New Porsche Macan 2018 prototype review 5 Jun, 2018 (All day) Tomas Hirschberger
With the Porsche Macan no longer harbouring diesel power, we test a pre-production model in 3.0-litre V6 petrol form
Our early drive suggests that more power, more tech and a subtle new look for the Porsche Macan will cement its place as one of the best SUVs in its segment. The lack of diesel or plug-in hybrid will deter some buyers, however.
Since the Porsche Macan arrived four years ago it has been the standout commercial success of the German firm’s line-up – over 300,000 examples have been sold globally since 2014.
Yet a few months back the SUV – or Porsche, to be more specific – ran into a spot of trouble: diesel-powered Macan S variants were recalled and then removed from sale completely due to suspected software manipulation connected to its CO2 emissions.
• 2018 Porsche Macan spied testing
A new Porsche Macan arrives this summer and brings with it a wealth of updated technology, but no diesel. The engine has been dropped from the range leaving just the entry-level four-cylinder model and 3.0-litre V6 Macan S, that we’re driving here, as the mainstream options.
The diesel won’t be replaced by a hybrid or plug-in hybrid either. We’re told that converting the Macan’s platform (it’s based on the old Audi Q5) to adopt the technology would not be profitable. But electrification will eventually come to the Macan for its second generation in 2022; alongside a plug-in hybrid model there’s also likely to be a fully electric version of the SUV.
Despite the disguise of the prototype we’re driving it’s clear to see the visual changes on this facelifted Macan are modest. At the front there’s a slightly more powerful-looking air intake and LED headlamps, which are now standard. Around the back an LED strip stenches across the boot lid like it does on the new Cayenne.
Inside, an 11-inch screen has been added that houses a new infotainment system with standard online navigation, while the pedestrian monitoring and lane departure warning safety kit has been improved.
The diesel engine may have gone but Porsche has tweaked the remaining petrol engines to deliver more power and improved fuel economy. The basic 2.0-litre four-cylinder remains unchanged (252bhp) but features a new particulate filter, the Macan S now produces 351bhp (+15bhp) from a new 3.0-litre V6, while the Macan Turbo develops 434bhp (+40bhp) from a more powerful but smaller capacity 2.9-litre V6. It’s the same basic unit shared with the Audi RS5.
Most of the engineers' working hours have clearly been spent tuning the driving experience; their task was to bring more ‘emotion’ to the Macan. The new 3.0-litre V6 has a more vocal exhaust note, there’s less vibration through all of the major controls and body control feels even better than it did before – it feels as though Porsche has finessed every part of the Macan.
It means the SUV actually seems even more lively and engaging form behind the wheel. That comes in part from the lighter and stiffer springs introduced to this updated model, helping the Macan feel light on its toes and truly agile for such a large vehicle. We’ll get a better idea of how the new Porsche Macan drives when the camouflage comes off in the summer.
Another change for the SUV will be the price – it should cost a little more than today’s model due to the software updates inside and improved infotainment system. On the plus side, though, more kit will be thrown-in as standard.
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