2016 Porsche Macan Review

Full review of the 2016 Porsche Macan S.

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• Automotive: New Cars • Automotive: Review

Matt Anderson's Take
For many, the Porsche Macan is just a tiny Porsche Cayenne. For others, it's an abomination since Porsche shouldn't be producing water-cooled engines much less sport utility vehicles. But to those in the know, the 2016 Porsche Macan S is a fantastic vehicle.

Of course, my first choice was a Tesla Model X. Well, at least until I found out it wouldn't have a 360 surround view camera, I'd have to wait another year for it even though I had a longstanding reservation, and that they'd only sell the price list vehicles first. For more on that, see Why I Canceled My Tesla Model X Reservation. But it all worked out because I ended up with a 2016 Porsche Macan S instead.

Is It A Tiny Cayenne?


At a glance it's easier to think that a Macan is a smaller version of the Cayenne since they do have a similar overall appearance and silhouette. A closer inspections shows that they're actually quite different. Think of the Cayenne as a truly capable off-roading SUV. Something that, if it wasn't so expensive and you had no fear of scratching the paint, you'd take off road into any conditions.

By contrast, the Macan is more like a car that has been lifted up a bit. It's more cross-over (CUV) than SUV. As for the size, the Macan really isn't much smaller than a Cayenne. It's about 6 inches shorter in length, about 4 inches shorter in height, and has 1 inch less ground clearance. While the widths of both vehicles are almost the same, the Cayenne feels like a wider car on the inside.

The Macan has a more sporty look overall, which makes sense since it's not trying to be the off-road SUV powerhouse that is the Cayenne.

Macan S VS Macan Turbo


This one confuses a lot of people since both are actually turbos. Meaning, the Macan S has a 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged engine in it even though it's not considered a "turbo". The S makes 340 hp 339 lb-ft of torque. The Macan Turbo has a 3.6 liter twin-turbocharged engine that makes an extra 60 hp and 67 lb-ft of torque.

The Turbo version also has a slightly different front end which looks like it really means business. Most of the options are available on both versions. So the main reason for buying a Turbo is the speed as it will hit 60 in 4.4 seconds (4.6 without sport chrono) compared to the S which will hit 60 in 5.0 seconds (5.2 without sport chrono).

Exterior


Styling is always a matter of taste but I love the look of the Macan. I liked the Cayenne a lot as well but something wasn't quite right there. The Macan's proportions are spot on to what a good cross-over vehicle should look like.

The doors of the car have what Porsche calls "side blades" which are basically pieces of plastic that are supposed to visually reduce the height of the car. It's a Jedi mind trick and, while it probably works, just feels unnecessary. They don't look bad but I could do without them.


The front has a huge mouth on it along with active aerodynamics that open and close shutters to the radiator. If the engine isn't too hot the shutter close for better mileage. The hood is something to note since it's an unusual clamshell style. Meaning, the huge hood is one piece so the entire front opens rather than having separate body panels for the front fender tops. It's a clean look for sure.

The rear has an awesome looking quad exhaust and firing the car up never, ever gets old. The noise it makes as it gives itself a short rev burst is music to the ears.

Interior


There's something special about Porsche interiors. The leather is unusually soft and makes you wonder how most other car manufacturers can even call their materials leather. The new car smell here is about as delicious as it gets.

But the seats. Oh, those wonderful seats. The standard seats are nice, the upgraded seats with 14-way power and memory are out of this world. Add in heated and ventilated seats and you're butt has never had it so good. They also have an 18-way seat upgrade with higher sides that better hold you in but this likely isn't needed to make a Costco run.


The center console looks like something out of a 1970's jumbo jet because it's filled with buttons. Most car companies like to give you as few buttons as possible. Maybe they'll have you use a touch screen which is a pain while driving. Or maybe it will be a rotary dial to navigate menus, also not fun at speed.

Porsche believe in buttons and as much as I love smartphones and tablets, they're spot on here. There are a lot of buttons but each one does just one thing. No menus to hunt through. Learning the buttons is actually easy and once you do you'll love how easy it is to do anything you want. I feel like their slogan should be "At Porsche, there's a button for that" much like Apple's old "there's an app for that" line.


As for that back seat, I've read people say it's not very roomy. It's supposed to fit three people but it has a center hump so it better be a short trip if you have three back there. For a family with two kids, it's beyond roomy. If you're coming from a Mini Cooper like we were, it's like a freaking arena back there.

If you get the heated front seats the back will come heated as well but the back passengers cannot get ventilated (cooled) seats. They will, however, get their own HVAC controls where they can adjust temperature levels (+/- about 5 degrees from the main settings).

