Sometimes, whether we like it or not, life demands a modicum of practicality.
This is how Porsche came to build four-door models in the first place. Many would thrill to own a 911, but not everybody can easily integrate one into a multifaceted and demanding family lifestyle.
And so, along came the Cayenne mid-size SUV, the Panamera sedan, and then the Macan compact SUV, all designed to keep the dream of Porsche ownership alive for those who assumed they would need the excuse of a mid-life crisis to park the pride of Stuttgart in their driveways.
The Macan was the last of these to emerge, released for the 2015 model year to give Porsche a car to set against top-selling German contemporaries such as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. It entered the market in a sweet spot: large enough to fit two adults and two children, tall enough for easy access and year-round Canadian driving, and luxurious and prestigious enough to be worth the price tag.
In the middle of the lineup sits the Macan GTS. Tucked between the base 252 horsepower Macan and the 440 horsepower Macan Turbo, the GTS model’s 360 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque strike an appealing balance between pragmatism and romance, keeping just enough performance in reserve to liven up the occasional sprint through mountain pass switchbacks.
Paired to its 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine is Porsche’s 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. All Macan models come with all-wheel drive and a fully independent multi-link front axle to go with the multi-link rear, but the GTS also comes with sportier tuning to its Active Suspension Management electronic damper control system, a lower ride height, and 20-inch wheels, which contribute to highly dynamic handling characteristics for its class.
It goes from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 5.2 seconds—1.5 seconds faster than the base Macan—and selecting the available Sport Chrono package reduces that time further to 5.0 seconds. (Those for whom sheer performance matters most can look to the Macan Turbo with Performance Package, which makes that transition in 4.4 seconds.) The Sport Chrono package adds a Sport Plus drive mode that quickens throttle response and adjusts the settings of the stability and traction control systems, along with a launch control feature and a dashboard-mounted analog and digital stopwatch.
As a quirk of automotive product cycles, the Macan may be the newest in Porsche’s four-door family, but both the Cayenne and Panamera have undergone redesigns in the last two years. This means that the Macan is the final two-row product awaiting Porsche’s newer centre console design and infotainment system. Some critics prefer the legacy version, while others find the newer one to be cleaner in layout and more user-friendly. A refreshed Macan, due to arrive sometime in 2018, might include this updated system; as such, those considering a Macan may wish to test drive a new Cayenne or Panamera as well to take a closer look at the new design. Either way, the Macan reminds us that practicality doesn’t have to be boring.
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