2014 Porsche Macan Review 2

Second take on the baby SUVs from Porsche and something’s not quite right…

By Shahzad Sheikh

Porsche Macan

It took me a long time to get over the Porsche Cayenne. Even knowing that it is the car that has single-handedly pretty much saved the German sportscar (actually that should now just be ‘car’ manufacturer), and allowed us to have more legendary 911s and marvellous proper thrill-drives such as the Boxster and Cayman.

I grudgingly accepted that it was quite good, but it wasn’t until the second generation Cayenne arrived in 2011 that I started to sneakily ‘like’ it – don’t tell anyone though!

Porsche Macan

It’s for posers, right?

So the arrival of the 2014 Porsche Macan – or ‘Machan’ as my colleague Imthishan tells me it’s supposed to be pronounced – was not such a surprise or as radical a move on the part of a Porsche that is blatantly wooing non-sportscar, but distinctly status-conscious people, looking for a fancy key to flash in the face of the great unwashed.

Porsche Macan

This latter point is underlined by the heft of a beautifully sculptured, very un-Machan-like, key fob that apes the silhouette of stretched 911. The logo is plainly apparent on the now standard Porsche key, and just to be sure a leather key ring emblazoned with the shield of Stuttgart ensures there is no mistaking you for anything other than a sainted Porsche driver – unless you’re actually the owner of a cheap USB stick from Dragon Mart that is.

As an experiment I held the delightful device in my hand for a couple of hours at the mall, and I could feel the many looks clocking the posey accessory and boring into me – hating and envying in equal amounts.

Porsche Macan

So you couldn’t afford a Cayenne?

But I digress. The Machan is there for those that, somewhat inexplicably, find the Cayenne just slightly too big (but not too ostentatious, of course) and want something smaller. Though not cheaper. Read Imthishan’s report from the first drive of the new Porsche Macan at this link. I read it too, and this is what I learnt: for less than the price of a Machan Turbo, I can have a V8 Cayenne GTS with 20bhp more. Huh?!

Porsche Macan

And whilst the Machan S is nearly AED100k less than the Turboed edition, it’s still only a thousand dirhams less than the ‘base’ Cayenne Platinum edition, which admittedly does have 40bhp less. However the point being that unlike when the Boxster/Cayman owner is accosted with the mocking jibe ‘so, you couldn’t afford a 911 then,’ the Machan owner would be within their rights to indignantly retort, ‘well actually, yes I could afford a Cayenne!’

Porsche Macan

‘So why did you buy a Macan then?’ And in fact: why would you buy a Machan? Even after several days with both the Machan Turbo and Machan S, I’m still left asking that question, with no hint of a logic-laden response forthcoming out of the haze of confusion misting up my mind.

Porsche Macan

Are they any good though?

But let’s pretend the big brother Cayennes didn’t exist for a moment, and assess these little tigers (for that is what ‘Macan’ means in Indonesian, don’t you know) on their own standing.

Well don’t buy the Turbo whatever you do. Not only is it hideously expensive for what amounts to a rebodied and reengineered Audi Q5 – and that’s before the inevitable speccing up that elevates the price from sky-high to truly stratospheric – but it’s also really not that special to drive.

Porsche Macan

The car I tested had been respecced from 19-inch wheels to 21-inch wheels – which looked absurdly large and made the ride jittery – and lowering the car, which you could do (as well as raise it for off-roading, which you would never do) just amplified the sore point. The Sport and Sport Plus buttons – which are normally so startlingly transformative on 911s and Boxster/Caymans – made barely an iota of difference. And performance was underwhelming for something wearing the lettering T U R B O on the back.

Things improved significantly however when I stepped down to the S – it’s down on power by 65bhp, has nearly 70 less torques, but weights 60kg less and loses only about half a second on the 0-100kph run. Running on 18-inch wheels it’s a smoother, more comfortable ride. The tyres have more give so the handling is more entertaining and frankly the performance is closer to what I was expecting from the Turbo.

Now at this point I have say that as the normally excellent PDK transmission in the Turbo that I drove, often struggled at low stop-go speeds to change up through the lower gears, it could be that there was something majorly wrong with this particularly car and my assessment of its performance could possibly and probably be unfair.

However I made Porsche aware of this on returning the car and asked them to get back to me with their findings if any. But since I’ve not heard anything I must go with my first hand impressions.

Porsche Macan

Verdict – numbers just don’t add up

Even so, as good as the Machan S was – and it was significantly better than the Q5 – it was not as enjoyable to drive as, for example, a Range Rover Evoque with a lesser four-cylinder motor, and now with reduced prices starting from just AED199,000 and topping out at AED260,000.

Porsche Macan

Though both seem outrageously expensive when you realise you can buy, what I consider the best family SUV out there right now, the Jeep Grand Cherokee for anywhere between AED144k for a V6 to AED208 for a range-topper with a HEMI V8. Then there’s the fire-breathing SRT8 version – still cheaper than a Machan S at AED237k.

PorscheMacan_12

You’ve got to really love having a Porsche in your car park to justify buying a Machan, and if you do love Porsche, then you might was well love the car that saved it, the Cayenne, which is actually the more enjoyable and satisfying car to drive of the two anyway. But if you really must have a Machan, buy the S, not the Turbo.

2014 Porsche Macan – Specs

How much?
Macan S: 3.0 V6TT 335bhp AED253,000 ($68,880)
Macan Turbo: 3.6 V6TT 395bhp AED348,900 ($94,990)
Engine:
Macan S: 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo, 335bhp @ 5500-6500pm, 339lb ft @ 1450-5000rpm
Macan Turbo: 3.6-litre V6 twin-turbo, 394bhp @ 6000pm, 406lb ft @ 1350-4500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch (PDK), all-wheel drive
Fuel Economy:
Macan S: 7.5L/100km
Macan Turbo: 7.4L/100km
Performance:
Macan S: 0-100kph 5.4 seconds, Top speed 255kph
Macan Turbo: 0-100kph 4.8 seconds, Top speed 267kph
Weight:
Macan S: 1865kg
Macan Turbo: 1925kg

Which would you have? Machan, Cayenne or a Suzuki Jimny? Tell us below

4 responses to “2014 Porsche Macan Review 2”

  1. Porsche says:

    I get that he likes the s more. The reasons are comical to read though. How did this get past an editor. Inconsistency everywhere when comparing the two.

    • MadBison says:

      Comical? No. Balanced and unbiased, yes. Have you read his Vanquish review? Very few Editors in the publishing game are fearless enough to tell it like it is. You clearly have a Porsche bankroll stuffed up your arse.

  2. Mishari says:

    Amazing article. My cousin wanted to buy a Macan but when he saw the price and how small it is compared to the Cayenne, he changed his mind.

  3. Andy says:

    I wonder how many Macan has been sold in the Middle East.
    I haven’t seen many around…
    Any Macan owner feed back here pls ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *