The Macan is Porsche's latest step in its ongoing reinvention from old-school sports car manufacturer to mainstream luxury vehicle maker with a varied product portfolio. That original identity hasn't been lost in the process, though; underneath its trendy silhouette and luxurious interior the Macan is speedy, nimble, responsive and intensely gratifying to drive—in short, it's a Porsche.

Pricing and Equipment

The Macan is an attractive midsized four-doors-and-a-tailgate SUV which is available in three trim levels. The Macan S starts at $52,600. The GTS has a base MSRP of $67,200 and includes an adjustable air suspension and Alcantara trim; a few S options are also brought onboard as standard. The Turbo goes back to steel springs (the air suspension is optional, as on the S) but brings other improvements—from a larger powerplant to 18-way power seats—to justify its $76,000 base price.

Only that top model's name advertises the presence of forced induction, but all three Macans are powered by turbocharged V6s. The base Macan S makes 340 horsepower; the GTS boosts that number to 360. Increased displacement helps the Turbo crank out an even 400 horsepower.

In each case power is sent to all four wheels through Porsche's excellent seven-speed PDK semiautomatic gearbox. The chassis is a variation of the one under the Audi Q5, suitably prepped for greater dynamic ambitions.

  • The $1,290 Sport Chrono package is required to unlock the maximum performance potential of any of the Macan variants.
  • The option lists for the Macans may not be as absurdly long as for some other Porsche models—interior materials choices in particular are more restrained—but the decisions involved in the ordering process will still be time-consuming and perhaps require the involvement of an informed salesperson to explain some nuances.

Weigh your desires carefully; the leaps in MSRP between trim levels may require some creative rationalization, and many options can be startlingly expensive.

Performance Pros

Porsche Macan

The looks may say midsize crossover, but the driveline and chassis say Porsche. If the Macan doesn't match the pure power of some competing mega-muscle SUVs it does a better job of using what it has—and as the road gets twistier the odds are ever more in its favor. The Macan is, by our experience, the best-driving SUV or crossover on the market today.

  • Acceleration and high-speed composure feel less like a boosted crossover and more like a serious sports car or rally car.
  • The all-wheel drive system is optimized for fast road use, balancing torque delivery between the axles to provide a brilliant blend of stability and feel.
  • Unlike some of its upscale rivals the Macan actually can handle terrain rougher than a manicured estate lawn. The air suspension can boost ground clearance to a full nine inches and the driveline is as adept at managing traction on loose surfaces as it is putting the motor's power to clean pavement.

Performance Cons

  • Moving this much weight (well over 4000 pounds) this quickly takes a lot of gas. Fuel economy estimates are unimpressive.
  • This is one of the few crossovers which would benefit from the availability of a manual transmission. Unfortunately, don't expect one to become available.

Interior Pros

Porsche Macan

The same deep consideration and thoroughness that go into the driveline and chassis are also present in the cabin. The Macan's interior is a wonderfully comfortable place to be as the scenery blurs by at an impressive rate.

  • We love the seating position, which sits the driver lower than in the larger Cayenne or the platform-cousin Audi Q5 and really underlines the sense of precise control.
  • Those who prefer the accessibility and tactile feedback of buttons will be very at home in the Macan, which largely resists the trend to control everything through touchscreen menus.
  • Marque traditionalists, rejoice: the ignition lock is to the left of the steering column where it belongs.

Interior Cons

  • You will quickly learn to depend on the parking sensors and rearview camera.
  • There are three seatbelts in back but the rear seats are at their best when carrying no more than two people. Head and leg room are somewhat limited, as well.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The Macan is the crossover Porsche should have made from the beginning. It is indisputably a rightful member of the family. It's not just about the numbers, as impressive as they are; the feel and identity are present in full force as well.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Combining all this capability and performance magic in one shell has its costs in both MSRP and fuel usage—especially with the Turbo.

The Bottom Line

If you can manage the price, the Macan works like nothing else in the crossover marketplace. It combines grand touring car speed and elegance with SUV capability to an unprecedented degree.