First Drive: 2017 Porsche Macan

Written by Micky Slinger on .

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CAMBRIDGE, Ont. - The 2017 Porsche Macan Period. That's the message we were greeted with as our small drive group gathered around a large dining table in one of the lavish, branched-off rooms of the manor that is Langdon Hall to learn more about the newest additon to the Macan family. As we sat around a table in a room overlooking the sprawling lawn of the Langdon grounds, we were made aware of the differences – some subtle, others not so much - that set this Macan apart from its S, GTS, and Turbo siblings.

The first and perhaps most obvious is the lack of lettering after its moniker (hence Period). No letters or fast-sounding words; just Macan, which is very appropriate considering that this is the base model version of the mid-sized SUV. This is also powered by a smaller engine in the form of a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four, joining the 718 Boxster in the turbo four-cylinder Porsche camp.

Other differences reveal themselves upon closer examination. The six-piston brakes of the S have been replaced by fours up front, while halogen headlights replace its Bi-Xenons. Also, the trim around the windows is matte black and there's no sunroof (optional across the Macan line). Inside, brushed aluminum trim, navigation and other multimedia features such as Apple CarPlay are absent, but are available as options (side note- navigation is standard on the Macan Turbo only).

 

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There is a good reason for these content changes, however – the Macan's modest $52,700 price tag. Coming in at just under the $53,000, this will be the Porsche you’ll buy if you’ve ever pictured yourself having one in the driveway. For an extra $3,300, you can add a handful of features with the Premium Package, which includes Bi-Xenon headlights, Bose surround sound, auto-dimming mirrors, and rear heated seats. For an extra $3,950, you can step up to the Premium Package Plus, adding 14-way power and ventilated front seats (heated is standard), a panoramic sunroof, and Porsche’s Entry & Drive, which enables you to enter and start the car without reaching for the key.

Considering the price tags on some of these upgrade items, the Premium Package Plus appears to be the best bang for the buck here. It will likely find wide acceptance.

Also, if you can’t do without navigation, there are two ways you can go about getting it on this model. You can either go for the $1,980 navigation module option, or check off the $1,130 Connect package for Apple CarPlay, which displays navigation data when connected to an iPhone. Android Auto is not yet available, but could be offered in the future.

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Enough about the features for now though, let’s get to how Macan feels and drives! The styling of the Macan is unmistakably Porsche. Inside, you grip a leather-wrapped steering wheel and situate yourself in half-leather, half-Alcantara seats, which are very comfortably bolstered and offer ideal seating for most any body type with eight-way adjustability. The shifter is easily accessible from any seating position, as well as are the different mode and option buttons that line the centre console.

For our drive, we left Langdon Hall’s storied grounds in Cambridge and headed for Paris and eventually Caledonia, where we found some freshly laid asphalt to carve into on the numerous winding back roads. Steering and suspension feel are spot on in the Macan. The wheel never once felt heavy during spirited turns, and the suspension was a blend of not too stiff and not too floaty – just right. Between the two, road response was fantastic.

As someone who has driven the Macan Turbo a few times, those experiences made the 252-horsepower 2.0-litre engine in this Macan feel a bit underwhelming. With the Macan Turbo costing about $33,000 more, however, the difference is understandable. The Sport mode alleviates the want for more under the foot with decreased throttle resistance, but Sport Plus is where the four-cylinder Macan really shines. Pick-up is almost instant as the SUV puts 273 lb-ft of torque to work through all four wheels, and the seven-speed PDK transmission ka-chunks along beautifully, holding onto gears while the engine wails.

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Noise was actually something that I think I missed the most in the Macan. In both Sport and Normal modes, it is almost strangely quiet. It’s not until you hit Sport Plus that you get some kind of aural feedback. But because this is a Porsche, there’s a solution: the optional $3,350 Sport Exhaust.

So, who is this Porsche for? Really, the Macan (Period) is the new entry-level Porsche. This is for someone who has always wanted to get into a Porsche, but thought them to be beyond their means. It could also appeal to someone who already owns a Porsche, yet is looking for something with everyday utility and is good for long trips. The Macan is a comfortable, classy, well-balanced SUV with just enough Porsche sportiness sprinkled on top, and apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so – despite being on sale for only a short time in Canada, the Macan already has a waiting list.

SPECIFICATIONS – 2017 Porsche Macan

BASE PRICE: $52,700
ENGINE:
2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder
HORSEPOWER:
252 hp @ 5,000- 6,800 rpm
TORQUE:
273 lb-ft. @ 1,600 – 4,500 rpm
DRY WEIGHT:
1,770 kg
CONFIGURATION:
front engine, all-wheel drive

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed PDK automatic
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (CITY / HWY. / COMB.):
11.6 / 9.3 / 10.6
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM):
48 / 80,000
ALTERNATIVES:
BMW X3/X4, Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5, Lexus NX, Jaguar F-Pace 20d

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Photography by Micky Slinger

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