Porsche Macan S 04 | 03 | 2015Scotcars rating

    It may be seen by some as the 'Baby Cayenne', but the Macan is an absolute star in its own right

    IRRESPECTIVE OF WHAT you think about the Porsche badge, it's impossible to be other than impressed by the level of engineering in any of its cars. And sat behind the wheel of the latest Porsche Macan S, there's no doubt you're in charge of a masterful piece of machinery.

    It's also one of those cars which seems to just 'fit'. You know that feeling when you ease yourself into a new car for the first time and your consciousness just goes: "Yeh, I like it here: this works for me."

    That's exactly the feeling I had every time I jumped into the Macan during the seven days I had it. It's a special piece of kit.

    Let's deal with the 'grease monkey' bits first. The Macan S is powered by a 335bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and — like both the S Diesel and Turbo — is fitted with a seven-speed PDK and four-wheel drive as standard. And it's fast: it'll hit 62mph from standstill in 5.4secs, returns 32.5mph and emits 204g/km CO2.

    Sure the Turbo is quicker, hitting 62mph in 4.8s, and the Diesel more frugal — it returns 46.3mpg, and even it hits 62mph in 6.3s, which is faster than a VW Golf GTI — but for many people the petrol Macan S is the preferred choice.

    Interestingly, while the Turbo sets you back £59,300, both the Macan S and S Diesel and priced at £43,300 which — if you're in the market for a performance SUV — seems something of a bargain. Three out of five UK buyers will opt for the diesel.

    Going head-to-head with the likes of the BMW X3 and the Audi Q5 — the Macan shares around a third of its under-body components with the latter — the Porsche manages to balance the driver's needs for both a sportswear and refined motorway cruiser.

    Related: Porsche seals Le Mans 24-Hours 1-2

    Throttle response is sharp enough, thanks to its twin turbos, and there’s plenty of torque to cruise around in a high-gear. Blisteringly quick on your favourite A- or B-road, it's equally at home gobbling up the motorway miles in serene comfort.

    Whereas some manufacturers and cars struggle with electromechanical steering, the system fitted to the Macan is well weighted and fantastically direct. As a result you can place the front end accurately in a series of fast bends ensuring you can maintain a very decent pace.

    Boosted by its pinsharp steering, the Macan is beautifully precise to handle and its sporting ride never feels flustered.

    Of course, when Porsche announced it was going to produce a 'baby brother' to the larger Cayenne, there was much sniggering by doubters. Well, I have to tell you, Porsche has got it very definitely right with the Macan.

    Resembling something akin to a Cayman on steroids, the Macan S is a joy to drive at any speed. What's more, it's capable of comfortably accommodating five adults and their luggage. There's a 500-litre boot — ok, it's 75-litres smaller than the Range Rover Evoque — but the rear seats fold flat to make it easy to slide in heavy items, resulting in the car having a maximum load capacity of 1500-litres. Awkward items can also be fitted thanks to the automatic closing tailgate's wide opening.

    Related: Mark Webber bids for Porsche glory at Le Mans

    As you'd expect, the Macan's cabin is a lesson not only ergonomic mastery, but German efficiency and build quality. It simply oozes class and style, and it's one of those rare environments in which everything is just right.

    There are loads of classy little touches. I love the fact the driver's seat and steering column slide back you your preferred driving position when you insert the kay: then glide back away from the wheel to allow you more space to exit the Macan.

    And while there's no doubt the Porsche badge in the middle of the steering wheel makes a quietly bold and reassuring statement, the cabin is a place of serenity. In fact the loudest noise was the ticking from the chronograph clock — a £728 option, I have to add — sitting proudly in the centre of the fascia.

    If you've read previously about the most recent generations of Porsche, you'll know there's a sea of switches on the centre console. But while some people criticise them, within minutes their position and use was completely natural and understandable. They never felt overwhelming, and all had very clear, specific and useable functions.

    The satnav was one of the simplest-ever to programme. It was brilliant. It was also — and this is where, of course, Porsche understandably finds itself being criticised — frighteningly expensive: it's a £2007 option!

    Perhaps worth highlighting here that while the 'basic' Macan S costs £43k, the test car was loaded with an additional £14,000 of options, including £607 for silver metallic paint, £1060 for Bi-Xenon headlights, £1093 for a panoramic glass sunroof, £259 for heated front seats, and rather bizarrely, £348 for cruise control and £271 for a Bluetooth telephone module.

    Related: Black magic for Porsche 911 and Boxster

    But choose wisely, and you could easily get away with perhaps splashing out just a couple of grand to 'personalise' your Macan. Standard equipment is good, with front and rear parking sensors, climate control, part-leather seats — do you really need to spend £1052 on a black leather interior — 18-inch alloy wheels, electrically adjustable seats, and electric mirrors all as standard.

    If you really must spend more money, buy the optional air suspension with PASM adaptive dampers. Not only will you find the ride is beautifully cushioned, but select Sport mode and the steering, engine and chassis all raise their game even further, transforming the Macan from an SUV to a true sportscar.

    The Macan S is a true driver's car. In the 730 miles I covered, I averaged 27.2mpg at 54mph. The best I managed on a single journey was 29.8mpg. The worst? Well that's for me to know … and keep to myself.

    The burning question is: is the Macan S the best in the range? Sure the diesel — which costs the same, returns 10mpg more and is just as quick — is the one which three out of five Macan buyers in the UK will buy. But on sheer honesty and loyalty to the prestigious Porsche badge:, it has to be the Macan S.

    Related: Roadtest — VW Touareg V6 TDI

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    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £43,300 / £57,962
    Engine / Power: 2997cc V6 twin turbo, 7sp auto / 340bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 5.4sec; / Max 157mph
    How big/heavy?: Lmm Wmm Hmm / 1865kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 32.5mpg combined / 204g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: BMW X5, Audi Q5, VW Touareg

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