It seems fitting somehow that the Porsche Macan, the compact SUV that showed us so vividly how well a relatively high-sided ‘utility car’ could handle when it was launched in 2014, should have taken so little time to rocket to the top of its maker’s sales hierarchy.
This is now, by a comfortable margin, the most popular car than Porsche makes. For the past five years, it has been on a remarkable upward sales trend, and it might even become the company’s first 100,000-annual-unit seller.
It’s unwise to tinker too much with a successful recipe, you might think – but change has nonetheless been thrust on the Macan model range with the deletion last year of the Macan S Diesel model. Will that deletion put a brake on the march of this remarkable driver’s SUV, at least as far as UK owners are concerned? With no petrol-electric hybrid here for diesel owners to switch to, you do wonder.
In a bid to prevent any slowdown of the car’s sales fortunes, however, Porsche has given the Macan a fairly light but significant mid-life facelift. An updated pair of petrol engines is the mechanical meat of it, but new exterior styling, new interior features and a light suspension overhaul are also important factors.
What does the Macan line-up look like at launch?
For now, the Macan range is made up of an upper-level Macan S derivative powered by a new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with 349bhp, and good for 62mph from rest in 5.1sec; and an entry-level Macan driven by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that develops 242bhp, making for a 6.7sec 0-62mph sprint. The latter gets an updated version of the four-cylinder engine available in the pre-facelifted car by special order, and is expected to be the engine that most Macan Diesel exiles will choose.
The former, meanwhile, might be considered powerful enough to play the top-of-the-range performance starlet by most makers in the premium SUV niche – but it won’t for Porsche. That role will be played by the updated 400-and-something-horsepower Macan Turbo, which is set to join the range slightly later on, and will likely leave room for an upper-mid-range, extra-driver-focussed Macan GTS model to come later still.
Each of the Macan’s engines mount longways and low under the bonnet, and drive the rear axle primarily through a seven-speed twin-clutch ‘PDK’ gearbox – with a clutch-based ‘hang-on’ four-wheel system vectoring torque to the front wheels when the rear ones begin to slip.