It’s a baby Cayenne.
Day 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.
Day 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.
Day 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.