Test Drives

Porsche Macan S 2019 Review: Smurf N Turf


  • Mar 1, 2019

The Porsche Macan S is likely the best-driving mid-sized luxury SUV in Singapore, but you need to cough up the green to make the sheen really apparent

 

SINGAPORE

This is the facelifted Porsche Macan S in Miami Blue paint. It’s not the only car in Porsche’s line-up that dons this shade of pastel blue, but this is the launch colour for the car, and as a result, it reminds me very strongly of a Smurf.

With the launch of the facelifted Porsche Macan at the Singapore Motorshow in January this year, we’ve revisited the what, where, how, and how much of the baby Porsche. To recap, the Macan receives mild modifications to the front (new lights, new grille and air intakes) and much more going-over on the rear.

It now has a full-width tail-light bar with the 3D Porsche lettering underneath it, stuff we’ve seen on its big brother the Cayenne, the Panamera, and coming to the 911 when the new 992 model launches later this year.

But back to Smurfs. The Macan is the baby of the Porsche range, it’s the easiest Porsche to own, and in the case of the non-S model, the least expensive.

The Macan S, which we test here, is more expensive than a Cayman ($273,888 without COE), but it goes without saying that the SUV is more family-friendly, which accounts for its relatively massive popularity – it’s far and away the best-selling Porsche both here and abroad. So the Macan is blue, numerous, and rather cute. Just like Smurfs are.

The base Macan is pretty much the same, under the skin, but the Macan S receives a new 3.0-litre single-turbo (with twin-scrolls) V6 courtesy of the VW Group, and naturally we’ve already seen this very smooth engine in the Audi A6 and Audi A8, besides other Porsches such as the Cayenne.

Smurfs are also very strong for their size (like ants are) and when it comes to strength, the Macan S has plenty of it.

The drivetrain – V6, all-wheel drive and dual-clutch gearbox – is faultless and flexible. It’s always delivering what the driver needs, and nothing ever makes you go, “Why does it do that?”, from the power delivery to the crisp, seamless shifts.

This car comes with the optional Sport Chrono package ($4,160), which gives you access to driving modes, mode selector dial on the wheel, and the Sport Response button that gives you 30 seconds of overboost, and cuts the 0-100km/h time from 5.3-seconds to 5.1-seconds.  

Then there’s the deliciously well-honed steering and handling, one of our favourite Porsche signatures, which is communicative, precise, and probably the best amongst sporty SUVs of any ilk, and even some coupes too.

Despite running on optional 21-inch wheels (RS Spyder Design Wheels $14,642) the Macan S ride impressively well, with none of the infuriating crashiness so many crossovers exhibit, even with moderately-sized rollers. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM, $4,227) surely helps with that, even in its stiffest Sport Plus setting, the Macan is still capable of soft-footing it over torrid tarmac.

The interior concept and execution is largely the same, a pleasing, logical setup along clear, precise lines.


A new addition is the 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which appears more polished and high-tech than before, though you do have to pay for CarPlay connectivity ($1,089).

Ergonomic note: The Macan’s air vents are low mounted, which make it one of the few that efficiently cool your body, not your hands – or eyes, like the Aston Martin Vantage does. Devil, details, and all that.

As it is, the Macan remains one of the finest examples of a German luxury SUV thanks to its top-notch driving performance married to the practicality of five-doors, room for five, and 500 to 1,500-litres of cargo space.

There are competitors aplenty in this segment -the semi-familiar Audi SQ5 (has the same engine), BMW X3 M40i and BMW X4 M40i (more power, but less incisive), Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 (the Porsche’s closest competitor).

Gargamel hunted the Smurfs because he wanted to turn them into gold, but you will need a pile of the yellow stuff to live the dream: The Macan S is an outstanding car, but as all the ‘$’ symbols in this review show, you do pay for the privilege.

Carbon interior trim – that’ll be S$4,794 sir

The test car here came with a total $78,071 of optional equipment, with the $288,788 base price, and $35,403 for a Category B COE, that’s a total of $402,262 all in. (For the full option list scroll to the end of this story)

That’s the whole Porsche personalisation experience – you don’t get much bundled in, since you have to add it on and pay for it yourself, but you do get a car that’s exactly what you want.

Realistically, if you can resist the cosmetic improvements (carbon interior trim, $4,794), you can make the Macan S a real performance fiend by adding torque vectoring ($5,448), PASM ($4,227), Sports exhaust ($8,805), Sport Chrono ($4,160) for a relative bargain of $22,640.

That would give you a Macan S which handles almost like the brawniest Macan, the Porsche Macan turbo with Performance Pack  (the facelift model of this, along with the Macan GTS, will be launched later on).  

Comparing a car to a Smurf is ridiculous, I agree, but in case you think this means the Macan is a joke, it’s not. Rather it’s quite cartoonishly amazing just how Porsche has been able to hone a 1.9-tonne SUV into a such pleasing, dynamic package.

Porsche Macan S

Engine 2,995cc, V6, turbocharged
Power 354hp at 5400-6400rpm
Torque 480Nm at 1360-4800rpm
Gearbox 7-speed dual-clutch  
0-100km/h 254km/h
Top Speed 5.3 seconds (5.1 with Sport Chrono)
Fuel Efficiency 9.6L/100km
VES Band / CO2 C2 / 204g/km
Agent Stuttgart Auto
Price S$288,788 without COE/options
Availability Now

 

Optional equipment as tested:

Miami Blue paint $8,762

21-inch RS Spyder Design Wheels $14,642

Standard Interior with Leather Package/Partial Leather Seats $5,667

Adaptive sport seats 18-way with Power seats with Memory $5,361

Sideblades in Carbon $4,314

PASM $4,227

Sport Tailpipes black $2,832

Sport Chrono Package $4,160

Tinted LED taillights including light strip Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur $2,202

LED main headlights including Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS Plus) $3,966

Floor Mats $435

Smoking Package $195
Heated multifunction Sports steering wheel with rim in Alcantara® $3,726

Carbon interior package $4,794

Apple® CarPlay incl. Siri® voice control $1,089

Porsche Crest on headrests (front seats) Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur $828

about the author

Derryn Wong
Has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. Is particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats.
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