A thoroughly engaging sporting SUV that constantly impresses and surprises.
Standing outside as it's fired up, the GTS's V6 barks to life from its four black-tipped exhausts and settles to a coarse but purposeful idle. Inside, the noise isn't quite as piercingly abrupt, but you're left in no doubt of this GTS's intent.
In its default mode, sharp applications of throttle see the gearbox hesitate for a moment while it hooks up, but the straight-line performance that follows is certainly the type of hold on tight propulsion you'd expect, if not quite the pin-you-to-your-chair forcefulness of the Macan Turbo.
Pressing Sport activates the Sports exhaust and takes the dampers to their first stage of stiffness, while the throttle and gearbox feel more urgent too. Sport Chrono-equipped cars (such as the example tested here) get a Sport Plus mode, which brings maximum chassis stiffness and forces the gearbox to deliver you lower ratios and higher revs.
Sport is probably where you want to be 90% of the time. The gearbox suffers less hesitation at T-junctions and from rolling starts, and the steering is at its best - just a precise as in any mode, and as linearly oily as ever, but with just the right amount of weight to inspire confidence.
It only takes a couple of fast-paced corners to realise that for a near two-tonne SUV the GTS, like lesser Macans, is a properly sorted machine, but with the small enhancements that make it truly superb fun to pilot across meandering back roads.
There's barely any nose-dive as you take a huge chomp at the GTS's left pedal, and once the nose is settled, turn-in is crisp and precise, with the nose of the car - particularly on our 21in-wheeled example - millimetres behind every steering input.
Sitting as it does 15mm lower, there's very little body roll from the GTS as it's chucked through bends, either, and there's genuine enjoyment to be had from balancing the throttle mid corner, experimenting with the car's willing rear axle and firing yourself out the other side and on to the next challenge.
Of course, when you're really in the mood, Sport Plus heightens things further, with razor-sharp gear changes at the paddles, even more exacting throttle inputs and more generous crackles on the overrun. For us, the only let-down is a tad too much steering weight.
Switch off all sports-orientated lights, kill the anti-social exhaust and allow the suspension to breathe, though, and the Macan can play the relaxing cruiser just as well. It rides brilliantly, soaking initial bumps well and keeping the body nicely tied down.
Once again, Sport mode is best at speed, maintaining better composure over undulations, but not suffering Sport Plus's firmer secondary characteristics. Unsurprisingly there's some tyre roar over coarse surfaces, but wind noise is never an issue at motorway speeds and the ferocious V6 is easily tamed.
The GTS's cabin has no dimensions changes over the standard car, so a superb driving position helped by a brilliantly supportive sports seats, rising central tunnel and perfectly positioned gear lever, and there's good space for two adults. In the back, though, both legroom and headroom are behind the class best. The easily accessible, square-shaped boot is more useful companion.