Macan Turbo

A real-world drive of the Macan Turbo

July 27, 2015
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In our initial drive of the Porsche Macan, author Ian Kuah came away impressed, lauding the car’s driving dynamics and going so far as to say the vehicle “rewrites the rules for compact SUVs.” Obviously, we stand behind our longtime contributor’s words. Nevertheless, we felt compelled to experience a Macan on our own turf, far removed from the orchestrated confines of a press preview and the pristine tarmac of Porsche’s Leipzig development track.

We wanted to drive a Macan, especially the top-of-the-line Turbo model, on our own terms, subjecting it to everything from mundane freeway miles to winding pavement to bumpy gravel roads. Plus we wanted to see how the vehicle would deliver on the utility front, something that is hard to do on a press event. With all this in mind, a multi-day excursion was in order, and we knew just where to head: Point Arena, a three-hour drive north from San Francisco.

Remote, lightly populated and quirky, the city of Point Arena sits on the Mendocino County coast all by its lonesome. Highway 1 bisects its downtown, but most drivers pass through this four-block-long stretch without even taking notice. Yet Point Arena has one of the most dramatically beautiful coastline’s in all of California, with tall cliffs, unique geographical formations and forested backdrops.

For our purposes, however, it was the getting there that was key. Freeways take you less than a third of the way; the rest of the time, a driver needs to negotiate twisty, undulating backroads, which just happen to be some of the best in Northern California.

Shortly after the Agate Grey Metallic Macan Turbo was delivered, photographer David Bush and I began loading it up for our adventure north. Though it looks very similar to its Cayenne big brother, the Macan is significantly smaller: seven inches shorter, three inches narrower and four inches lower. With a 4,244-lb curb weight, the Macan Turbo weighs a substantial 573 lbs less than a Cayenne Turbo.

Even compared to the Audi Q5 on which it is based, the Macan is smaller, with a one-inch lower roofline and a sloping D-pillar that reduces its cargo volume compared to the Audi by a third. With loads of camera equipment, enough personal gear for a three-day weekend and a bike—did we mention that Point Arena has great mountain biking?—we wondered if it would all fit. It did, but just barely.

Obviously, we needed to maximize cargo room by stowing the rear seats. Doing so makes for a nice, flat storage area that offers up a respectable 53 cubic feet of space. However, the narrow rear opening made inserting the bike a little difficult; we needed to remove both wheels to perform the trick. Relatedly, the tiny backlight limits rearward visibility. Thankfully, this Porsche came equipped with a backup camera, bundled with ParkAssist as a $1,460 option.

Also from Issue 231

  • First drive of the 500-hp 991 GT3 RS
  • A rare 1964 901 with a remarkable history
  • A 997 Turbo-based Ruf Rt12
  • We lift the veil on a Type 645 prototype
  • A beautiful pre-A 356 Continental Coupe
  • A 1980 924 with only 11,000 miles
  • We tour Porsche’s new American HQ
  • How Porsche’s AWD systems work
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