What is it?
The meat right out of the middle of the Porsche Macan compact SUV range. This is our first taste, in right-hand drive and on UK roads, of the 2019-model-year, mid-range, facelifted Macan S, which has been fitted with the new 349bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that also appears in the larger Panamera and Cayenne.
It’s an engine that Porsche has co-developed with sister brand Audi and codenamed ‘EA839’, that was fitted to the last S4, S5 and SQ5 petrol models before Ingolstadt took the decision to make almost all of its ‘S’ performance models diesels. It uses one twin-scroll turbocharger positioned between the 90-degree cylinder banks. And there’s also a shorter-stroke, lower-compression, twin-turbo 2.9-litre version of the same engine which powers the Audi RS4 and RS5, and will move under the bonnet of the forthcoming Macan Turbo, very likely increasing power to as much as 444bhp for the Turbo S derivative.
The Macan S will cost you just over £1800 more than a four-cylinder Macan, and in addition to that V6 engine it gives you a different 18in alloy wheel rim design and a front brake upgrade. Seems like quite good value to me.
The car’s catalogue list price is, of course, just a departure point for any modern luxury performance car. Just as on a four-pot Macan, on an ‘S’ you get steel coil suspension, passive dampers, mixed-width alloy wheels, a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox and rear axle-biased, clutch-based four-wheel drive.
You can upgrade and augment that mechanical mix with either PASM adaptive dampers or fully-adaptive, ride-height-juggling air suspension; with an electronic locking rear differential; with optional alloy wheels ranging all the way up to 21in in diameter; or with almost all of the above in combination, if you want to. Plenty will.
The other thing that buying a Macan S rather than a four-pot Macan means is you can spend more on optional brakes; so while you can only lavish about £2000 on Porsche ‘PSCB’ tungsten-carbide coated discs on the latter, you can dispose of nearly £6000 on ‘PCCB’ ceramic-composite discs on the former (which obviously offer even greater and more fade-resistant stopping power).
Beginning to see why people often get so geeky about the detail of the ordering process of Porsche’s cars? Well, there’s a wonderful amount to geek out about, frankly. Our test car had adaptively damped steel coil suspension combined with 20in rims and than torque vectoring rear diff, but standard steel brakes.