- The Porsche Macan T is great to drive, but ...
- A lackluster engine and other compromises hold it back from being worth considering over other Macans.
- Not to mention how expensive it is when you consider the competition.
2023 Porsche Macan T Review: This Isn't the Macan You're Looking For
The T treatment on other Porsches is delightful, but not here
Porsche makes some of the most riveting performance cars money can buy — the only downside is you often need a lot of it to get your hands on one. Pound for pound, a Porsche often drives head and shoulders above the other models in its segment, and the same can largely be said for the Macan. As with all Porsches that bear the "T" designation, the 2023 Macan T is supposed to deliver a sporty driving experience at a lower price.
So what makes a Macan T? Well, it's not that much. Many of the changes are cosmetic, amounting to agate gray-colored exterior accents, four blacked-out exhaust tips (this is the standard exhaust; the sport exhaust system is still an option), and seats with different stitching. As for more meaningful changes, the Sport Chrono package (which adds launch control and a drive mode switch on the steering wheel), model-specific anti-roll bars, and an updated all-wheel-drive system that sends more power rearward all come on the T as well.
The Macan T we tested was fitted with a few optional extras, too. It came equipped with the adaptive air suspension (air bags that replace steel coil springs) on top of the standard adaptive dampers, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, which is an electronically controlled differential on the rear axle. The optional air springs allow for two height settings, the adjustable dampers control the firmness of the ride, and the electronically controlled rear differential gets this Macan to rotate better when you introduce it to a corner.
In practice, all of this works. The ride is well controlled yet still usable day to day as long as you stay out of the Sport and Sport+ suspension settings, which make the ride far too firm. Its Comfort setting smooths over road imperfections and manages to always keep its Pirelli P Zeros nailed to the pavement. As with other Macan variants, the T drives a lot more like a lifted hatchback than it does a small crossover, and that's a good thing.
The steering is linear and so predictable that it essentially requires no corrections midcorner. You simply turn in, ride it out, and get back on the power. Linear, direct and predictable are all words that perfectly describe the Macan T's dynamics. It's tractable, and as you fling it up and down a good piece of road, it becomes abundantly clear that, dynamically, this Porsche lives up to the badge. Even so, the T is particularly difficult to justify from a value perspective.
And that's where the Macan T falters. Our test car was optioned up to $72,170, and that's a lot for a compact SUV. For your $72,000 you're also likely expecting more than a relatively unremarkable four-cylinder with just 281 horsepower. In our testing the Macan was able to hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5.5 seconds. That's not bad, but that was using launch control and the Macan's Sport Response feature. In everyday use, the little four-banger feels far more labored, and getting up to freeway speeds (or executing a pass) requires you bury your right foot as the engine clatters away at the firewall.
You'd likely also want a car with seats that feature adjustable lumbar support, a center console that won't catch fingerprints instantly, an adult-friendly back seat, an infotainment setup that's compatible with Android Auto (which no Macan features), and an instrument panel display that doesn't look like it was ripped from an HTC smartphone from a decade ago. These are all either optional extras or unchangeable issues that are endemic to the Macan itself.
While some of that might not matter to most Macan buyers (Porsche itself says the average household income of customers who buy the Macan is $440,000 a year), those who see a Porsche like this as an aspirational vehicle may find themselves disappointed. Other SUVs in this segment don't get this pricey until they offer either far more performance or an abundance of extra space, luxury and tech features.
Porsche has been able to eschew the trend of giving you more car for more money because of the reputation it's earned over the last 30 years. And while cars like the 718 Cayman T, 718 Boxster T and 911 Carrera T provide unique experiences that genuinely punch above their weight, the T treatment doesn't pull the same trick in the Macan. Not only that, but this its segment is full of more affordable vehicles that offer more bang for your buck.
When you consider that a base BMW X3 M is $74,400 (before you add options like the more potent Competition package), the Porsche's disappointing value statement is thrown into even sharper relief. The BMW makes almost 200 more horsepower than the Macan T and costs just under $2,000 more than the Macan we tested. It's also far more spacious inside, is significantly quicker, doesn't feature an options list that's a quarter-mile long, and has an interior that's just as luxurious.
If you want a Macan that offers real performance that can back up the hefty price tag, either the V6-powered S or GTS is the way you go. If you want an entry-level Macan that offers a hint of sporting potential, opt for the base car and some sticky summer tires. The Macan T is a fine car in a vacuum, but its existence in the current lineup, and the two-row luxury crossover segment as a whole, is just too difficult to justify, especially given its price tag.
If you’re looking at a Macan, we’d recommend one with the more potent V6.