Just over a week with a Porsche Macan

Posted in DriveL by Richard Porter on Friday, July 25th, 2014

It’s a baby Cayenne.

Macan1aDay one: It’s a bit late, I’m a bit tired and we’re in Surrey. The Macan is my passport out of here. Since I’m not feeling razor sharp, it takes a few miles of country roads to realise that the Macan is very easy to drive briskly in such circumstances. I hadn’t even realised I was lobbing it around like a small hatchback and still it’s perfectly happy. Yet it’s also quite relaxing. An impressive start. Only the ride lets it down. It seems a little firm.

Day two: A few weeks ago I saw one of these on the road and thought it was an unusually nice looking Cayenne. The Macan doesn’t appear much smaller but the proportions are better and some of the detailing is good, especially the back lights and the massive clamshell bonnet with the shutline halfway down the wing. This particular car is black with an creamy beige interior that makes me crave a Caramac every time I get in it. The Macan is based on the Audi Q5, platform-sharing fans, but it feels a cut above.

Day three: There is a little problem with the Macan’s brakes. Nothing to do with their ability to stop the car as such because from high speeds they’re bloody good at that. It’s the trade off for this ability which is a sort of grabby, uneven quality at low speed making it hard to stop smoothly in traffic. The stop-start function doesn’t help. It cuts in a nadg-o-second too soon, making the lurching even worse. You can turn off the eco mode but then you also lose the ‘sailing’ function PDK Porsches have which opens the clutch as you coast, dropping the engine to idle for economy reasons. It’s a bit weird at first and feels very odd in sports cars but in the Macan it seems like a good idea.

Macan2Day four: Long term Porsche fans will know the company does not have an ergonomics department. Or perhaps it does, but it’s staffed solely by a man who’s always having to bluff his way around the fact he’s lost his reading glasses. The Macan must be his latest slightly confusing work. There are many buttons on the centre console but also several blanks where other things could go. And yet the button to kill the parking sensors is not in one of these slots. It’s on the roof panel. Meanwhile, the button for the Land Rover style hill descent control, which you might imagine would be near the gearlever, perhaps next to the button that puts the car into ‘off road’ mode is actually in a different place, next to the button for the heated rear window. I don’t know why. Also, this Macan has a sort of chronograph thing on the dash, like you get in Porsche’s sports cars. Sometimes it sits inert, waiting excitedly to time a lap. At other times, seemingly at random, its big orange hand starts turning, a digital clock appears in its face and the sub-dial becomes another analogue clock, taking the total number of clocks on the Macan’s dashboard to four. It’s all slightly batty.

Day five: Three times in five days the Macan’s alarm has gone off. Each time I find myself going out to car and closing all the dash vents like it’s 1987. This isn’t acceptable in a 60 grand car. Actually, this is almost a £70,000 car because it has a few desirable and reassuringly expensive options like the 21 inch wheels (£1942) and a panoramic roof (£1093). It does feel like a 60/70 grand car I suppose. I don’t know. In my head a Golf GTI still costs £19,895 so I’m not the best person to ask about prices.

Macan3Day six: The Macan has a very nice driving position. I like sitting high but not so high you feel you’re perched on the car. In this, you can look down on people in hatchbacks. On the downside, you’re not quite at eye level with van drivers. This means they can look down directly at your car’s infotainment screen and see that you are listening to an old Del Amitri album.

Day seven:  Dual zone climate control is a wonderful aid to marital harmony. The Macan should be sponsored by Relate because it gives the passenger not only their own temp setting but also their own fan control. I’m a leave-it-on-auto sort of bloke. My wife spends many car journeys constantly fiddling with the vents and the settings claiming things like ‘it’s too blowy’. This happens again today. Except she’s got a point. On a hot day, no matter how long you leave the air-con in auto mode the Macan seems determined to make it possible to fly a kite over the dashboard.

Day eight: A week in and the ride isn’t bothering me any more. It’s a bit thuddy but the damping feels good. The handling, on the other hand, is bothering me. Specifically, how the ruddy frig have they managed to make something so tall and heavy go round corners like this? There are hot hatches that feel less planted and sorted and generally pleasant to do helmsmanly things to. This car has the optional torque vectoring system which might explain some of what it does. But basically it’s just witchcraft.

Goodbye: The Macan is going away. I’m sorry to see it go. I should hate it. Hate its image, hate its ride, hate the way the alarm kept going off. But I don’t. Quite the opposite. I like the way it drives. I like the way the 400 horsepower engine gives it plenty of grunt without being so overblown as to dominate the car. I like the way the engine makes a slightly sporty noise when you start it but then doesn’t intrude thereafter. I like the interior. I like Caramacs. I even like the way the Macan looks from the outside. I thought I’d despise this car and everything it stands for as some sort of ghastly, preened twatwagon for footballers and the fake titted wretches they marry. But actually that’s impossible. It’s too good and too endearing and actually I liked it a lot.  Mind you, I am from Cheshire. Nonetheless, take Wilmslow out of the equation and it’s a very impressive car.

