mReview: Porsche Macan 2.0 - Four Cylinders of Sensible Fun

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For some folks, an entry-level model is hardly something to consider. The very thought of it conjures up images of underpowered engines, blank switches, and unattractive trim pieces that make the process of watching paint dry seem exciting.

In essence, you usually end up disappointed with the barebones car, wondering why you didn't just spend a few grand more on the higher-spec variants and go home happy with more bells & whistles. As they say, "you get what you pay for". 

But this is simply not the case for the base-model Porsche Macan, as we found out.

Yes, you're getting the least amount of power out of the four available Macan variants. And you're missing out on some mechanical and cosmetic upgrades that will allow you to properly wring it out at the track. 

Porsche's assured us, however, that they've done the model justice despite its position on the totem pole. 

Upmarket Looks on the Outside

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Visually, the Macan 2.0 looks every bit as good as its V6-powered siblings. Muscular wheel arches, a gaping front grille (with unfortunately solid side air intakes), and a sporty high-riding stance are all standard-issue on the Porsche SUV. 

Just like the rest of the Stuttgart automaker's lineup, it sports a quartet of LED daytime running lights on each of the headlight units, giving it a unique identity in low-light conditions.

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Adding to the visual spectacle are the contrasting black trim panels against the Carrara White Metallic paintwork, including the front grille surround that features a textured diamond pattern. And to complete the aggressive look, our press car was fitted with a set of optional 20-inch grey Macan S double five-spoke wheels, and thick Michelin Latitude Sport 3 tyres to go with them.

For a supposedly base-spec car, the Macan's design surprisingly well thought out and executed brilliantly. 

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Our impressions of the Macan's rear end are similarly positive, noting how premium it looks especially with the updated lighting design. The LED lightbar that runs across the bootlid does an impressive job in accentuating the SUV's wide dimensions, and the quad exhaust pipes simply look gorgeous against the large diffuser panel, which is also adorned with diamond patterning.

A neat feature that we found is the boot release switch, which is cleverly hidden on the rear wiper mount. This clears up plenty of space for the rest of the bootlid, giving it a clean and minimalist look.

With an Equally Plush Cabin to Boot

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As expected from a Porsche vehicle, the cabin is well-appointed and plush, with 14-way powered Comfort seats that you can practically sink into. The upholstery on our test car was kitted out with Porsche's leather package in Black and Bordeaux Red leather, with a smattering of carbon fibre and polished metal trim pieces surrounding it. 

It's not without its faults, though. The Macan's interior is starting to show its age, and you're greeted with plenty of last-generation switchgear, including the clunky-looking gear shifter and buttons. Porsche has attempted to modernise it through a series of haptic buttons on the centre console for your HVAC and driving settings. While they function perfectly fine, the entire plastic panel is quite the fingerprint magnet, which is particularly evident under harsh lighting.

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You also get an odd mix of analogue and digital readings on the gauge cluster, which seem out of place in this day and age. With that said, they work as intended with crystal clear read-outs, and that's what matters the most for many drivers.

A responsive infotainment system keeps connectivity fast and snappy, with support for both Apple and Google-powered devices. Resolution on the 10.9-inch dash-mounted display is also very crisp, so you will not be straining your eyes looking at it anytime soon.

Two USB Type-C charging and connectivity ports are available at the front, while another two USB ports are located on the rear centre console for charging purposes.

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Just like the front seats, the rear cabin is comfortable and spacious enough to fit three passengers, although we recommend seating two full-size adults only due to the floor hump and narrower middle seat. You also get rear air-conditioning on the rear centre console, though unlike its Cayenne sibling, you do not get blowers on the B-pillars.

It's not a deal-breaker in our book, thankfully, with the AC system cooling the interior down fairly quickly, even in the sweltering Singapore heat.

The Macan's great for lugging around cargo too. You get 488 litres of boot space at the back, and the option of expanding it considerably by folding the 40:20:40 split rear bench flat. And thanks to the boxy opening, loading or unloading bulky items is not an issue. 

Surprisingly Potent

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Pop open the gargantuan bonnet and you'll see the turbocharged EA888 Gen 3 in all its plastic-covered glory. The various fluid reservoirs are easy to reach despite the acres of space between the sheet metal and the 2.0-litre powerplant itself. 

The Macan rumbles into life with a surprisingly throaty exhaust note, thanks to the quad pipes at the back. Twist the Drive Mode dial on the steering wheel, and you get to decide how unhinged you want the SUV to be.

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With all of that settled, the Macan drives off, and smoothly too. Power delivery from this Porsche is exceedingly similar to other EA888-powered cars. There's the initial turbo lag when you plant your foot down on the throttle, quickly followed by a healthy surge of torque – all 400 Nm of it. The seven-speed PDK transmission is a smooth operator, but prefers stretching its legs on the motorway to enduring start-stop traffic, which often results in the occasional jerky riding sensation at low speeds.

The Macan feels strangely light despite its nearly-two tonne kerb weight. And that's a good thing, as it translates to a more nimble driving experience than the spec sheet details have you believe. The responsive and well weighted steering, working in tandem with the Porsche Traction Management (PTM), encourages you to throw the 261 bhp SUV around corners confidently and at high speeds, without body roll interfering at any point in time.

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Speaking of which, it also benefits from a superbly-tuned suspension setup, which eliminates any kind of floaty driving sensation when you're at full throttle. While it does not soak up road undulations as seamlessly and comfortably as say, the Lexus NX, it keeps you pointed at the right direction with minimal driver input. Make no mistake, this SUV definitely has Porsche DNA pumping through its veins.

Switch to Offroad mode, and its more rugged side comes alive. The all-wheel drive system keeps things brisk, and the Macan never found itself to be struggling to find traction even on steep inclines. Of course, if you intend to go off-roading seriously, there are better options to be found on the market. But for a sports SUV that just happens to be capable off-tarmac, the Porsche impresses.

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It's no fuel sipper by any means, and despite the official claim of 11.2 km/L, the Macan's fuel economy figures hovered around the mid-10 km/L range during our test. But this is a highly-strung turbo-four AWD performance SUV we're talking about. And realistically, would anyone in the market for a Porsche be all that concerned about fuel efficiency?

Making a Statement

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Priced at S$268,788 (w/o COE), the Macan 2.0 is the most affordable Porsche that you can buy now.

You are getting a properly exciting driving experience that's almost synonymous with what you get from Porsche thoroughbreds, with power coming from a proven engine. And there's plenty of space available for the whole family, coupled with a cavernous boot. All this without forking out more than half a million dollars.

There are many base models of cars out there that only leave you feeling miserable and shortchanged, yearning for more. The Macan is not one of them.

Porsche Macan 2.0 Specifications
Price: $268,788 (w/o COE)  VES Band: C2
Turbocharged inline-four
2.0 litre
261 bhp, 400 Nm
7-speed PDK
Driven Wheels:
14.4 km/L
6.4 s
Top Speed:
232 km/h
Fuel Tank Capacity:
65 L
4,726 mm x 1,922 mm x 1,621 mm
2,807 mm
Cargo Capacity:
488 L

Photo Credits: Muhammad Mu'tasim (@mutasimdrives)

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