Porsche’s marketing department likes to say that the Macan is a compact crossover, but that’s not how we see it—especially not in its new GTS trim. Compared with others in its segment, the Macan GTS has a low-slung body free of gaudy plastic cladding, a ferocious appetite for high-performance driving, compromised rear-seat and cargo space, and relatively limited off-road capability. So why not call a spade a spade and label the Macan as Porsche’s hot hatch?
To the casual observer, the 360-hp GTS doesn’t appear to be the hottest Macan variant—after all, the 400-horse Macan Turbo will beat it in a straight line. But as we’ve seen on similar versions of the 911 and Boxster/Cayman, Porsche’s subtle GTS treatment is more focused on overall driving pleasure than on outright speed. Standard Macan GTS fare includes electronically adaptive dampers, a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, larger front brakes borrowed from the Macan Turbo, and an air-spring suspension that’s slightly lower and stiffer than that of the 340-hp Macan S. Our test car also came equipped with Porsche’s $1490 torque-vectoring system that can lock the rear differential and apply braking to the inside rear wheel to assist rotation during cornering.
The Macan GTS proves itself a phenomenal companion on twisting back roads. Composed, planted, and unflappable, it does exactly what it’s told, the steering wheel, throttle, and brake pedal each responding to inputs with a satisfying linearity. With the Macan’s suspension hunkered down in its lowest setting, it’s easy to forget that you’re piloting a 4500-pound piece. Body roll is minimal, and it’s difficult to catch the chassis out of sorts, even at high speed over quick elevation changes and through tight corners.
The Macan’s grip threshold is high, and its 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6, with 369 lb-ft of torque available from 1650 rpm, powers the car out of corners with impressive immediacy. And yet, for all of its sports-car-like moves, the Macan can be a remarkably serene cruiser if you stay out of its Sport or Sport Plus driving modes. Ride quality is composed and impact harshness is well controlled, with some credit due to the relatively tall tire sidewalls wrapped around 20-inch wheels. (The Macan offers optional 21-inchers, and 22-inch wheels are not unheard of in this class.) Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by Car and Driver