2014 Porsche Macan | first drive

Posted on Apr 20, 2014 by
2014 Porsche Macan
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AEDAED 258,000 - 420,000
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  • Last modified: December 10, 2014
  • Exterior
    Editor: 90%
  • Interior
    Editor: 90%
  • Quality
    Editor: 90%
  • Features
    Editor: 90%
  • Performance
    Editor: 80%
  • Value for money
    Editor: 90%

Review Summary:

The new Macan has been heralded as a "game changer", and while that may just sound like just another marketing ploy, be assured that have built something special. A Sports, Sports Utility Vehicle... It drives as good as it looks.


Great looks and interior. Wonderful handling and PDK Gearbox. Macan S is well-powered


Turbo underwhelming when compared to S. Slightly cramped for 5 passengers.

Life, intensified is the sound-bite for the all new 2014 Porsche Macan, the world’s first ever Sports, Sports Utility Vehicle. Courtesy of Porsche Middle East and North Africa, motoring journalists from all over the region were flown to Ras Al Khaimah for a two-day driving experience with the latest addition to the Porsche range to see whether the lives of those in attendance would indeed become more intense.

2014 Porsche Macan front

It was described by Managing Director of Porsche Middle East & North Africa, Christer Ekberg, as a “game changer in the segment”. A bold statement, certainly, and perhaps not too far from the truth.

Before we talk about how this S-SUV drives, we should take time to examine its looks. Certainly from the front it is strikingly similar to the larger Cayenne, with a slightly sharper edge. It boasts the same clam-shell bonnet, reducing the visibility, and quantity, of panel gaps, and it all looks jolly lovely. From the side it is obvious where Porsche found their inspiration. If you take a pencil and some tracing paper to the roof and sloping tail and place it over a picture of a 911, then you will see that the shoe fits perfectly. The back is neat with an almost coupe-like angle to it, and an aesthetically pleasing, subtle spoiler to boot. The rear clusters, with their sleek, narrow indicators, were the source of much chin-stroking and approval from the motoring press.

2014 Porsche Macan interior

You will have to go a long way to find a better interior than that found in the 2014 Porsche Macan. Porsche are keen to stress that this is a sports car in a compact SUV body, and as such it has been designed on sporting principles. The driving position is low, like a sports car, and you are sandwiched between a high door ledge and a high centre console, again, just like in a sports car, and the steering wheel has been lifted straight out of a 918 Spider, which is a sports car. Myriad buttons pepper the suede, leather, and high-quality plastic materials. The finishing is exquisite in that classic Porsche way.

Although this car seats five – four comfortably – don’t expect much in the way of space. Rear passengers can expect no more room than they would find in a VW Golf, the same applies to those up front, too, despite the compact feeling of a sports car. The Macan scores highly on boot space, with 500 litres available, which increases to 1500 when the rear-seats are stowed flat. Don’t be fooled by the sloping tailgate, there is still plenty of room to fit even the most awkward of sports equipment.

2014 Porsche Macan side

Before we could drive the new Macan in anger on the roads, an off-road assault course had been constructed so that we could get a feel for what the mystical underpinnings of the world’s first Sports, Sports Utility Vehicle was capable of. It’s worth noting that the Macan is based on the Audi Q5 platform, but only shares a third of the technology. Porsche have put their own touches to it, and the results are fantastic.

Perfect balance was demonstrated on the opening obstacle, where we traversed a 45° ridge, effortlessly, before negotiating a series of strategically staggered, 2ft deep pot holes. The Macan S, with optional air suspension fitted, was excellent over the moon-like surface as the car is raised 40mm, increasing ground clearance. Other off-road tools such as down-hill assist and diff-lock were also demonstrated, and the Macan passed with flying colours. Dune-bashing, on the other hand, wasn’t attempted. Perhaps 19” alloy wheels are not the most suitable weapons of choice for the Empty Quarter.

2014 Porsche Macan ramp

Yes, the off-road abilities of the 2014 Porsche Macan were impressive, but its penchant for negotiating pot-holes and sandy lumps come to nothing when compared to how good this car is on the road.

Our convoy drove to Jebal Al Jais, where in pairs we would drive both up and down the new mountain pass. For the ascent, my driving buddy and I had the Turbo; and while it held the road like its tyres were covered in glue and was supremely comfortable. That being said, you could argue that it felt slightly under-powered for a Turbo. For the descent we used the turbo-less Macan S, and that, really, is the better car.

2014 Porsche Macan badge

Navigating down the mountain road, with the suspension set to firm, was not far short of automotive paradise. The PDK gearbox offers supremely smooth gear changes, without sapping power and keeps the car in the torque curve. Using the gear paddles to downshift sounded that sweet, familiar flat note of Porsche power; it was impossible not to smile.

With the Turbo you expect more, and are left slightly under-whelmed. With the S, however, you are surprised as to how close to the Turbo it actually is; it under-sells itself. The Turbo comes with a 3.6 litre, twin-turbo (obviously) V6 engine, capable of producing 400bhp at 6000rpm, and torque figures of 550Nm. The Macan S is, on paper, seemingly beaten. It is fitted with a 3.0 litre, V6 engine, producing 60bhp less than the Turbo and “only” 460Nm of torque; yet in the real world this is the car I would buy. 0-100kp/h is only 6 tenths slower, and top speed is beaten only fractionally, but the S felt like a far more satisfying package.

2014 Porsche Macan Martin

This car is aimed at the Young & Trendy Class of the UAE, with their selfies and their tunes, and certainly looks-wise it will be a ferocious rival to the Range Rover Evoque. The Macan S will start at around AED 258,000, whereas the Turbo will set you back at least AED 349,000. Personally, I would buy the S, and use what I didn’t spend on the Turbo to kit it out with lots of options.

Driving the Macan was a genuinely enjoyable experience, but did it intensify my life? Yes, but chiefly because I’m now going to have to convince my wife that we need to save hard to afford one. A game changer it is indeed.

2 Responses to 2014 Porsche Macan | first drive

  1. Porsche 911 Reply

    December 17, 2014 at 12:53 am

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