Full 2015 Porsche Macan Review
What's New for 2015
The 2015 Porsche Macan is an all-new compact luxury crossover SUV.
Given the great success Porsche has had with its midsize Cayenne crossover SUV, it was just a matter of time before the company expanded the family with a compact crossover offering. But just because it's smaller and less expensive doesn't mean the 2015 Porsche Macan is any less worthy of that iconic crest-shaped hood emblem. Make no mistake, the new Macan comes packed with the speed, handling and engaging driving character one would rightfully expect from the maker of the 911 and Cayenne.
Although it shares some components with the 2014 Audi Q5, the 2015 Porsche Macan (pronounced "Ma-cahn") has its own engines, suspension design and, of course, styling. Furthermore, Porsche has engineered it to drive more like a rear-wheel-drive performance car than most premium-brand crossovers. The Macan's standard all-wheel-drive system normally directs most of the engine's power to the rear wheels, and that power is only redirected to the front wheels when needed to maintain traction.
That power is generated by one of two available V6 engines. For the Macan S, there's a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 340 horsepower. On the Macan Turbo, a turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 uncorks 400 hp, which is far and away the most power you'll find in a small luxury crossover SUV. Either way, you get a quick-shifting automated manual transmission as standard (Porsche's PDK), just like on the automaker's sports cars. Porsche has also readied the Macan with a sport-tuned suspension and optional features not often found in this class, such as grippy summer-rated performance tires, an adaptive suspension and a torque-vectoring rear differential -- all of which benefit its handling abilities around turns. There's also an optional air suspension that can be used to raise the Macan's ride height to 9.1 inches, thereby bolstering this crossover's capability on dirt trails.
Hardware like this doesn't come cheap, of course, so it shouldn't come as much surprise that the Macan costs more than other compact luxury crossover SUVs. And that's just the base price -- it's easy to boost the bottom line another 30 percent just on optional equipment. The Porsche's closest competitor is the Audi SQ5, which has a 354-hp supercharged V6 and a similar starting price to the Macan S. Meanwhile, the less costly 2014 BMW X3 is still pretty sporty and arguably a better value, plus it offers more cargo space with the rear seats in use. The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque is another alternative, though its tighter rear quarters and smaller cargo capacity are notable drawbacks.
These are all fine choices. But if you desire the utmost performance from your small crossover luxury SUV, the 2015 Porsche Macan is your best bet in this crowd.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Porsche Macan is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV available in base S and higher-performance Turbo trim levels.
Standard equipment on the S includes 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power/heated sideview mirrors, auto engine stop-start, active bi-xenon headlights, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, full power accessories, leather/simulated suede upholstery, eight-way power front seats with memory settings, 40/20/40-split-folding rear seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen and an 11-speaker audio system with CD player and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Macan Turbo adds a more powerful engine, adaptive suspension dampers, unique 19-inch wheels, unique front/rear fascias, LED foglights, full leather upholstery, Alcantara headliner, aluminum accents, 18-way power front sport seats with memory settings, heated front seats, a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system (also adds satellite radio and HD radio) and a navigation system.
Some of the features of the Turbo are available on the S as options. Other options (some of which are grouped into packages and are dependent on trim level) include 20- or 21-inch wheels, summer performance tires, variable torque vectoring (Porsche Torque Vectoring) for the rear wheels, an adaptive air suspension, body side skirts, skid plates, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors (with or without a rearview camera), auto-dimming mirrors, adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, and keyless ignition and entry. Inside, Porsche offers triple-zone climate control, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, full leather upholstery, 14-way or 18-way power front seats, ventilated front seats, smartphone app integration (Aha Radio), a 16-speaker Burmester audio system, voice-command functionality and adaptive cruise control. 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.
Powertrains and Performance
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) sends the power to all four wheels. According to Porsche, the Macan S can sprint to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds (5.0 seconds if equipped with launch control, part of the Sport Chrono package). Automatic engine stop-start is standard.
The Macan Turbo is ably propelled by a bigger turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine with 400 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The Turbo also has the seven-speed transmission and all-wheel drive. Porsche claims a rapid 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds (4.4 seconds with launch control).
Hauling your Cayman to track days with your Macan seems feasible, too. Properly equipped, the Macan is rated to tow up to 5,291 pounds.
The 2015 Macan comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a knee airbag for each front passenger. Optional safety features include front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, frontal collision warning and mitigation system (with automatic braking), blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning and keeping assist.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Macan's cabin reflects modern Porsche design themes 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 in here, 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. There's a price to pay, however, 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 SQ5 and X3. Fold them down and you'll have 53.0 cubes, a little less than those two rivals but still better than what you'll get in an Evoque.
The turbo 3.0-liter V6 in the base 2014 Porsche Macan S pulls with plenty of gusto, and the lightning-quick shifts from the PDK transmission don't hurt a bit. Adding to the grin factor is the aggressive but not overbearing exhaust note. Predictably, the 400-hp Turbo model feels faster and livelier as you go down the road, and it sounds even better. One minor demerit for the Macan is that its automated manual transmission can be a little rough-shifting at lower speeds while in Sport mode. If this bothers you, the conventional automatic transmissions in the SQ5 and X3 might be more to your liking.
Driven briskly around turns, the Porsche Macan is easily one of the most entertaining small crossover SUVs in existence. Thankfully, this impressive handling capability doesn't translate to a stiff-legged ride over bumps and ruts. Indeed, the Macan is pretty comfortable, particularly when equipped with the adjustable air suspension. It's also pleasingly quiet at interstate speeds.