The 2018-model-year Porsche Macan has shed most of its disguise as prototype versions of the updated SUV, which aims to rival the Jaguar F-Pace, continue to rack up miles in durability testing ahead of a planned world debut at next year’s Detroit motor show.
Set to launch four years after the Macan was first introduced to the Porsche line-up, the facelifted model is planned to remain on sale until 2021, when it will be replaced by a new model that offers, among other engine options, full electric drive.
The stylistic changes made to Porsche's best-selling model are subtle, to say the least. Evident on the prototypes pictured here are restyled front and rear bumpers with new-look air ducts. The front indicators are also mounted lower than that of the current model, on the lowest horizontal fin of the outer front air ducts.
The Porsche SUV also receives upgraded headlights with altered LED graphics, although the overall shape of the headlight clusters remain the same as those in use today. The Macan was the first Porsche to adopt structured tail-light lenses; those on this new model are restyled with new LED-enhanced lens graphics and what appears to be a full-width reflector panel across the tailgate – a design feature that has already graced a number of recent Porsche models.
Although the facelifted Macan was originally expected to receive an updated interior featuring the touch-sensitive switchgear introduced to the latest Panamera, the prototype pictured here gives no clues that it will head in that direction, retaining the same controls the Porsche SUV was launched with back in 2014. But with another three years before it is due to be replaced by a comprehensively re-engineered second-generation model, we would be surprised if the new capacitive switches didn’t make their way on to the 2018 Macan.
What we can bank on is the adoption of a pair of new 7.0in displays within the instrument cluster, together with a 12.3in touch-sensitive infotainment display as part of an updated Porsche Communication Management system. The system, launched in the latest Panamera, supports Apply CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and contains a new function called Porsche Connect, which offers services such as call centre support, a wi-fi hotspot, real-time traffic updates and remote access via a smartphone.
On the engine front, the Macan’s existing turbocharged 3.0-litre and 3.6-litre V6 petrol engines will be replaced by more advanced units boasting capacities of 2.9 litres and 3.0 litres.
In 3.0-litre form running a compression ratio of 11.2:1, the new V6 delivers 325bhp and 332lb ft of torque in the base Panamera. This is 10bhp and 7lb ft less than the least powerful version of the outgoing 3.0-litre engine, which serves up 335bhp and 339lb ft in the existing Macan S. There is more to come from the new engine, though. With altered software liberating added turbocharger boost pressure, the same unit kicks out 349bhp and 369lb ft in the latest Audi S4/S5.
A more performance-oriented version of the new V6 with a lower capacity of 2.9 litres and compression ratio of 10.5:1 is earmarked to replace the current 3.6-litre engine. In the Panamera S, it provides 434bhp and 406lb ft – 39bhp more than the existing Macan Turbo, with the same torque output.
Also planned is a new petrol-electric version of the Macan, running the same driveline used by the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. It uses the new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine in combination with an electric motor to provide a combined system output of 456bhp and 516lb ft of torque.