Owning a car like the 2017 Porsche Macan can constantly remind you of the great automotive adventures you could be having. Sure, you're bound to spend much of your time in it nudging along in traffic, but as you feather the responsive throttle, hear the distant rumbling of the exhaust and feel the meaty, weighted action of the perfectly contoured steering wheel, it's easy to start thinking of what might be.
Instead of staring at the back end of a Pontiac, you could imagine sitting at the base of Pikes Peak. The road is closed to other traffic, there are 12 miles to travel, 156 turns to make, 7,800 feet to climb and you can go as fast as traction and skill will allow. It's the sort of adventure a turbocharged Porsche was made for, and in the case of the Macan, it's a dream scenario that can be undertaken with three people and some luggage along for the ride. It's this inspired potential as much as the Macan's actual, thoroughly impressive capabilities that makes this compact luxury SUV one of the most desirable in its class.
The Porsche Macan GTS is new for 2017, representing the most engaging and visually arresting version of this compact luxury SUV.
And indeed, that desirability grows even greater for 2017 courtesy of a pair of new trim levels and additional standard equipment. For those who really want to experience that Macan potential, the new GTS trim level might be the way to go. It slots between the S and Turbo, bringing with it a standard, reworked sport version of the otherwise optional air suspension, along with extra power and a variety of aesthetic enhancements.
On the other end of the spectrum is the new Macan base model for those less concerned with all-out power (though its turbocharged four-cylinder engine should still deliver acceleration that's among the class leaders). It brings with it a lower base price for 2017, but it's actually about the same as when the previously entry-level Macan S debuted in 2014. At least you get more standard equipment now, though, with a standard rearview camera and parking sensors (items BMW and Mercedes-Benz annoyingly make you pay extra for) along with a lane-departure warning system that is an option on competitors.
Porsche's touchscreen interface has also been given an overhaul for improved functionality, and the inclusion of Apple CarPlay. Of course, options still tend to be a bit more expensive in the Macan and since they are added à la carte, you'll likely find that the price moves with eye-popping speed.
Then again, eye-popping speed is literally what you can get from the Macan, and for that it remains one of our top-recommended compact luxury SUVs despite its questionable value and subpar ability to carry rear passengers and luggage. As such, we would still recommend taking a long look at its highly desirable competitors, including the BMW X3/X4, Jaguar F-Pace and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class -- all of which are available with the sort of high-performance capability that the Macan pioneered for the class. Now, would they inspire a journey to Pikes Peak -- real life or imagined? Perhaps, but it's the Macan that is bound to feel most at home.
Also new for 2017 is the Macan base model. The only notable difference between it and the Macan S is under the hood.Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Porsche Macan includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, front knee airbags, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and a lane-departure warning system. Optional safety features include a forward collision warning and mitigation system (bundled with adaptive cruise control), a blind-spot warning system and a lane-keeping assist system (will steer for you should you not heed the standard system's warnings).
In simulated panic stops from 60 mph, Edmunds recorded distances of 121 and 120 feet for the Macan S and Macan Turbo, respectively. These are perfectly acceptable, and average distances for vehicles equipped with all-season tires.
There have been no third-party crash tests performed on the Porsche Macan.
The Macan's cabin is impeccably made and highly customizable.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Porsche Macan is a compact luxury SUV that seats five people. It is available in five trim levels that correspond to different engines: base, S, GTS, Turbo, and Turbo with Performance package. All come standard with all-wheel drive.
The base Macan comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a lane-departure warning system, a power liftgate, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, foglights, automatic wipers, rear privacy glass, heated mirrors, cruise control, three-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, partial leather and simulated suede upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear seat and a cargo cover. Electronic features include the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) 7-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports and a 10-speaker sound system with satellite and HD radios, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a media player interface and 11GB of digital music storage.
The Macan S gains a bigger V6 engine, 19-inch wheels, bigger brakes, different exterior trim types and dual twin-pipe exhaust ports.
The GTS has a more powerful version of the S engine plus a sport-tuned adaptive air suspension, 20-inch wheels, bigger brakes with red calipers, unique exterior design elements, a sport exhaust, adaptive headlights, front seat memory functions and heated sport seats unique to the GTS.
