2019 Porsche Macan S Review
Toby Hagon’s 2019 Porsche Macan S Review With Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: New look and new engine to a revised Macan lineup. The mid-sized SUV is still one of the sharpest in its class, although it’s starting to show its age.
2019 Porsche Macan S Specifications
Price $97,500+ORC Warranty 3 years, unlimited kilometres Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety Not rated Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo Power 260kW at 5400-6400rpm Torque 480Nm at 1360-4800rpm Transmission 7-speed auto Drive Four-wheel drive Dimensions 4696mm (L), 1923mm (W), 1624mm (H), 2807mm (WB) Ground Clearance 205mm (steel springs), 230mm (air suspension) Kerb Weight 1865kg Angles 16.9/18.5 degrees (approach, steel/air suspension), 23.6/25.3 degrees (departure, steel/air), 16.9/18.8 degrees (rampover, steel/air) Towing 2400kg Towball Download 140kg GVM 2580kg Boot Space 500L Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 65L Thirst 8.9L/100km
Watch our quick spin 2019 Porsche Macan S video review
It’s Porsche’s most affordable model and the biggest seller in the sports car brand’s lineup, playing in the popular mid-sized luxury SUV segment.
While there have been tweaks and additions since going on sale in 2014, Porsche has introduced the biggest update to the Macan since the nameplate’s inception.
Mild styling tweaks and some significant mechanical changes are part of the facelift that touches most aspects of the Macan, improving on its driving nous while adding more equipment.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost?
The updated Macan range has shrunk. While it will eventually bulk up slightly to reintroduce models such as the GTS and Turbo (each with a more powerful V6 engine), the diesel that was previously the top seller has been discontinued for good, part of a Porsche head office decision to stop producing diesel-powered vehicles.
So, that leaves the base Macan, with its four-cylinder engine, and the more powerful Macan S, with a V6. It’s priced from $81,400 and gets leather seats, electrically adjustable front seats, three-zone air-conditioning, tyre pressure sensors, digital radio tuning, satellite-navigation and a partial digital instrument cluster with a large analogue tachometer in the centre.
There’s also a much larger (10.9-inch) touchscreen with enhanced functionality courtesy of Connect Plus. It also gets Apple Carplay. It can connect with apps to monitor everything from local weather to security at your house (it can send images from your home security system to the screen).
The Macan S steps up the performance as well as adding 20-inch wheels and tyres (the basic Macan gets 19s) for its $97,500 ask.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
Nothing has changed with space or practicality for the Macan. It boasts a familiar five-door, five-seat layout that comfortably caters to small families. Adults will find the back seats spacious for two, although taller folk may want a fraction more knee room.
Up front the seats are wonderfully supportive and space more forthcoming for what is a great driving position, the wheel and pedals well positioned.
The boot has a flat, wide floor, although it’s not particularly deep. A 40/20/40 split-fold arrangement on the back seats caters for long or wide luggage. Storage is also well catered for, with decent door pockets and a useful centre console. Cupholders to the rear of the gear selector also look after odds and ends.
All the finishes, too, are of good quality, creating an upmarket ambience. There’s also a broad choice of optional finishes, including two-tone treatments inside.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
The steering wheel is the centrepiece sharing its basic design with those used in 911s and Boxsters. While you can adjust the volume and answer phone calls from it, there isn’t the usual array of buttons, most functions instead focused on driving, from the metal shift paddles to the circular drive mode dial.
The larger touchscreen is also a win, with customisable tiles making it easy to navigate. There are also main menu buttons below. But things get busy in the centre console with a mass of buttons to control everything from seat heaters and ventilation to the dampers and handbrake. There’s a lot going on throughout that centre console.
In case you haven’t had button overload there is another collection on the roof.
What’s the performance like?
Nothing has changed with the basic Macan, which is still powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine used in various Volkswagens and Audis. And, while the Macan S has always had a V6 turbo engine, there’s now a new one beneath the bonnet.
It steps power up by 10kW and 20Nm – modest but worthy improvements – but also meets stricter emissions regulations, something required in Europe.
There are faster luxury SUVs around – and there will be faster Macans in future when the brand revives the Macan GTS and Macan Turbo. So the Macan S plays in the mid-tier, up against six-cylinder, predominantly German rivals. It’s 260kW and 480Nm are in the mix, the torque figure on tap from way down in the rev range.
Keep the drive mode selector in Normal and it’ll lean on sixth and seventh gear to make the most of that low rev meatiness, making for effortless progress. Get more aggressive with the throttle or dial up Sport and there are sharper upshifts and respectable punch.
It’s Sport+ mode where things get slightly more exciting, the gearshifts from the seven-speed twin-clutch auto (called PDK) seriously fast, with a purposeful jolt during changes for reinforcement. Combined with aggressive downchanges and a penchant to hold revs it makes it the pick of modes when you want to dial up the pace.
