At first glance, it’s crystal clear that this isn’t your ordinary Macan S.
With the increasing percentage of crossovers in Canadian new vehicle purchases, it’s becoming more and more difficult for automakers to create something that breaks out of the mold. Everything seems to be some or the other variation of a two-box design, probably with a small-displacement turbocharged engine and varying levels of technology and performance. Porsche’s Macan has been on sale in Canada since the 2015 model year, and this year it sees a significant mid-cycle update.
While it may not be everyone’s idea of sheer excitement, the Macan, along with the Cayenne, are volume sellers for the Porsche brand. Simply put, the more of these they sell, the more resources can be dedicated towards niche-market performance cars. Road tested here is a 2019 Porsche Macan S, with a base price of $63,000 and painted in an absolutely gorgeous Carmine Red. Even before its refresh for this year, the Macan has always been a sharper-looking crossover than its rivals, and a huge part of its appeal includes its crisp styling and modern interior design.
At first glance, it’s crystal clear that this isn’t your ordinary Macan S. This one has been spec’d with a SportDesign appearance package, 21” RS Spyder wheels, smoked LED taillights, and black roof rails. The overall looks of the Macan have been buttoned down for this year, including standard LED hedalights and an LED light bar that sprawls the entire length of the tailgate like the one on the new Cayenne (reviewed here). The overall proportions stay the same, but the Macan looks incredibly fresh and classier than its comparable BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5 models.
On the inside, the Macan’s updates are subtle but valued. Materials are absolutely top-notch, and build quality is best in class. Everything feels tight and well made, with all buttons clearly marked. As in most modern Porsches, there is a plethora of real buttons, and while the console can look busy at times, give me these buttons over convoluted infotainment any day of the week. The Heated Multifunction GT Sports wheel feels great to hold, and has the drive mode selection right on it for easy access. This wheel is a $370 option and is worth every dollar.
The conversation piece in the 2019 Macan’s interior is the updated PCM infotainment system. It’s now a 10.9” wide-layout touchscreen, and it looks positively brilliant. It’s one of the most responsive systems around right now, and goes right up there with BMW’s iDrive as my personal favourite. The graphics are excellent and even Apple CarPlay, which is mostly the same between manufacturers, appears higher resolution and clearer. The system uses online navigation and gets real-time traffic updates, and we found the native navigation to be closer in estimates to Google Maps than that of any other manufacturer.
A new engine powers the 2019 Macan S. The twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 has been replaced with a single-turbo setup, with the turbocharger cleanly parked between the two cylinder banks. Output of 348 horsepower from 5,500-6,500RPM and 352 lb-ft. of torque from 1,450-5,000RPM is a minimal but welcomed update over the 2018 model’s numbers of 340 and 339, respectively. The Macan S isn’t all about the power numbers though – the way that this compact crossover carries itself is with immense confidence. Road manners are sharp and steering response is instantaneous. There is some inevitable turbo lag but it’s nothing that would be a deal breaker.
Acceleration is rated at 5.2 seconds to 100km/h with the equipped Sport Chrono Package, which is more than adequate. The transmission is a seven-speed version of Porsche’s excellent PDK, with the quickest shifts in the business regardless of the drive mode. The paddles on the steering wheel feel high quality and are rewarding to use, though PDK is good enough that you’ll want to leave it to its own accord the majority of the time. Ride quality is firm but very well sorted, with near sports car level of chassis feel, but with the added practicality to transport a small family with ease.
Porsche Canada prices the Macan S at $63,000 to start, roughly an $8,000 premium over the standard 2.0L Macan. Our vehicle was equipped with an array of options including the $5,060 21-inch wheels, $4,100 SportDesign Package, surround view camera, Premium Plus Package, sport exhaust, and more. The total price crests an eye-watering $93,670 before taxes and fees. Of course, skipping a few of the options from our very loaded tester will net a lower transaction price. After spending some time on the configurator, we arrived at the conclusion that a nicely equipped Macan S can be had in the $75,000 range without issue.
To put some competition into context, we tested a BMW X3 M40i (reviewed here) that was well equipped, at $74,000, and the last Audi SQ5 in our garage came in around the $75,000 mark. The Macan S is similar levels of performance and, if you go easy on the options, no more expensive. It handles better and feels more composed on the road than the other entries, as well.
We found the Macan to be surprisingly thirsty on fuel, which is unsurprising when compared to the last Macan GTS (reviewed here) we test drove. Consumption is rated at 13.7L/100km city and 10.4L/100km highway. With a heavily highway-based commute, our test average returned 13.2L/100km, a bit higher than expected. As all other models in the Porsche lineup, 91-octane premium fuel is required, and tank capacity is a generous 75L.
If you’re looking for a crossover that stands out from the pack, with great performance and the best overall feel, look no further. The 2019 Porsche Macan S is the perfect vehicle for the Cayman or Boxster owner with a lifestyle that requires more practicality, without much compromise. It offers the same sharp personality of Porsche’s enthusiast models we love so dearly, and adds sensible everyday usability. This is one car we can strongly recommend, and if you require a bit more oomph, the Macan Turbo offers everything this one does and cranks it up a notch.