly larger brake discs help stop the Macan Turbo in just 102 feet. The high-power Macan needed only 25 seconds to complete the figure eight, averaging 0.78 g.

Again, the Audi Q5 splits the difference between the two Macans. The last SQ5 we tested hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and knocked out the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds at 102.2 mph. The Audi stopped from 60 mph in 104 feet and lapped the figure eight in 25.9 seconds at 0.71 g on average.

On the fuel economy front, neither Macan is particularly impressive. Both versions are EPA-rated at 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined. Our Real MPG test of the Macan S found the EPA tests were about accurate, with it achieving 17.1/23.3/19.4 RMPG.

2015 Porsche Macan S© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Porsche Macan S While one Macan might be faster than the other at the track, both drive phenomenally on the road. "Such poise, sure-footedness, and locked-down body motion control," wrote technical director Frank Markus of the Macan S. He's completely right. The Macan S is so quick, capable, and buttoned-down that I found myself wanting more from the V-6 under the hood. Luckily the Macan Turbo provides just that. Booting the throttle tosses you hard back in your seat in the Macan Turbo, and the SUV remains remarkably planted, hustling through corners at speed -- I guess I shouldn't be so surprised, considering the badge on the hood. Though a couple staffers would have liked the Macan to offer up more steering feedback off-center, both excel in back and open road driving. The Macan is the type of car you can get in and just drive for hours -- it's equally at home at the track as it is on the highway, and, somewhat surprisingly, off-road.

Yes, we off-roaded these Porsche SUVs. How could we not? Tapping the Off-Road button raises the suspension up, firms up the shocks to the stiffest setting, and changes the throttle response and traction control settings, as well as moves a bit more power to the front wheels. Even without a low-range four-wheel-drive system, the all-wheel-drive Macans excelled in light off-roading. Even with summer rubber and big alloy wheels, the Macans gripped, clawed, and pulled their way around our course with no complaint. Not surprisingly, both Macans remain remarkably fun off-road too, with more than a few of us fantasizing about piloting a Rothmans-liveried Macan around a rally stage.

2015 Porsche Macan S© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Porsche Macan S Not that you'd want to rally either Macan, given their sticker prices. There's no getting around it: These puppies are expensive. The 2015 Macan S comes in at the top of the market with its $50,895 base price, while the Macan Turbo is more expensive still, with its $73,295 cost of entry. As with any Porsche, add options to either Macan and they get pricey fast. Our Macan S tester rang in at $66,805, thanks to big-ticket options such as an air suspension with PASM ($2745), the Infotainment Package ($2990), and the Premium Package ($2590). Our Macan Turbo, on the other hand, was priced well into Cayenne territory. Loaded with options such as a $4290 Burmester stereo, the $4660 Premium Package Plus, $3300 wheels, and more, our Macan Turbo's price was an eye-watering $98,390.

It's hard to justify the purchase of a Porsche Macan by rational means. It's expensive, not exactly fuel-efficient, and sports only a kid-sized back seat. And yet, with the Macan, Porsche manages to bring the Porsche driving experience to a whole new audience. Given Porsche's recent track record for success and the Macan's strong initial sales, I can't wait to see what hyper car I'll be able to thank the Porsche Macan for in the next decade. 2015 Porsche Macan S© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Porsche Macan S


 2015 Porsche Macan S2015 Porsche Macan Turbo
BASE PRICE$50,895 $73,295
PRICE AS TESTED$66,805 $98,390
VEHICLE LAYOUTFront-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUVFront-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE3.0L/340-hp/339-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6 3.6L/400-hp/406-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION7-speed twin-clutch auto. 7-speed twin-clutch auto.
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)4395 lb (56/44%)4544 lb (55/45%)
WHEELBASE110.5 in110.5 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT184.3 x 76.1 x 63.4 in185.0 x 76.1 x 63.4 in
0-60 MPH4.9 sec4.2 sec
QUARTER MILE13.5 sec @ 102.1 mph12.9 sec @ 106.2 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH119 ft102 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION0.83 g (avg)0.90 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT26.2 sec @ 0.71 g (avg)25.0 sec @ 0.78 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON17/23/19 mpg17/23/19 mpg
ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS1.01 lb/mile1.01 lb/mile

2015 Porsche Macan S© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Porsche Macan S
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