Options


Options on Porsche vehicles are ridiculously expensive. That's their thing. Some are worth it while others, well, probably not.

On the must have side, the two most important things for me are cooled (ventilated) seats and 360 surround camera. The first one keeps your buns cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The second one adds four cameras to the exterior of the car and combines the video feed into one screen. It's like having a GoPro mounted on a 10 foot pole above your car and pointing straight down. You can see everything around your car which is important when parking. You can also use it to peek around corners if you're pulling out and have a blind corner in front of you as well as a traditional backup camera. It's incredible, you must have it, and it pairs with the Park Assist option which will also beep if you get too close to stuff.

The Lane Change Assist is another great safety item. Ours arrived not working from the factory but after months of "waiting on a part" it's all fixed. I've had this in other cars but on the Macan it's smarter. It doesn't go off when I pass trees or signs or even if the freeway cement barrier is next to me. It only lights up when a vehicle is in my blind spot.

Stuff that I don't see as necessary include the Sport Chrono package which makes the car about 0.2 seconds faster to 60 from a complete stop. Where can I use this in the real world? Nowhere. Without it you still get the cool looking, retro clock.

Other performance options like Porsche Torque Vectoring, Ceramic brakes, and Sport Plus Mode seem silly in a vehicle like this. I suppose if you plan to race it these make plenty of sense, but racing a vehicle like this is silly. Go get a cheap, used Miata instead.

The same goes for the optional air suspension. I mean, are you really going to take your $70k vehicle onto dirt trails? Didn't think so.

Of course, you'll often end up with grouped option packages. In my case I ended up with the panorama roof which I normally wouldn't have purchased but now really like.

Wheels


I love how large wheels look on a car. Don't get me wrong, it's easy to go too large when it comes to wheels. Rolling with 24's on your Prius is just stupid. But 20's and 21's look amazing on the Macan. But they also kill the ride and make it overly sporty for daily driving. At least in my case.

So I stuck with the standard 19 inch wheels (you can downgrade to 18's if you want) because roads here in Hawaii are terrible. Our road crews don't seem to know what a pothole is, much less how to find one and fill one. So if ride quality is a concern you might be best off with the 19's.

Fuel Efficiency


You're not buying a Porsche to save the planet so does this even matter? It kind of does. Kind of. But not much. The Macan S is rated at 17 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway. Of course, depending on how spirited your driving style is your mileage will vary. Both the S and Turbo require premium fuel as well.

There is an auto stop/start feature that will shut the engine off at stoplights. It will also disengage the transmission so you can "coast" on the highway. It's all about improving your mileage. But auto stop/start is a terrible idea and annoying to use in the real world so you'll try it once to prove it works and then disable it and never use it again. Lucky for you, there's a button for that!

The Drive


It's hard to describe how the Macan drives. It's really a sports car more than anything. It handles like a sports car and has incredible power. Hit the gas at any moment and the PDK seems to anticipate your intentions and can knock itself down a few gears in less than the blink of an eye.

In normal "comfort" driving mode the car is so smooth that you don't realize you went from 30 to 70 MPH in a quick tap of the accelerator. In Sport mode it stays revving a bit higher so there is more of a sense of speed there, but not much. Never has merging onto a freeway been more fun.

The car soaks up bumps and crappy roads with ease, at least with the 19 inch wheels. It's also very nimble at speed and in a parking lot. The speed sensitive steering means that parking the Macan is a piece of cake.

As for the brakes, well, let's call them "touchy". When you touch the brakes Porsche must assume that you want to stop. Like right now. They are super grabby and take some getting used to but also comforting knowing that you'll be able to stop fast if needed.

2016 VS 2017

The 2016 models have been out since the end of 2015 / beginning of 2016 but you can also now order a new 2017 model. There are very few changes between the models but the 2017 will add better iPhone car integration (via Apple Carplay) along with full LED headlights. The 2016 model comes with Bi-Xenon headlights with the daytime running lights as LEDs. The 2017 model year also introduces the GTS model which fits in above the Macan S and below the Macan Turbo in terms of power.

The 2017 model is also a bit more expensive even if you don't order the new Carplay option or LED headlight option. Porsche seems to understand supply and demand well and know they can raise the price another couple of grand just because. Of course, even with the 2016 base price around $48k, there's no way you'll be paying that. Count on another $20k (at least) in options before you walk out the door.

Of course, you could always wait for the upcoming (and cheaper) 4 cylinder Porsche Macan to show up. But yea, why would you want to when you can have their V6 goodness.
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Matt Anderson
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