The car talked about here is a Porsche Macan Turbo. It has a 3.6-litre twin turbo V6 petrol engine and a 7-speed double clutch gearbox. Porsche says it can go from 0-62 in 4.8 seconds and on to 165mph. As standard it costs £59,300.

 

 

18 Responses to “Just over a week with a Porsche Macan”

  1. Nick81 says:

    I like Caramacs too.

    That interior colour looks like something I cough up when I have a cold. I’d take a blue or placenta red interior if they offer it.

  2. 190Colditz says:

    That interior needs a review by resident American journo Colby Dousche!

  3. Miken says:

    Dear SP, there is a perfectly good explanation for the layout of the buttonry inside the Macan.

    It’s always easy to criticise isn’t it? It’s easy to have a good laugh at the expense of committed professionals. People who’ve spent literally years studying the relationship between brain, hand, and eye.

    It’s easy to be amusingly baffled by the art of switch locationary. Easy to discredit the thousands of man hours spent researching the best place for the parking aid kill switch. Lets all have a laugh about it, ho bloody ho.

    Do you think we are laughing here in Leipzig? Well we are not, and before you ask, yes we do laugh. And chortle, and smile. It’s not all data mining and skeletal movement analysis here in the ergo lab.

    Every control within the Macan is located for maximum efficiency. If your brain does not recognise the perfectionology at work within this premium cabin experience then I suggest you fire up your Kindle and download Professor Eibachschnitzel’s “Doctrine of tactilisation and locatory dispersal mechanics (fifth volume)”, and have your horizons expanded by the acknowledged master of touch rationalisation. You luddite.

    Anyway, glad you enjoyed the car. It’s in the workshop right now actually, as we have to put all the buttons back to their normal positions before we give it to ‘What Car’.

    Best.

    Nutbusche Cidelimichts
    Ergonomics Fuhrer – Leipzig

  4. Jennifer Warts says:

    This doesn’t offend my delicate aesthetic sensibilities as much as the Cayenne… but it does look like the bastard son of a BMW X6 and a Hyundai ix35.
    Oh the humanity.

    Next.

  5. Eichan Stan DeRein says:

    I had a Rover 416i in the mid 90’s, which had a massive vent sat in the middle of the dashboard. With some twiddling of knobs and shutting of other vents you could get a paper aeroplane to sail all the way from the front dashboard to the parcel shelf, with some practice. Fact.

  6. Charlie549 says:

    This review is all well and good but you have missed out the most important part.

    Which Del Amitri album were you listening to, I always enjoy it when the ipod picks something from Change Everything on random.

  7. Sniff Petrol says:

    It was The Waking Hours, Charlie. It’s the only one I have. Still stands up as a really good collection of songs, I think. And I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that.

  8. Hertz Van Rental says:

    I like it.

    I saw a man driving one in Surrey the other day, and he looked like he was listening to Del Amitri. He had the most satisfied look on his face. Probably all the more smug because he wasn’t driving a Range Rover.

  9. forzaminardi says:

    I’m sure caramacs are more yellowy in hue than you claim here. I will purchase one this afternoon to confirm, and report back.

  10. forzaminardi says:

    Sorry to keep you all waiting, sports fans.

    I found the caramac to be, as I suspected, more yellowy than the image of the Porsche’s interior. However it was close enough for the simile, if that be what it was, to be, in fairness, accurate.

    Sorry, just read DI Blundell’s latest update and can’t, in fairness, seem to write proper no more.

  11. Alex says:

    Another pointless car, sorry, off-roader for idiots with more money than sense. Or more likely, their wives, who have no concept of the vehicle’s actual size.
    It’ll never go off-road, ok, maybe up on the kerb while you wait for the kiddy-winks to flee from the school and the steepest hill descent will be Boreham Wood High Street. Perhaps that’s why these buttons were put in obscure places so you can tell your friends it has terrain control even though you’ve no need or any idea on how to use it.

  12. Jennifer Warts says:

    You have to remember that for many Macan buyers, “going off-road” means “leaving the home counties”. Pity them, I do.

  13. dion lee says:

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking the time and actual
    effort to generate a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot
    and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  14. Ken Strachan says:

    If my dad was still alive, he’d say: my goodness. That “sailing” function sounds just like the freewheel on my old Rover 12, which that silly young man I sold it to drove into a fire engine. (head on. Don’t try this at home, even if you can find a Rover 12. Do it in something like an Escort Mark 5 instead, no-one would miss it.)

    A frog in our garden writes: that interior looks more green than tan coloured. Who’s nicked my natural skin tone? Ribbit, ribbit.

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