Porsche's accomplished Macan sporting compact premium SUV gets an important extra variant - the potent GTS. The experts from Car & Driving give their verdict.
Ten Second Review
The Porsche Macan has been an impressive model from the start but there was a noticeable void between the S models at the more affordable end of the range and the hugely expensive Turbo model. This is where the GTS version comes in, bridging that gulf with a high performance upgrade of the 3.0-litre engine, a leaner, meaner stance and a palatable price.
We really liked the Macan when it first arrived as a junior sibling to the much revised Cayenne SUV. It struck a balance between the 'everyday sports car' philosophy for which Porsche is renowned and the practicality of an SUV, without boasting the anti-social proportions of its bigger brother. Not that the plus-sized Cayenne was unpopular. Far from it. That high-performance SUV was one of the first to enter a niche that had been monopolised by the Range-Rover for decades and, in doing so, changed the way car makers thought about the luxury 4x4. In mid-2014, Porsche launched the Macan to do the same thing in the compact premium SUV segment monopolised by models like Audi's Q5 and the Range Rover Evoque. The idea again was to prove that a car of this kind could be properly sporty as well as premium and the Macan certainly was. The only issue from a model line-up point of view was the enormous gulf in terms of price and performance between the £46,000 340bhp Macan S and the £63,000 400bhp Macan Turbo. The 360bhp £55,000 Macan GTS fills that gap.
The upgraded 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 used in the Macan GTS is a unit taken from the lesser 340bhp S model and tweaked to squeeze out 360bhp, enough to get you to 62mph in just 5.2 seconds. It will max out at 159mph and the sports exhaust breathes out a chorus of fury from four glossy black tailpipes, but can be quietened down at the press of a button if you need to make your get-away a little more discreet. Cruising along the motorway should be a relaxed affair in 'Comfort' mode but, when you find yourself on twisty country roads, selecting 'Sport' mode adjusts Porsche's Active Suspension Management (PASM) system to provide a more responsive ride while quickening gear changes and weighting up the steering to give more meaningful resistance. If you've ticked the 'Sport Chrono Package' option, your Macan GTS will get the extreme 'Sport Plus' mode which, if used in conjunction with Launch Control, should knock a couple of tenths off your 0-62mph time.
Design and Build
This is still a four wheel drive car and while, in theory, it should be capable of doing all the things the rest of the Macan range can do off-road, the reality is that it rides 15mm lower to the ground than the other models. This is partly to ensure sportier handling characteristics, but it also plays a big part in giving the Macan GTS its squat, aggressive looks. Lots of black trim helps too and while this looks great matched with Carmine Red paint, that particular colour will set you back a whopping £1,600. Black and White are the only colours that won't cost extra. Inside, the cockpit is luxuriously appointed with acres of Alcantara or leather adorning the seats, dashboard, doors and even the roof lining if the notion takes you. All the functions this car comes with can be controlled by the huge back of buttons extending along either side of the gear lever. If you're an airline pilot, as some Macan GTS buyers may well be, you'll feel right at home. Boot space isn't the biggest in its class but at 500-litres with the rear seats up and triple that with them down, it is certainly big enough for the demands of most GTS drivers.
Market and Model
The gap between the Macan S and the Macan Turbo was £16,500 - about the price of a decent family hatchback or performance super-mini. It was a big commitment to go for the top of the range model, so the GTS is a welcome 'go-between' at just over £55,000. That's about £9k more than the S model and £7k less than the Turbo though it is still more expensive than most of its direct competitors. The Macan GTS is prestige enough to merit a £5,000 premium over the equivalent BMW X4, and £3,500 over the rival Audi SQ5, but bear in mind these are both efficient diesel models from excellent car makers. At just over £51,500, Jaguar's 3.0-litre Supercharged F-PACE S is a compelling petrol-powered performer which may prove to become the Porsche's nemesis. Standard equipment on the Macan GTS includes Bi-Xenon headlights, 20-inch black wheels, a sports exhaust system, Porsche's Communication Management ('PCM') touchscreen system, 8-way electronically adjustable sports seats and 'Lane Departure Warning' to keep you on the straight and narrow. If you haven't planned your route, you'll be thankful the option navigation system but in having to pay another £1,000 in adding that to a £55,000 car, you may be forgiven for feeling robbed.
Cost of Ownership
If the decision ultimately comes down to running costs, the petrol Macan GTS is at a disadvantage to many of its rivals which are diesel powered - most notably Audi's SQ5 and BMW's X4. The Jaguar F-PACE S is a comparable rival that does use unleaded though and the Jag's marginally thirstier, its combined consumption figure a fraction behind this Porsche's 32.7mpg reading. In terms of emissions, the Macan GTS manages 207g/km of CO2, about the same as the F-PACVE but of course, diesel rivals do miles better; a comparably-performing BMW X4 XDrive 35d for What else? Well the Macan GTS carries with it an expensive group 45E insurance rating that's higher than rivals. The three year unlimited mileage warranty is matched by the Jaguar and BMW while the Audi's Warranty expires after 60,000 miles. Servicing intervals are recommended for every two years, or 20,000 miles. Residuals should be a little stronger than those of a Macan Turbo, but may not quite match the lower spec models in the range.
This GTS model was the missing piece of the jigsaw in the Macan line-up and perfectly sums up this model's role as a sports car disguised in SUV clothing. The performance-oriented specification of this variant, from its black front grille to its polished black tailpipes, gives the GTS a sense of purpose that other lesser models in the range don't quite have. As luxurious as it is menacing, the GTS will appeal to an audience who feel the standard Macan S is a fraction too soft, but the Macan Turbo a little too extreme and expensive. Overall, while this version may still be a little pricey compared to rivals, we think it's worth every penny.