Stuff that has everyone all agog with excitement
Porsche is synonymous with performance. The company from Zuffenhausen sold 2-door sports cars up until the introduction of the Cayenne in 2002 and now has grown to include a large variety of practical family vehicles, each decidedly embedded with the coveted 911 DNA.
The Macan compact crossover has been particularly successful with about 600,000 units delivered worldwide since its launch in 2014. And for 2022, with the elimination of the ‘turbo’ model, the newly revamped GTS has graduated from being the ‘sweet spot’ to the pinnacle of the range. Here’s what’s hot and what’s not about the 2022 Porsche Macan GTS.
Design & aesthetics
The Macan is and always has been a caricature of the Cayenne, with exaggerated features set on a smaller body style. And it resembles the newer sloped-roof Cayenne Coupe even more so. It has a sharp nose with 918 Spyder-styled, pulled-back headlamps with powerful LEDs that are surrounded by the ever-present glow of the 4-point DRLs. The facelifted Macan also has rear lamps that span the vehicle’s width — a visual improvement over the split units.
Regardless of which exterior colour you choose (from the standard 14-colour palette), with the GTS you get a large blacked-out section in the front bumper rendering a gaping front-end making it look phatter. Pun intended. The diffuser and the tailpipes of the sports exhaust system get the black treatment as well to help differentiate it from lesser siblings. The overall result is a racy and enviable design, especially with the 21-inch wheels our test car rode on. The body also sits 10 mm lower to the ground thanks to the now-standard air suspension, which besides adding dynamic benefits, also provides a hunkered-down look.
The thing about Porsches is that there is a resounding sense of quality that emanates from the bodywork and within the cabin. The consistent panel gaps, the hefty doors that shut with a thud (not a vibration) and the flawless paintwork and upholstery, are a testament to Porsche’s approach to quality. And this is more apparent from the driver’s seats where I knocked, plucked and scratched every surface, panel, knob and button as part of the verification process. I love that the switchgear operates with the toughness of a tank but being a luxury vehicle, it could do with some "softness" to its feel. Also, this is a compact SUV which is on the smaller side. It’s most definitely a 4-seater, not a ‘fiver’ and while it can feel cozy for most, tall folk may feel confined. Regardless of the space, one can’t fault the driving position. The sporty 3-spoke steering wheel and pedals are right where you want them, and the seat’s 18-way power adjustments (optional) help make that possible.
The interior looks and feels a bit like a 911. It combines traditional elements and purposeful design with special materials (like soft leather or Race-Tex with contrast stitching) and trims like carbon fibre, brushed aluminium or body colour panels as our test car did. The ignition switch is on the left of the steering wheel, a nod to the Le Mans racing cars of the past and the instrument cluster is a 3-gauge cluster involving two analogue clocks and a tiny but useful third digital screen that can swap between various menus, like radio, navigation etc. Expect this setup to go fully digital with the all-new Macan in 2024. The centre console is split into two sections, the upper portion has a large and efficient 10.9-inch full HD touch display with a clean UX design and good touch response… with the HVAC controls right below it. The lower half, which was once a sloping array of hard buttons, has now been replaced with piano-black-like touchscreen controls which illuminate the functions it is assigned to. But it can be a fingerprint magnet, I’ll let you know. The new Macan also has a shorter selector lever and the famous analogue clock at the top of the dash. People spend this kind of money to feel special and Macan certainly lives up to its price.
Powertrain & performance
This GTS is serious about performance. And for this facelift, it has pilfered the biturbo 2.9-litre V6 from the previous ‘turbo’ model bringing along its unbridled 440 horses and 550 Nm of twist. That’s an increase of 60 PS and 30 Nm over the previous gen’. And serving up an advantage over other Audi models that share this motor is Porsche’s proprietary 7-speed DCT which is one of the best transmissions in the market.
On a good day or even a bad day (considering Porsche under-advertises outputs), with launch control activated in Sport Plus mode, it goes from a squat back position to 100 km/h in a blistering time of 4.3 seconds. Keep the pedal firmly pressed and it will see the quarter mile in 12.7 seconds. These numbers not only make for great talking points at house parties and car meets, but the actual experience of jetting about is enthralling. Some may argue that angrier versions of its rivals are quicker but they’re a lot more expensive… and that’s not the whole story.
The GTS’ piece de resistance is its innate connection with the road. This thing is just a blast to drive, especially on the winding roads of Jebel Hafeet and its likes. With a throttle response that is so eager to jump the gun and serious power to back it up, you have a motor that is war ready. The rev needle is also happy to race to the redline without fuss, throwing growling and crackling sounds of operatic scales all the way through. Allowing you to carry that speed into and through the corner is remarkable steering accuracy (for an SUV) and a chassis that stays unflustered thanks to a stiffer suspension & anti-roll bar, rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, chunky tyres and a cheeky Porsche Torque Vectoring system (optional) that brakes inside wheels for better turn-in. And every time you feel like you’ve floated wayward of the racing line, those powerful Porsche Surface Coated Brakes come in handy (390 mm front, 356 mm rear). The optional ceramic composite brakes are overkill though unless you have a track day addiction.
So then, driving the GTS quickly is like that shot of adrenalin you need to get yourself ready for the day or a late afternoon’s delight after a hard day’s work. Even in everyday driving, it just coasts over bumps and humps without bickering, with the help of the air suspension. The compact size also means it’s so easy to park even without a 360 camera and if you intend to travel beyond the city, there is a sizeable 75-litre fuel tank to carry you through.
Practicality & features
The trunk can handle a few suitcases, but its 488-litre capacity is a tad below average. A total of 1503 litres can be accessed by dropping down the seats, which is about the size of a Renault Duster, in case you are curious about its size. The cleverly concealed button for the boot on the rear wiper is a neat touch though.
Great amounts of clarity and loudness can be achieved with the Dh20,000 Burmester Hi-Fi, but we can assure you that the ‘cheaper’ Bose system (Dh5,000) won’t miss a beat. And you can play it out through Bluetooth as well. As for the other infotainment features you have access to voice control, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay (but no Android Auto), and a Porsche Connect App that allows you to remotely control the lights, locks, etc. If I had to quibble, the wireless charger is in the small central cubby, which isn’t a fun location.
Like most German vehicles, there is a host of active and passive safety features that make your road-going moments a little safer and more comfortable, like the Adaptive Cruise Control, Park Assist with active parking support and Lane Keeping Assist. It also has ISOFIX points for child seats, although getting it in and out may require some finesse.
Ah, the 911 experience! Beautiful bodywork. Omnipresent power. Being connected with the road. It is the gold standard for the driver’s car. The Macan GTS is eight-tenths that measure with a taller vantage point and a usable boot. Some may appreciate the intimacy of the quality interiors and others may be taller. However, the real issue is sibling rivalry. The Macan S comes with the same turbo engine (albeit in a lesser state of tune) and you can spec it as you like making it the value position. But if you like the GTS tag and are ready to splurge… you have your answer already.
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