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2018 Porsche Macan: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2018

The 2018 Porsche Macan may represent the sport's car manufacturer's smallest SUV offering, but it is in no way a poor man's Cayenne. Sharing its basic architecture with the Audi Q5, the Macan builds on the Q5's rigid structure and solid safety features by adding a hefty dose of performance and power.

Having spent time behind the wheels of both cars, we can safely say the Macan is definitely the SUV for enthusiast drivers. Porsche revamped the Audi's platform from nose to tail, and the result is a uniquely capable crossover that doesn't look or feel anything like its corporate cousin. Could the somewhat space-challenged Macan be more practical? Sure, but if you harp on the modest cargo and back-seat measurements, you're missing the point. In truth, the 2018 Macan is less of a crossover competitor than it is a handy hatchback for would-be Cayman or 911 buyers who need four doors. Viewed in this light, there's no substitute for Porsche's latest product.

What's New for 2018?

Changes for 2018 are fairly minor. There are some new exterior and interior color options and an improved cabin air filtration system.

What We Like

Impressive performance both on and off the road; unmistakable Porsche styling; sumptuous interior; customization options galore

What We Don't

Humble cargo and rear-passenger space; huge price jump from the base model to the GTS and Turbo; at this price, some optional features should be standard

How Much?

$48,850-$130,000

Fuel Economy

The all-wheel-drive Macan comes with the PDK (Porsche's 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission) and a choice of three engines, one for each trim level. The base Macan gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The Macan S features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 340 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque, while the Macan GTS uses the same engine but tuned for 360 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The Macan Turbo steps up to a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 that churns out an even 400 hp and 406 lb-ft.

As you might expect in light of all that power, fuel economy is not a Macan strong suit. The little 2.0-liter turbo delivers 20 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The remaining three engines are all rated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2018 Porsche Macan is offered in four trim levels: base, S, GTS and Turbo.

The Macan ($48,850) brings a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, the 7-speed PDK automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels, 10-speaker 150-watt audio with a 7-in TFT display, front and rear park assist, a rearview monitor, lane-departure warning, Bluetooth, a multifunction sport steering wheel with shift paddles, a power rear lift gate, cruise control, HID headlights with auto leveling and a self-cleaning mechanism, tri-zone automatic climate control, partial leather and Alcantara seating, and 8-way power front seats.

The Macan S ($56,450) adds the 3.0-liter V6 engine, 19-in wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, power front seats with memory and rain-sensing wipers.

The Macan GTS ($69,950) brings a more powerful version of the 3.0-liter V6, auto start/stop, the Porsche Active Suspension Management air suspension, 20-in RS Spyder Design wheels, the Sport Design package and side skirts, a sport exhaust, GTS sport seats and unique GTS trim and badges.

The Macan Turbo ($78,250) ups the ante with the exclusive 3.6-liter engine, Turbo-specific wheels and other exterior design features, an adaptive suspension, a synthetic suede headliner, heated front seats with additional power adjustments, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system (embedded in the 7-in touchscreen) and a 14-speaker Bose sound system.

Many of the Turbo's added features are available on the other Macan trims, and all are eligible for an astounding array of options. There are wheels with a diameter as big as 21 inches, an air-suspension system, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (which subtly manipulates the rear brakes in corners for more precise handling), a panoramic sunroof, rear climate controls, Burmester high-end audio, Porsche Connect Plus (Apple CarPlay, 4G LTE, real-time traffic and Porsche Car Connect) and the Sport Chrono package (including a stopwatch, launch control and additional adjustable drive settings). And that's just a sampling. Porsche can also customize the Macan's interior for you with trim and color combinations seemingly limited only by your imagination.

In terms of cargo capacity, the Macan pays the price for its sleek, low-profile shape relative to the upright Q5. The area behind the rear seatbacks measures a relatively paltry 17.7 cu ft., though maximum capacity with those seatbacks folded down is a more respectable 53 cu ft.

Towing capacity is downright impressive, at 4,409 pounds when properly equipped. Try finding that kind of versatility in another compact luxury crossover.

Safety

The 2018 Macan is equipped with 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags, lane-departure warning, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and full-length side-curtain airbags. Optional safety features include a collision-mitigation system with automatic braking, a blind spot monitoring system and lane-keeping assist. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash-tested the 2018 Porsche Macan.

Behind the Wheel

When you first sit down in the Macan's driver's seat, you'll be struck by how low-slung and sporty this crossover feels. Whereas most crossovers make you feel like you're sitting in a high chair, the Macan is like a sport coupe with a little extra ride height. Porsche's signature button-heavy center console rises high between the seats for a cockpitlike effect, and the materials are uniformly high-grade. Even a base Macan with no options fits this description, so keep in mind you don't need to add anything for the full experience. The only letdown is the back seat, which is adequate by default but shrinks in a hurry when there are long-legged folks up front.

On the road, the Macan cruises smoothly and quietly over most surfaces, and the confidence it imparts at high speeds is pure Porsche. We've driven various Macans on multiple racetracks. Although it can plow a bit (i.e., push wide of the intended target) in fast corners if Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus isn't specified, it's still easily one of the most athletic crossovers on the road. The optional air suspension adds compliance and adjustability, but frankly, the standard suspension setup is so good we'd be tempted to save our money. We've also had occasion to drive a Macan up a steep, rocky hill with lots of ditches and loose gravel, and while we're sure most Macan owners won't attempt similar feats, we can report that the all-wheel-drive system and automatic speed-controlled descent system made quick work of this intimidating terrain.

Under the hood, the question is whether you can be satisfied with less than the best. Naturally, the Turbo is the faster vehicle, sprinting to 60 miles per hour in an estimated 4.6 seconds (4.4 seconds with the Sport Chrono package's launch control) versus 5.2 seconds for the Macan S (5.0 seconds with Sport Chrono). For some, that makes it a no-brainer upgrade, but remember, the Turbo costs an eye-watering $22,000 more than the S, and in real-world passing and merging situations, the twin-turbo S feels plenty strong. It's down to personal preference, of course, but we can't imagine most drivers would be disappointed by the S model's comparatively weaker motor. Either way, the PDK transmission is flawless as usual, whether you're trundling through traffic or making haste on your favorite back road.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Audi SQ5 -- This special high-performance version of the Q5 gives the Macan S a run for its money thanks to a supercharged 354-hp V6, and it has more room inside than the Porsche.

2018 BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo -- The 3 Series GT hatchback isn't as pretty as the Macan, but it boasts a spacious back seat and a higher maximum cargo capacity.

2018 Jagaur F-PACE -- This little Jag SUV isn't nearly as expensive as the Macan, and it's available with a 296-horspower engine and plenty of British style.

Used Land Rover Range Rover Sport -- A 2010-2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport offers more room and better off-road credentials in a powerful and equally impressive SUV.

Autotrader's Advice

The Macan Turbo is undeniably alluring, but we think you'll have more Macan for your money with the Macan S. Go light on the options and you'll have an awesome all-around package for around $60,000.

Find a Porsche Macan for sale

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New 2018 Porsche Macan
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New 2018 Porsche Macan
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New 2018 Porsche Macan
New 2018 Porsche Macan
MSRP $60,310
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New 2018 Porsche Macan Sport Edition
New 2018 Porsche Macan
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2018 Porsche Macan: New Car Review - Autotrader