The Macan may share a platform with the Audi Q5, but it feels like a Porsche through and through from the moment you fire it up. Turbocharging may prevent the V6 from having a truly memorable howl, but the bassy throb at idle certainly sounds purposeful.
Slot the seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box into drive (no manual is offered), and the Macan pulls away smoothly, quickly shuffling to the highest possible ratio. With the V6 spinning slowly, you can’t help but notice how refined the GTS is; potentially a worry considering how focused it’s supposed to be.
Apart from very noticeable tyre roar on the kind of concrete surface that’s so common on the M25, there’s very little to offend your ears. The engine is subdued, wind noise kept to a minimum and there’s no suspension noise, either. Not only are the springy bits quiet, they offer excellent comfort, even over expansion joints and crumbling road surfaces.
After double-checking the bootlid to make sure we had been delivered a GTS, we started to push a little harder. A flex of your right ankle sees the gearbox drop multiple cogs and the engine pause for a moment before the scenery starts to get very blurry. Let’s just say we can happily believe the performance figures Porsche provided.
But, as mentioned, the GTS isn’t the performance figurehead of the range; more important is how it handles. At speed, you notice a bit of float through dips and crests, while throwing it around in Comfort mode shows up some body roll, but certainly not enough to cause any worry.
Thankfully, selecting Sport for the springs dials out the vast majority of the body float and reduces roll, too. Turn in is far crisper and you can feel the chassis working beneath you far more vividly. There is a Sport Plus mode that stiffens things even more should you feel the need.
What’s astonishing is that, unlike cars with other adaptive systems, the Macan remains comfortable even in its sportiest Sport Plus mode. Yes, you do feel a lot more of the road’s surface, but the stiffness of the spring is matched to a perfectly judged damping effect that ensures you’re not pogoing down the road.
Whichever mode you’re in, the inherent balance of the chassis is an absolute joy. The majority of torque goes to the rear axle and it shows. Accelerate out of a bend, and you feel the rear tyres drive you out far harder than the front tyres are pulling.
Decide to turn off the stability control (a delightfully easy process) and the Macan can even be persuaded in to some sideways shenanigans. Thanks to perfectly weighted and decently quick steering, as well as some torque shuffling between the axles, this is easily corrected. It’s certainly something to enjoy rather than fear.
Complaints? We have very few. Although the steering is precise, it isn’t brimming with feedback, the exhaust could sound a bit angrier in its nosiest mode, and the brakes are a bit grabby near the top of their travel. Overall though, it drives spectacularly well considering the lofty body and sizeable mass. It genuinely drives better than most ‘normal’ cars.
Of course, it isn’t just about the driving experience. Like any other Macan, it offers a big, well-shaped boot that can be easily extended by folding the rear seats. Accommodation for those in the back is acceptable, although many rivals offer more head and legroom.