Stuttgart's Entry-Level Crossover Is Everything But
I'd be willing to bet that 99 per cent of all Porsche Macan
owners will never take their vehicle on a track or see any more off-roading than a dirt path to a summer cottage, yet I maintain that there is no better venue to explore the absolute outer limits of the automaker's newest small family transport than on a racing circuit and an off-road course. It's testing at each extreme of the vehicle's operating envelope, with both challenges requiring very different capabilities. With that in mind, and looking forward to dirty floor mats and corded tires, I jumped at the opportunity from Porsche
to wring out its new Macan S at Willow Springs International Raceway, located in Southern California's high desert.
The range-topping Macan Turbo
(base price $82,200), with its 400 horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-litre V6 gets most of the glory these days. But many, including myself, would argue that its slightly less powerful sibling, the Macan S, is actually the pick of the new litter. Despite having 60 fewer horses under the hood and giving up six-tenths of a second in the sprint to 60 miles per hour (96 km/h), it costs a massive $27,900 less – money better spent on equipment that improves the crossover's ride comfort and capability, or perhaps a well-used Boxster
Despite a reasonably attractive starting price of $54,300 (plus $1,115 destination), very few Porsche buyers will leave the showroom with a base model. My Dark Blue Metallic Macan S tester was equipped with a slew of mechanical upgrades, including air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), Sport Chrono Package and 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels. A Premium Package and a few other miscellaneous options bloated its price to well over $75,000. That's a very steep price for the premium compact crossover segment, but it's still less than a base Macan Turbo.
Rather than toss us keys in the Willow Springs paddock, Porsche delivered its Macan models to us scribes in Pasadena and then routed us over Angeles Crest Highway towards the track, which is located near Edwards Air Force Base. This generously provided me with another three or so hours behind the wheel, most of it on twisty two-lane mountain roads that were a nice preamble before our track and off-road excursions... READ MORE