2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package First Test: More Is Better


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It’s been more than three years since we first got our hands on the Porsche Macan Turbo. With a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 under the hood making 400 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, it shot to 60 mph in a scant 4.2 seconds and laid down a 12.9-second quarter mile. Porsche didn’t tune the Macan Turbo for drag racing only, though. It also stopped from 60 mph in only 102 feet and averaged 0.90 g of lateral acceleration.

For a 4,500-pound crossover, those are some seriously impressive numbers. And the experience behind the wheel is just as commendable as it looks on paper. “The Macan is the type of car you can get in and just drive for hours—it’s equally at home at the track as it is on the highway, and, somewhat surprisingly, off-road,” noted features editor Christian Seabaugh.

If you can swing the near-$75,000 cost, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more practical performance car or a practical car that’s more enjoyable to drive.

But late last year, Porsche announced it would add an even quicker Macan to the lineup: the Macan Turbo with the Performance package.

Costing $10,500 more than a regular Macan Turbo, the Performance package adds 40 hp and 36 lb-ft more torque, as well as 1.2-inch larger front brake rotors, air suspension, the Sport Chrono, and a sports exhaust.

Recently, we had the opportunity to test out the Porsche Macan with the Performance package. On top of the Performance package, our tester was also equipped with two other performance options: torque vectoring ($1,490) and carbon-ceramic brakes ($8,150). Add in a few convenience features and some appearance packages, and what started as an $87,495 car shot up to $114,840.

And although that is a tremendous amount of money to spend on a crossover, especially one that starts at $48,850, the Macan’s performance did a solid job of justifying its asking price.

It hit 60 mph, for example, in a mere 3.7 seconds. And it ran the quarter mile in 12.3 seconds at 109.5 mph. Those numbers were also remarkably consistent from run to run.

“With Porsche’s idiot-resistant launch control, each run is nearly identical,” noted road test editor Chris Walton. “However, I found a couple tenths by releasing the brake earlier and putting the shocks in softest setting. Upshifts are very smooth and quick as one would expect.”

For comparison, the Macan Turbo we tested back in 2014 hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and did the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 106.2 mph. So despite the Performance package’s modest bump in power, it delivers a significant improvement in acceleration.

Or as Walton put it: “Man, this is quick.”

Our tester was no slouch in the corners, either. It completed our figure eight in 24.6 seconds and averaged 0.81 g. In our lateral acceleration test, it averaged 0.93 g. The regular Turbo needed a full 25 seconds to complete the same figure eight and only averaged 0.78 g. In the lateral acceleration test, it only averaged 0.90 g. Those aren’t quite supercar numbers, but they’re still admirable for a crossover that can seat four adults in relative comfort.

Curiously, our tester needed 106 feet to stop from 60 mph—that’s 4 feet longer than the Macan Turbo without the Performance package. That difference isn’t large enough to be significant, and it could be the result of any number of factors, but it’s still worth noting.

In his notes, Walton praised the “firm pedal” and “very consistent stops” but also noted, “there was a bit of wander, however, as the tires searched for grip.”

Out in the real world, where specific numbers are less important than overall feel, the Macan proved just as impressive. In Sport Plus mode, the car’s direct steering, strong brakes, torquey engine, sticky tires, and well-controlled body roll gave me a tremendous amount of confidence on the winding canyon roads north of Los Angeles. It’s still too large and heavy to truly fool you into thinking you’re behind the wheel of a true sports car such as the 718 Cayman, but it’s still far more agile than its CUV shape would suggest.

The Macan was also perfectly happy to play the role of daily driver. It’s small enough to drive in city traffic without any worries, but it still offered enough cargo room, for a compact crossover. Not only did it handle grocery runs without any problems, but it also easily swallowed a bicycle once I put the rear seats down. And even though they’re bolstered for more spirited driving, the front seats proved to be perfectly comfortable even after several hours of driving. Larger drivers might not have the same experience (test out the Comfort and adaptive sport seats for yourself), but other owners might even be up for road tripping their Macan.

Of course, the biggest question here isn’t whether or not the Macan Turbo with the Performance package is fun to drive. Or whether it’s practical enough to use day-to-day. It’s whether or not the Performance package’s price tag offers enough value to make it worth adding to the Macan Turbo.

Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. That’s partly because it’s not as simple as asking whether an extra 40 hp is worth more than $10,000. On the Macan Turbo, Porsche Active Suspension Management is a $1,390 option. The Sport Chrono package then adds another $1,310 to that, and the sportier exhaust tacks on another $2,930 on top of that. Even if you don’t account for the slightly larger brakes, those three options alone take $5,630 out of the price of the Performance package. Add in the stronger acceleration and improved handling, and it makes a strong case for itself.

The Macan Turbo definitely doesn’t lack power, but for a lot of buyers, the Performance package will be worth the price simply because they want to own the best possible version of a vehicle.

If Porsche eventually introduces a true Macan Turbo S, however, that completely changes the situation. And with Mercedes-AMG set to introduce the 503-hp GLC63 S and the BMW X3 M rumored to make somewhere around 450 hp, Porsche might be forced to do just that.

But in the meantime, the Macan Turbo with the Performance package takes the already remarkable Macan Turbo and adds an extra dose of power. If you want the best Macan money can buy, this is it.

2017 Porsche Macan Turbo (Performance Package)
BASE PRICE $87,495
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 3.6L/440-hp/442-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,455 lb (56/44%)
WHEELBASE 110.5 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 184.7 x 76.1 x 63.0 in
0-60 MPH 3.7 sec
QUARTER MILE 12.3 sec @ 109.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 106 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.6 sec @ 0.81 g (avg)
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.01 lb/mile

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