FRANSCHHOEK – Recently confirmed as the next point-of-focus in terms of Porsche’s all-electric future, the refreshed Macan package is set for a radical overhaul as it evolves to become the second all-electric offering – alongside the Taycan – in the Stuttgart-based company’s portfolio. Adopting the same PPE platform and electric drivetrain technology as the Taycan, the first all-electric Macan is set to arrive as soon as 2021. The good news for fans of the Macan, however, is that the brand looks set to hedge its bets with its current best-selling product when it comes to just how enthusiastic its customer base is at the prospect of a world without combustion engines. Despite its vastly different packaging and execution, the all-electric Macan will initially be sold alongside the current internal combustion engine offerings.

Aiming to make that inevitable final farewell to Porsche combustion propulsion that much more bitter-sweet is the arrival of the new Macan Turbo.

Some 12 mm shorter than the standard Macan thanks to a reworked nose treatment, the new top-of-the-range derivative gains extra presence on the road via bespoke bumpers (front and rear), a double-wing spoiler attached to the tailgate and the inclusion of 20-inch alloy wheels. My favourite design detail on the new fastest Macan is, however, the purposeful-looking set of quad tailpipes protruding from the rear.

Bucking the worrisome current trend towards faux pipes included purely for design purposes, in the new Macan Turbo these genuine-article tailpieces originate from the brand’s familiar (Panamera and Cayenne) 2,9-litre twin-turbocharged engine mated with a seven-speed PDK transmission. Replacing the outgoing model’s 3,6-litre turbopetrol, this new drivetrain offers 30 kW more power (at 324 kW), while the same 550 N.m of torque is available between 1 800 and 5 500 r/min. Fitted with the optional Sports Chrono package, the new Turbo will launch from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 4,3-seconds (4,5 sans the Chrono pack), while the top speed is listed as 270 km/h.

If there’s a caveat to these claimed performance figures as they relate to those aforementioned tailpipes, it’s that current EU emissions regulations dictate the inclusion of sound-stifling particulate filters within the exhaust system. The good news for South African owners is that these filters are unlikely to be included in units destined for our shores. As it stands, the left-hand-drive models made available for our (Cape Town-based international launch) test drive offered the somewhat muted undertones of a potentially thrilling soundtrack, overrun pops and crackles included.

Mimicking the range-topping exterior styling enhancements on the new Turbo, the already high-quality Macan’s interior (including its impressive 12,3-inch infotainment screen) is dressed for the occasion via 18-way adjustable sports seats and the standard inclusion (for our market) of the same sports steering wheel as featured in the current 992-generation 911. Add Sports Chrono to the package and this includes a rotary switch for scrolling between comfort, sport, sport plus and individual driving modes. Also present is the brand-familiar button that calls upon 20 seconds of all-hands-on-deck boost.  

Featuring new dynamic engine mounts for improved stability all-round, the Macan Turbo defies its near-two-tonne mass by not only delivering wonderfully linear progress towards the horizon but, also, via one of the best (in terms of both weight and feel) electrically assisted steering setups in the business, remaining one of the most surefooted raised-ride-height family transports in any segment. Of course, our test units were fitted to the hilt with optional extras, including air suspension and a PTV active rear differential, but across changeable surfaces and, indeed, precipitation levels encountered throughout our test route (including the treacherous-at-the-best-of-times Bainskloof Pass outside of Wellington), the top-spec Macan showed no sign of putting a potentially costly foot wrong.

Bespoke styling aside, the advance of the GTS badge within a modern Porsche application has come to represent a compelling middle-ground between entry-level models and the eyeball-straining performance offered by Turbo and Turbo S models further up the food chain. Such is the all-roundedness of the new Turbo package, including the progressive rather than bomb-drop delivery of torque from its modern turbocharged engine and perfectly acceptable (adjustable through three settings) ride quality over most road conditions, that Porsche may have done its forthcoming Macan GTS derivative a disservice.

Where the new Macan Turbo could potentially come unstuck in our market is with a local asking price that brings the likes of impressive (and roomier) alternatives such as the BMW X5 M50i, Jaguar F-Pace SVR and Range Rover Velar SVAutobiography Dynamic Edition in to play. And that’s not to mention the Audi RS4 Avant that uses the same engine (but with more power) as the Macan, as well as the larger Cayenne S with the identical powertrain.



FAST FACTS

Model: Porsche Macan Turbo
Price: R1 600 000
Engine: 2,9-litre, V6, bi-turbocharged
Power: 324 kW @ 5 700 r/min
Torque: 550 N.m @ 1 800 - 5 500 r/min
0-100 km/h: 4,3 seconds (with Sports Chrono) 
Top Speed: 270 km/h
Fuel Consumption: 9,8 L/100 km
CO2: 224 g/km
Transmission: 7-spd dual-clutch
Maintenance Plan: M3/100 000 km