2016 Porsche Macan S: A Quick Drive
Here’s the thing, let’s face it. As much as car guys want to give crossovers hell for not really appealing to them, there’s one fact that we can’t overlook: they’re taking over the automotive market. When you think of a crossover, what comes to mind? Ford Escape? Hyundai Tucson? Mitsubishi Outlander? I’m sure those are among the most likely to pop into your head when you bring up crossovers. Most of them are very boring, but comfortable. In the past few years, luxury brands have dipped their toes in the SUV/crossover market in an effort to increase sales and attract a larger portion of the market. BMW, Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, and Jaguar are currently leading the pack with their mid-sized offerings due to their lease deals and impressive practicality. Although they’re appealing to a larger number of buyers, manufacturers are still trying to cater to us enthusiasts as well.
I recently had the opportunity to drive a nicely loaded 2016 Porsche Macan S for about an hour and a half. It changed everything for me. I’ve driven plenty of nice cars before, but the Macan truly was an eye-opening experience for me. When I was handed the generic Porsche-shaped key to a 2016 Macan S, I couldn’t say no. I had to drive it. I wanted to see what all the excitement and popularity was about. As I stepped inside, the rich smell of high-quality leather reminds you how upmarket the Macan S is compared to your run-of-the-mill Tiguan or Escape. The door shuts with a very premium thunk that makes you feel like you just spent about five times what you actually did on your car. As always, the starter is on the left, BUT, this one was equipped with the optional Porsche Entry and Drive, their equivalent of a keyless start. The ignition switch still has to be turned, but instead of inserting your key, you actually turn the switch itself. Due to the fact that the Macan S is powered by a 3.0 liter turbocharged V6, it warbles to life at the twist of the starter. You could listen to the cold start all day. It truly sounds amazing for a V6.
As soon as you accommodate yourself in the driver’s seat, you begin to notice the details that make a Porsche a Porsche. The steering wheel is wrapped in smooth Nappa leather. The paddles for the PDK double clutch gearbox are extremely high quality (think Maserati/Ferrari) level. The seats are appointed in comfortable, premium perforated leather. The buttons all resonate with a nice metallic click that make the car feel more like a Rolls-Royce than a $64k crossover. The car I was in wasn’t fully optioned, so there were several blank switches on the center console and transmission tunnel, but that’s not something you should be worried about. You don’t need every option in your Macan. If I were to buy one, I would basically have the one I drove, which didn’t really have that many options. I looked up and noticed that this one had the optional panoramic sunroof, which is something that we can all live without. I’m not particularly fond of it, but hey, it’s South Florida. Everyone wants a sunroof here.
As soon as I backed out of the parking space, I felt how smooth the engagement for everything was. I got used to the pedals, steering, and transmission immediately. You feel like you were born to drive it. It truly sparks something inside of you. I started my drive in regular mode while the car warmed up. I noticed that the steering is very responsive, yet smooth. The ride is superb over speed bumps, yet you notice a little bit of stiffness that reminds you that you’re in something relatively sporty. As I accelerate, I notice that it’s a bit livelier than I expected for a crossover in normal mode. Sure, it has 340 hp, but you don’t expect it to be that quick in regular mode. About 10-15 minutes into my drive, I pressed the Sport mode button and immediately felt the car truly wake up. The change in throttle response was night and day. Touch the pedal and you’re off. The smallest push makes the car downshift and go. What could make it better? Sport Plus mode. I pressed it to see what it would do over regular Sport mode. It’s ridiculously quick in Sport Plus mode. Thanks to the Sport Chrono package this one had, the car did 60 in about 4.7 seconds in Sport Plus mode. It pushes you back into your seat harder than I’d ever imagined it would. It sounds amazing accelerating towards redline. The one thing that helped it get to 60 in 4.7 was the all wheel drive coupled with the wonderful PDK transmission and launch control. I took the opportunity to test out the manual shifting while in Sport mode. The shifts from the PDK are instantaneous. It also makes a nice VW DSG-esque exhaust fart when you shift up in manual or automatic mode while in Sport or Sport Plus. After about an hour and a half of driving, I returned the car to its owner as a changed man.
Overall, you really do have to admire the fact that Porsche catered to both the average luxury car buyer and the Porsche enthusiast at the same time. They hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s practical, luxurious, relatively reasonably priced, but most importantly, it’s extremely fun to drive. It’ll impress even the biggest skeptics. I can’t even begin to imagine how quick the Turbo and Turbo with Performance Package are. Also, we have to remember something else. And that’s the thing, as long as Porsche makes plenty of money with their crossovers/SUVs, they’ll have more money to improve the future iterations of the Cayman/Boxster, 911, and hypercars.