What is it?
Those chaps at Porsche tend not to do things by halves. While some manufacturers have been known to slap a couple of badges onto their cars, inject a couple more horses and pronounce: "Behold, our new Fandango Edition", Porsche usually goes a bit further. Here, then, is the new Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package. "A 'package', you say, not a Turbo S?" That left us a little befuddled too, especially considering this is a stand-alone model and not simply an add-on kit.
There's also Turbo S-style substance to the Performance Package, starting with a decent slug of extra power. A few software tweaks to the regular Macan Turbo’s 3.6-litre V6 has it cranking out another 39bhp, giving a total of 434bhp. As an aside, you may be interested to know that is exactly the same output as the 2.9-litre V6 makes in the new Panamera 4S, and a good indication, so we’re led to believe, of where the engine for the next-generation Macan Turbo will come from.
For the Performance Package, there's also 37lb ft more torque, albeit spread across a marginally narrower rev range. The higher outputs all add up: just under half a second has been slashed from the standard Macan Turbo's claimed 0-62mph time, bringing it down to 4.4sec. Part of its improved acceleration stems from the standard Sport Chrono pack - normally an option on Turbos – which adds both launch control and more extreme driving modes.
Power without control is a recipe for misadventure, of course, so there are chassis upgrades, too. The Performance Package comes with PASM adaptive dampers and a 15mm drop in ride height. Air springs remain an option - reducing the ride height by just 10mm when fitted - and the front brakes have also been beefed up with larger grooved discs clamped by six-pot calipers. Lastly, you get a switchable sports exhaust.
What’s the premium over the standard Turbo? A whisker over £5500, but if you factor in the added kit, that works out to be roughly £3000 for the engine and chassis upgrades.
What's it like?
So, we bet you’re thinking it’s a real humdinger with all that added zip? Hmm, how can we put this? We’re not sure. That’s probably not the answer you were expecting, but it’s the truth. You see, the co-ordinates for our test drive were 66 30 14.21N and 25 43 45.81E, putting us somewhere in Finland and the Arctic Circle. The sub-zero temperatures and snow-covered roads meant we’d have struggled to deploy 34bhp, and even with four-wheel drive and a set of winter boots, the Macan couldn’t begin to show off its newfound oomph or cornering aplomb.
What it did was demonstrate how easy it is to manage 434bhp in a two-tonne car with very little grip. After stretches of public road that were largely frictionless and arrow straight, we wound up at a private test facility. Here a slalom course had been laid out to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Macan’s traction management system - everything from the PSM stability control to the torque vectoring between all four wheels.
As you’d expect, things stayed relatively neat and tidy with PSM on, even with a bit of aggression thrown at the steering and throttle. You could feel the systems nibbling individual brakes, modulating the throttle and shuffling power via the multi-plate clutch from the rear to the front wheels. It was all highly impressive, but hardly a revelation.
Yet, as we began dialling back the restraints, the Macan’s underlying controllability was revealed. Switching to PSM Sport was the first stage on this journey, giving you a long leash but not one you can hang yourself with, pulling you back from the brink of quite jaw-dropping angles. The next stage was to turn everything off. And still the Macan was the definition of deftness.
As you turn in, a lift of the throttle and jab of the brakes shifts the weight forwards, allowing the front tyres to bite and start you turning. As you give it some gas with a good bit of lock on, the rear sweeps around gently. In these conditions, it's best to leave the Sport Chrono set to Comfort so there's less spikiness to the throttle; this, along with the accurate, nicely weighted steering, helps you to manage the slides and keep the Macan dancing through the cones like Torvill and Dean.
There's not much else we can say, really, other than the Macan rode well over snow, the engine sounded pleasantly fruity and the brakes did a fine job considering the circumstances.
Should I buy one?
So there it is: by no means a definitive review, but at the very least one that ascertains that despite its power hike, the Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package has lost none of the standard model's driveability.
A £5500 premium for the power and equipment upgrades doesn’t sound unreasonable, and the fact that you can carve amazing shapes in such slippery conditions without coming a cropper bodes well for this car's on-road balance. At this early stage, it looks like those chaps at Porsche have done a top job.
Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Package
Location Finland; On sale Now; Price £68,073; Engine V6, 3604cc, twin-turbo, petrol; Power 434bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 443lb ft at 1500-4500rpm; Kerb weight 2000kg; Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; 0-62mph 4.4sec; Top speed 169mph; Economy 30.1mpg (combined); CO2/BIK tax band 217g/km, 37%; Rivals Alpina XD3, Audi SQ5 Plus