It’s now a given that with any Porsche model a GTS version will come along at some point and sure enough here it is for the Macan line-up.
Porsche’s smaller SUV has been around for two years, so the timing is about right, and there are probably more than a few current owners about ready to trade up. The Macan GTS fits in above the S model with boosted performance and handling creds, but is careful not to tread on the toes of the Turbo.
The GTS’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 gains new plumbing with a more efficient intake and freer flowing exhaust, while the electronics are tweaked to add boost, up 0.2 to a maximum of 1.2bar. The changes see the output rise by 15kW to 265kW, and twist is up 40 units to 500Nm. It’s still some way off the 294kW and 550Nm of the bi-turbo 3.6-litre Turbo version though.
Even so, the GTS runs it close in the performance department. Porsche quotes a conservative 5.0sec 0-100km/h time for the GTS with the performance-optimising Sport Chrono pack, as fitted to our tester, and it blitzed the run in 4.7sec. With 5000rpm summoned for take off, all four tyres bite as you release the brake pedal and the Macan launches hard with the seven-gear twin-clutch smacking through the shifts in stupendously quick fashion. The V6 is a quick spinner, and pulls strongly from 2500rpm. In Sport mode the gearbox does its job well, keeping the engine searing between 3000 and 6000rpm, and there’s no lag in response. Plus it sounds proper through the standard-fit sports exhaust which, with the ‘bogan button’ activated, lets it ring out loud from idle to redline.
So it’s quick enough this GTS, but it’s also a bit of a corner star. The GTS rides 15mm lower than the S on its steel springs and standard-fit active dampers, and comes rolling on masses of rubber too, 265s on the front and 295s on the rear. There’s Porsche’s active AWD system, varying the drive from front to rear as necessary, and the various stability control functions keep everything inline. Though it’s an SUV, the Macan doesn’t feel much like your average high-rider on the move; pitch, roll and dive aren’t part of its dynamic nature. With the active driveline, Macan feels like a rear driver heading into the bends, but then gains the benefit of AWD traction on the way out. It allows for the full and early exploitation of the power on exit. Porsche’s active dampers, when set to Sport or even firmer Sport Plus mode, provide controlled progress that deals to bumps but rarely suffers them. It’s well balanced, wide in the tracks and so is ultra-stable. And being a Porsche the brakes are more than up to the task.
You can tell within a few hundreds metres behind the wheel how long a team of Porsche engineers has sweated over the zeros and ones that control the action of the wheel. They’ve done a stellar job on everything that matters; the feel just off centre, the weighting, feedback and ultimately the commands it gives the front. We didn’t even mind the Power Steering Plus addition that everyone seems to moan about, giving it a lightweight, city friendly vibe at lower speeds before beefing up for action in the wilds.
It’s one of many extras available for Macan. As with any Porsche, you can go sick on options. The GTS starts at $147,700 but was rolling at $163k as tested and it wasn’t even fitted with adaptive cruise ($1900), surround view camera ($1700) or a smart key ($1570). But with the 21-inch alloys (20s standard) adding $3700 and a panoramic roof chipping in a further $3590, it’s easy to see how quickly the extras can pile up. For the ultimate in dynamics, the $3330 torque vectoring active rear diff is said to deliver ‘power induced oversteer’. Yeehaw.
The GTS gets the ‘Sport Design’ pack and is marked by black details; black wheels, headlight surrounds, smoked rear lights and spoiler. Inside there are plenty of GTS logos, black suede trim and a few brushed aluminium bits too. The seat is a good ’un with plenty of support and adjustment. The new infotainment screen integrates well and the simple layout and high resolution display are appreciated.
An irksome feature of the PDK is its obsession with economy in Normal mode, ‘sailing’ (selecting neutral on a dead throttle) at every opportunity and then when you give it a squirt to make the gap, it takes a moment to sort itself. It’s like the turbolag of a ten-year-old diesel. And while it’s claimed to average 9.2L/100km, the long term average for the tester was in the 15s, and we saw 22 at one point.
The Macan is probably big enough for most, there’s reasonable room in the rear seat, and the only hindrance is a tight (ish) portal. While the hold is rated at 500L, it’s fairly narrow and its load space is eroded by the fastback styling. But the look is probably why most take an interest in Macan in the first place. That, along with its dynamics and prestigious badge are probably all the justification needed for purchase.
|Porsche Macan GTS
|2997cc, V6, T/DI, 265kW/500Nm
|7-speed twin-clutch, all-wheel drive