For a two-tonne 4x4, it’s remarkable how poised, taut, balanced and plain enjoyable to drive the Macan is. It’s very nearly amazing. There is a cutting edge to its dynamic make-up that no other SUV on the market can approach, never mind equal – and you need a really good rear-drive sports saloon or two-seater to beat it.
Its sporting handling is even more striking than the outright performance. It doesn’t quite survive the transition from road to track, but circuit handling is of limited relevance to five-seat 4x4s. Of greater importance is that the Macan is a very habitable, well mannered machine that you’d happily use every day of the year.
The 21-inch wheels and stiff-sidewalled tyres create some road roar and surface patter that you wouldn’t get in, say, a Range Rover Sport. Even so, the Macan is at all times an effective luxury SUV – albeit one quite unlike any that you’ve ever driven before.
Straight away, its weighty, direct, feelsome steering confounds your expectations. Most premium 4x4s make life easy for the driver via a slower, lighter wheel that hides mass and makes manoeuvring more manageable but also communicates very little. The rim here is as precise as it is talkative, thanks to a chassis tune that keeps supreme control over any kind of body movement but also exhibits delicacy as well as firmness.