Review and road test of the Porsche Macan T
MACAN TO A T
Porsche's 2.0-litre Macan T defines what a mid-sized premium sports SUV should be. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Review of the Porsche Macan T
So here we are at the end of an era. The last update for Porsche's combustion-engined Macan, part of which has brought us this more focused 2.0-litre variant, the Macan T. It might even represent the handling sweet spot in the range - but you'll pay for the privilege.
Porsche's Macan is a mid-sized SUV model that in the last decade has sold well enough to pay for the electric development that will soon make fossil fuelled versions of it obsolete. But not yet. Late 2021 saw a final update to the combustion models, creating a last-of-the-line range that includes this 2.0-litre Macan T variant. The petrol Macan models will sell alongside the new full-electric Macan Porsche will launch in 2023, before fossil-fuelled Macans gradually get phased out in 2024.
So should you grab the opportunity to fuel your Macan while you can? Or wait for a new-era electric one? Well that won't be a hard decision to make if you enjoy your driving. Any future EV Macan will be an impressive device - Porsche's Taycan series has shown us that. But that full-battery Macan will carry a huge amount more weight than this one - and of course will be limited in how far you can drive it between charges. So the Zuffenhausen faithful, people who'd ideally like a Porsche sports car but need five doors and a decent boot, will continue to love the Macan just as it already is. And they'll choose it right at the end of its production run safe in the knowledge that it still the finest handling SUV out there. Especially in Macan T form.
Ready for T for two? If you're looking at a base 2.0-litre Porsche Macan and thinking of adding the 'PASM' 'Porsche Active Suspension management' adaptive damping system into the mix, it's worth considering the alternative variant with this four cylinder engine, the Macan T we look at here, which comes with 'PASM' as standard, along with a package of more focused dynamic tweaks; a 15mm ride height reduction, stiffer front axle anti-roll bars, an adapted 'PTM' 'Porsche Traction Management' set-up and even more careful chassis tuning for suspension, powertrain and steering.
This car's 2.0-litre turbo unit is an engine that must be revved out to do its best work; peak power isn't actually delivered until you get to 5,000 revs, by which time if you've stormed off from rest 62mph will be flashing by. The official sprint time is 6.4s thanks to the inclusion of a Launch Control system within the 7-speed paddleshift PDK auto gearbox that all Macans have to have. Top speed is 144mph.
Design and Build
This more focused 2.0-litre Macan variant gets its own look, with larger dark titanium 20-inch wheels and design elements painted in 'Agate Grey Metallic' for painted front trim elements, the exterior mirrors, the side blades, the roof spoiler and the logos on the rear. There's high gloss black finishing for the sports tailpipes and the side window trims and the side blades feature the 'Macan T' logo in Black.
Inside the Macan T, there's upholstery based on Porsche's 'Black leather package'. The centres of the front seats and the outer rear seats feature a 'Sport-Tex Stripe pattern' and the front headrests each have an embossed Porsche crest. The contrasting colour from the exterior continues inside the vehicle in the form of decorative silver stitching on the seats, headrests and steering wheel.
Otherwise, things are as with any Macan. Even though this is Porsche's baby SUV, there's plenty of space inside. The car is built on a heavily modified version of the Audi Q5's MLB chassis. It's 4,681mm long and 1,923mm wide, which means it occupies a bigger footprint than its Audi cousin, but the wheelbase is a little smaller, meaning the Audi has a slight edge when it comes to rear seat space. There's a decent 500-litres of room in the boot which extends to 1,500-litres when the rear seats are folded.
Market and Model
Porsche wants £4,000 more for this Macan than you'd pay for a base Macan 2.0-litere, which means you'll need to budget up to around £55,000 for Macan T ownership. Why would you pay that? Well the big draw with that variant is the standard fitment of 'PASM' 'Porsche Active Suspension Management' adaptive damping, which comes with a 15mm body height reduction.
You get all the exterior and interior embellishments we covered in our 'Design' section. And standard Macan T equipment also includes a multifunction GT heated sports steering wheel and the Sport Chrono stopwatch in the upper part of the dashboard. The door entry guards come in black aluminium as standard and feature a Macan T logo.
As on the ordinary model, the multi-function steering wheel has buttons that activate the 'Porsche Communication Management' infotainment set-up - a 10.9-screen that comes complete with navigation, voice control, internet capability, Bluetooth 'phone connectivity and a 'Sound Package Plus' 10-speaker 150-watt DAB Hi-Fi audio system. There's standard 'Apple CarPlay' smartphone-mirroring (though not 'Android Auto'). And an included 'Connect Plus' module with LTE and 4G 'phone connectivity, WiFi capability and an integrated SIM card.
Cost of Ownership
Like the ordinary base 2.0-litre petrol-powered Macan, this Macan T model officially achieves up to 28.0mpg on the combined cycle. The WLTP-rated CO2 figure is a best of up to 228g/km. These readings are, for some reason, way off what this engine delivers in other Volkswagen Group models: in an Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI quattro for instance, an identical version of this same powerplant delivers bests of 33.6mpg and 192g/km.
Still, you can be pretty sure that this four cylinder unit is as efficient as a powerplant of this size is ever going to get, tweaked in recent times to comply with the current Euro 6d-Temp emissions regulations, which have meant the need for the addition of a particulate filter. There's also demand-based coolant pump control which helps the engine and the catalytic converters reach their optimum operating temperature more quickly. And there's an Auto Start Stop system that switches off the engine as you coast to a stop, rather when you actually come to a halt. The Macan T insurance group is 44E.
The Macan T's handling tweaks have created a variant representing the handling sweet spot in the range, given that the four cylinder models weigh 58.8kgs less than their faster V6 counterparts on the front axle. That makes a lower capacity Macan like this one a little more agile and lighter on its feet.
Yes, you get a lot less power with 2.0-litre model like this one - which of course will make you slower down the straights. But when you reach the corners, you'll be able to brake later and turn quicker, which on fast point-to-point roads makes it slightly easier to find a driving rhythm. If you can afford nearly £55,000 for a compact-to-mid-sized SUV of this sort, it's all good.
Porsche Macan T review by Jonathan Crouch