The Macan Turbo builds on the Macan S with an even more powerful V6 engine, different 19-inch wheels, LED running lights, brakes and exterior styling elements, adaptive headlights, an upgraded power steering system, 18-way adaptive and heated sport seats, full leather upholstery, simulated suede headliner, a navigation system added to the PCM and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
Porsche is also offering a new Macan Turbo with Performance package trim that adds some engine tweaks for more power, the air suspension with a lower ride height, power-folding mirrors and a heated steering wheel.
Darkened taillights and blacked-out trim and tailpipes are just some of the Macan's many customizable elements.
Apart from the engine and styling elements, all of the Turbo's extras are available on the other trims as part of the Macan's extensive options list. Although virtually all of those options are available as stand-alone items, there are two noteworthy packages that could make ordering or selecting a Macan a little simpler. The Premium package adds the adaptive headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, heated front and rear seats and the 14-speaker Bose system. The Premium Package Plus adds those items plus a panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, and 14-way power front seats with ventilation and memory functions.
Other options include (and we do mean "include" because there are countless trim, color and material customization choices) LED headlights, different wheels from 18-22 inches, surround-view parking cameras, lane change assist, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, thermally and noise-insulating privacy glass, roof rails, an adaptive suspension (PASM), the adaptive air suspension, a sport exhaust, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (brakes individual wheels around turns to improve handling) and the Sport Chrono package (an enhanced Sport Plus driving mode and launch control). Inside you can get a heated steering wheel, rear side sunshades, extended leather interior trim, a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system, the navigation system functionality, a six-CD changer, Porsche connect smartphone apps and a 16-speaker Burmester sound system. The GTS and Turbo can be equipped with carbon-ceramic disc brakes.
We like the balance of price and performance you get in the Macan S. It has more capability than you'll ever need, yet it doesn't ever feel uncomfortably aggressive. If you find the endless options list overwhelming, keep things simple with the Premium Package Plus, which adds a nice grouping of desirable equipment without getting too fancy with the customization possibilities.
The new 2017 Porsche Macan base model has more power and torque than the turbo four-cylinders of most rivals.
Quite simply, no other compact luxury SUV is more engaging and fun to drive as the 2017 Porsche Macan. Some may come close, but the degree of capability and driver connection is elevated to a degree that makes its Porsche badge represent more than just a fashion statement.
No matter which engine you opt for, you're going to get acceleration that either matches the class best or utterly blows it away. And while the Macan's steering doesn't communicate as well as what you get from a Porsche 911, it's still better than the majority of cars on the road -- let alone SUVs. The same could be said of the handling in general. Grip is plentiful, and the Macan changes direction with confidence and poise. It encourages the sort of driving you'd expect to experience in a sport sedan rather than an SUV. Note, however, that if you want the full effect and have room in the garage for a set of winter tires, we would highly recommend the summer tires for their added grip.
Thankfully, this impressive handling capability doesn't translate to a stiff-legged ride over bumps and ruts. Indeed, the Macan is quite comfortable and quiet over just about any road surface, something that cannot be said of other athletic SUVs. The optional 20-inch wheels don't upset the ride enough that we would recommend avoiding them if you prefer the looks of a larger wheel.
The Macan has an exceptionally well-crafted cabin, with materials that have an upscale look and feel to them (which get even nicer should you start opting for some of the extended leather options). The dashboard layout clearly mirrors many other modern Porsche designs, 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, it doesn't take long to acclimate to them thanks to a logical layout. The new PCM touchscreen interface for 2017 represents a welcome improvement over its predecessor, with better responses, cleaner graphics and easier-to-use menus. You can also pinch, zoom and swipe as on a smartphone.
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. And, as we've come to expect from Porsche, even the base seats are exceptionally well contoured and afford long-haul comfort as well as reassuring side-to-side support for more spirited roads. The two optional seat designs throw in additional adjustments, including those for the cushion and side bolsters.
However, there is a price to pay for this overtly sporty ambience, as the Macan is one of the least practical compact luxury SUVs. Though the backseat isn't that much worse than those of rivals, the cargo area is on the small side. With the rear seats in use, the Macan's cargo capacity is a trunklike 17.7 cubic feet; fold them down and you'll still only have 53.0 cubes. This makes it smaller than all but the fashion-first Range Rover Evoque and a far cry from rivals like the BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.