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2024 Porsche Macan EV First Drive: Building a Better Macan

The Macan SUV's new electric variants prove superior

2024 Porsche Macan EV front 3/4
  • The Porsche Macan adds two fully electric variants: the Macan 4 and Macan Turbo.
  • Both have a dual-motor all-wheel-drive system and a 100-kWh battery pack.
  • The electric versions aren't just better to drive; they're better to live with, too.

The stakes are high whenever a company decides to update its best-selling model, and Porsche is no exception. The Macan has been a bit hit for the automaker; last year, Porsche sold more Macans in the U.S. than Panameras, 718 Boxsters, 718 Caymans and 911s combined — plus about 6,000 more units than the Cayenne SUV, as well.

For the Macan's next chapter, it's going electric. But hold on, there will also still be a gas version. You read that right — the Macan EV and the gas versions will be sold alongside each other, though Porsche has reserved two trim levels exclusively for the EV: Macan 4 and Macan Turbo. 

We drove a prototype of the Macan Turbo on an unofficial highway range test, but we finally got our chance to get behind the wheel of the real deal — plus a Macan 4 — in France. And finally, we get to tell you how the electrified Macans drive, because we've been sitting on this secret since December: They're phenomenal.

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Less gas, more power

It's telling that Porsche reserved the Turbo nameplate for the Macan's electric variant given that it usually designates the top dog of a model range in terms of power and speed. And it's entirely warranted here, as the Macan Turbo far outpaces the most prestigious gas variant, the Macan GTS. 

The Macan Turbo makes 576 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque most of the time, but if you activate launch control, those figures are boosted to 630 hp and 833 lb-ft. That's enough to get the Macan Turbo from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. The Macan GTS, meanwhile, makes 434 hp and takes 4.3 seconds to make the same sprint to 60 mph. Advantage: electrons.

The Macan 4 is no slouch either, with 382 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque (boosted to 402 hp and the same torque with launch control). There isn't a gas version of the Macan 4 anymore, but the base Macan sits far behind its EV counterpart, with 261 hp. The Macan 4 takes 4.9 seconds to get up to 60 mph.

2024 Porsche Macan EV frunk

Both the Macan 4 and Macan Turbo use a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup with a 100-kWh battery pack, with the Turbo adding an electronically controlled rear locking differential.

If your priority is top-end power, go for the Turbo. But we think the Macan 4 offers plenty of performance; on a public road there's no real way to access the Turbo's greater abilities legally or safely. Porsche's engineers candidly said that they prefer the Turbo, but that's because they live where there's an unrestricted autobahn, and the top speed matters there. But for us in the States, the Macan 4 will be just fine.

Can it turn?

The gas-powered Macans feel more like hot hatches than SUVs thanks to their precise steering and well-calibrated driving dynamics. We were afraid that sharpness might be lost in the Macan EV, mostly because it weighs a full 1,000 pounds more than the heaviest gas version.

2024 Porsche Macan EV wheel

What saves the electric versions in this regard is the low center of gravity. Mounting the big battery pack down low in the chassis helps keep the Macan balanced and allows it to maintain the small SUV's handling acumen. Both Macan variants we tested also came with an optional rear-wheel steering system, something that isn't available on gas versions, which helped with this SUV's agility. Turn-in was sharp and there was plenty of feedback through the steering wheel, always letting us know what the front wheels were up to. As artificial as EV acceleration can feel at times, the Macan EV's handling was the opposite; we always felt perfectly connected to this SUV.

U.S.-spec versions of the Macan EV will come standard with an air suspension and adaptive dampers, allowing it to switch natures at a whim. On broken pavement, the Normal suspension setting is compliant and does a great job of absorbing road imperfections without upsetting the ride, even when the Macan is fitted with its largest 22-inch wheels. Flip the switch over to Sport and the stiffened suspension turns the Macan into a compelling canyon carver.

Our concerns that the Macan might lose some of its verve in the switch to electrification were assuaged. The Macan EV is genuinely great to drive — and not just for an SUV.

2024 Porsche Macan EV interior

Technology upgrades

For a deeper dive into the Macan changes to its interior and technology, check out our first look article to get a comprehensive rundown. But there were a few specific updates that made our time behind the wheel more enjoyable — specifically, the head-up display.

This isn't usually a feature that we're excited to test, but in this case, Porsche made some big changes. The display is meant to look like an 87-inch television sitting about 30 feet away from the driver, because if it's that far away, your eyes can see it without having to change focus. So instead of having to refocus your eyes when looking at the HUD information, you can just quickly glance down and it all appears clearly. It's a neat trick.

Tied into the HUD is a new integration with the native navigation system, which has an augmented reality function that displays blue arrows when turns are approaching. It works fantastically; on unfamiliar roads we only made one wrong turn when we didn't trust the arrows, and this was on a day filled with roundabouts and quick turns through narrow French streets. The native nav was so good that we didn't miss Google Maps at all.

2024 Porsche Macan EV gauges

Route planning in EVs continues to be a challenge, and there aren't any automakers that are really good at it (outside of Tesla). But as a test, we mapped a route from France all the way back to Porsche's HQ in Stuttgart, Germany, and the nav quickly displayed a route complete with timed charging stops and a real-time view of the charger's status. The whole thing took 5 seconds.

The Macan offers wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but using it can drastically drain your phone's battery. To fix that, Porsche bumped up the power of the Macan's wireless charging pad to 15 watts (three times more powerful than the gas Macan's charging pad). Porsche also added a fan under the pad and small rubber fins so your phone is slightly elevated, in an effort to reduce heat buildup.

2024 Porsche Macan EV rear 3/4

Cost is the catch

The Macan EV is so impressive that we never once missed anything about the gas versions — except for maybe the GTS' exhaust note. The Macan 4 and Macan Turbo surpass their gas-powered brethren in almost every metric. More power? Check. Better handling? Check. Smarter technology? Check. A back seat that can actually fit a car seat and adults? Check, check.

The problem is that this EV won't be cheap. The Macan 4 starts at $80,450 including destination charges — more than $15,000 more than the base Macan. The Macan Turbo cranks the price dial up even more to $106,950. But at least we'll get lots of standard equipment; U.S.-spec versions come with a panoramic glass roof, an air suspension with adaptive dampers, and adaptive cruise control.

Edmunds says

Porsche may have set out to build an electrified version of the Macan, but the result is simply a better Macan. It has the same handling prowess and drivability, but more power and speed, a larger interior and improved technology that makes the SUVs easier to live with than before. Talk about a win.