It’s a brisk car, just not fiery. And, while the 3.0-litre turbo is lacking little in the way of pull, it never quite exudes that free revving characterful nature some may expect in a Porsche (the 2.9-litre expected to be used in the GTS and Turbo models better hits that brief). It’s stout and brisk, not sharp and fiery.
The Macan also benefits from an optional launch control system that comes as part of the SportPlus system (which also brings an analogue timing clock on the top of the dash). Activate it and it builds engine revs before releasing the clutch very quickly for a more fiery take-off. It lowers the 0-100km/h time from 5.3 seconds to 5.1.
To many, that will be fine, the ample acceleration more than enough to tick the Porsche performance button. But along with an uninspiring exhaust note (there’s an optional sports exhaust for those chasing more) it pops the Macan into the more than acceptable bucket rather than the Porsche outstanding bucket.
Subtle differences, sure, but important given the 911 heritage of the brand and the price premium. Speaking of premium, you’ll also have to fill it with the most expensive 98-octane unleaded fuel. Claimed consumption is 8.9 litres per 100km, although it doesn’t take much spirit in the right foot to creep that well into double figures.
Still, at least it’s slightly thriftier than the engine it replaces. While the Macan comes with a gasoline particulate filter (GPF) in Europe, it’s not being fitted to cars sold in Australia for now.
What’s it like on the road?
When it arrived in 2014 the Macan set a new benchmark for dynamics in the mid-sized SUV category. By SUV standards it was superb, scurrying around bends with the sort of tenacity and verve largely unseen in high-riding wagons.
It’s still very good, although the competition is catching. Part of the challenge is the Macan sits on an older architecture (used under the previous generation Audi Q5) rather than the newer (and lighter) one being used across various models from the Volkswagen Group.
That said, Porsche has nailed the basics, with taut suspension doing a stellar job of resisting the car’s tendency to lean around corners. It’s still supremely capable when pointed at a bend, its sharp, predictable steering setting the scene for slick cornering.
Ours was riding on broad 21-inch Michelin tyres (the rear tyres are wider, at 295mm, versus 265mm up front) that contribute beautifully to that handling equation.
It’s also impressively quiet, quelling road noise and making for a relaxed tourer, even riding on those aggressive tyres. Aurally, it’s surprisingly relaxed.
Brakes, too, are potent and powerful, benefiting from slightly larger discs with this updated model. The initial reaction to the brake pedal is strong and they maintain that superb retardation when leant on harder.
Where it falls down is with the ride, at least on some surfaces. While Porsche has worked to improve compliance when the car is in its regular damper setting, it’s still
Sport mode firms things but works well enough on smoother surfaces, while Sport+ tensions things too much, to the point where the Macan jiggles over poor surfaces. To be fair, Porsche chose some poor quality roads to challenge the car, but that firmest setting is still unlikely to suit anything short of an extremely smooth strip of hotmix or a race track.
What’s it like off the road?
The Macan isn’t designed for major bush duties, but it does have a four-wheel drive system that should traverse mild dirt roads. An off-road mode adjusts throttle sensitivity, traction control and ABS brake settings for lower friction surfaces such as gravel. However, the on-road focused suspension won’t provide the wheel articulation.
Does it have a spare?
There’s a smaller, skinnier 18-inch spare wheel in the back. Because it’s different to the other tyres on the car it limits the recommended top speed to 80km/h. It also comes with an air compressor to inflate it for use. Having tyre pressure monitoring on each tyre helps with warning of an early puncture.
Can you tow with it?
The Macan is rated to tow up to 2400kg, which is very handy. However, the weight you can load on the towball (the download) is limited to 140kg, which is below the 10 percent often used in Australia.
What about ownership?
The Macan is covered by a three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, well below the five-year coverage offered by most mainstream brands. Servicing is required each 12 months or 15,000km and it’s not particularly cheap. While prices are being finalised, the previous Macan costs about $2400 for the first three services (covering 45,000km of driving). Then it’s another $2400-odd for the next two services. So, for five years and 60,000km of driving it’s about $4800 to get the car serviced.
What safety features does it have?
The Macan has six airbags and the usual suite of stability control, marketed as Porsche Stability Management (PSM). There are also tyre pressure sensors and a multi-collision braking system that automatically applies the brakes after an initial impact to minimise or eliminate further impacts.
However, autonomous emergency braking (or AEB) is not available on the Macan, which is a decent oversight in a market segment that typically fits it standard. Blind spot monitoring also costs extra ($1390) as is radar cruise control ($2410), the latter bringing some mild braking assistance in an emergency.
The best of the standard active safety systems is lane departure warning, which can alert you if you the car wanders from its lane.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated Macans sold in Australia would be fitted with a gasoline particulate filter. This infortmation came from Porsche but the company has since said Australian-delivered cars will not be fitted with a GPF.