What is it?
The V6-powered versions of the Porsche Macan have always received more attention, and more critical love, but it's the 2.0-litre four cylinder version that offers the most accessible way to experience Porsche’s smallest SUV.
That’s 'accessible', mind, certainly not 'cheap'. Unoptioned, this model starts at £47,780, and our test car had been boosted to £57,777 by extras.
Like the rest of the range, the 2.0-litre has been given a mild facelift that will take it through to retirement, some time after the launch of the all-new Macan EV we’re expecting to see in 2022. There is also some more power, with the Volkswagen-sourced EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged engine now making 261bhp, an increase of 19bhp on the old car. Torque has increased slightly, too, up from 273lb ft to 295lb ft. Porsche now claims a 6.4sec 0-62mph time and a 144mph top speed. None of which is bad for the baby of the range.
What's it like?
Externally this is a subtle facelift. The biggest change is a new front bumper, with indicators moved higher, and new LED headlights, while the tail-lights are now joined by a full-width strip across the tailgate.
There are bigger changes in the cabin, with the old car’s buttons around the centre console – the number varying depending on the options fitted – now replaced by touch-sensitive Haptic panels on each side with icons corresponding to each control. This minimalisation has also resulted in the loss of the gear selector’s former leather gaiter, and in consequence it now looks rather naked. The lever no longer has a separate channel for a manual selection mode: this does still exist, but the button that engages it is, counter-intuitively, next to the audio controls on the steering wheel.
Yet despite the new black panelling, parts of the Macan’s interior are definitely showing their age given the car was launched in 2014. The continued presence of an analogue speedometer and rev counter is no cause for complaint in a Porsche, but it does mean that the digital display of the third ‘dial’ to the right is small and less crisply rendered than the central touchscreen.
Even in base form, and without air springs or active dampers, the Macan’s dynamic performance remains hugely impressive. The 2.0-litre flows over a challenging road like a tall and exceptionally pliant hot hatch. Ride on the steel springs is certainly busier than it is on the air suspension of posher models, but this Macan absorbs sizeable bumps and awkward cambers without complaint, feeling considerably more relaxed at pace than the 911 GTS we drove over the same road.