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porsche macan review when you need to sports car in non sports car places

Porsche Macan review: When you need to ‘sports car’ in non-sports car places

No owners in the right mind would do this, but it is reassuring to know the Macan can

Christopher Ng Photo

Christopher Ng

1 Mar 2017

The Porsche Macan hops happily over mounds of hard-packed sand, littered with weathered stones and bordered by grassy vegetation that gives you a rough idea where to point the wheels at. So, it comes as no shock that the road is vastly uneven. Given the nature of the trail, dirt and dust get kicked up in a spectacular storm in the SUV’s wake.

My hands are loosely gripping the leather-wrapped steering wheel, getting a feel for the road. At times, the steering pulls lazily to one side, telling me that the Macan’s wide tyres are negotiating loose sand. Other times, the steering rumbles as the tyres are running over the element-beaten stones. Yet, the feedback is never hard nor forceful to the point of being uncomfortable.

I’m not crawling at a tortoise’s pace either. In conditions like these, turning over 20kph is respectable. And I’m hoping along closer to 30kph, which is great fun.

Fear of scrapping the undercarriage? Never. Before indulging in such shenanigans, I pressed a button, conveniently labelled ‘Off Road’, inflating the air suspension to give the Macan more ground clearance. On High, the SUV gains 40mm to give the Macan a treehouse-like 230mm ground clearance. To be honest, I didn’t really need to engage the air suspension; the Normal ride height was good enough to clear any tiny hills the road threw at me.

Something of note: Normal with air suspension including PASM sets the car 15mm lower than the same on sport suspension.

If you guessed that the air suspension is a cost option, you’re right. Demanding for one in your Macan will add RM11,986 to your bill; pre-GST naturally. Depending on which button you engage, the Macan will either hike up its skirt or crouch 10mm closer to the ground for stability.

Then again, this is a Porsche after all so you’ll know that the Macan’s handling isn’t like cutting steak with a spoon. And the official communication that the Macan is a sports car among SUVs does ring true.

On hard tarmac, this Porsche hands back the collective behinds of some of the other ‘sport’ SUVs. The Macan gleefully leans into tight turns, bites the apex and swings out of the corner with a toothy grin.

On gravel, as we just found out, the Macan happily kicks up dust, hops over bumps and skips over holes without putting a hair wrong on the people inside. Although I honestly think no Macan owner would be crazy enough to go light off-roading with this.  

And I’m driving the base Macan, the one without the ‘S’ at the back of its nameplate. So, a 2.0-litre turbo engine generates all the motivation this Macan needs. The 252hp and 370Nm of torque go through a seven-speed PDK and out into all four wheels of this all-wheel drive SUV.

The resulting acceleration is done and one smooth stroke that manages to bury you into the leather-wrapped bucket seats, proof that the seemingly small engine can more than carry its weight.

Getting buried into the seats also proves that it’s comfortable, something that appeals to the adult inside of me. Also appealing to him is the interior space the Macan affords. It has all the features that you’d expect from an SUV of this stature – plenty of legroom and a generous cargo space to spare — with levels of refinement that you’d expect from Porsche.

A vehicle that combines functionality and fun isn’t a new concept; hot hatches have been kicking up a dust storm ever since primitives used two horses to pull a tiny wagon, and then race them. Apply that concept to SUVs and it becomes facepalm-able. 

Thankfully, current tech and mech have allowed SUVs to live up to the ‘Sport’ element in the moniker, some better than others. At the top, it is the Porsche Macan that wears it the best.

Porsche Macan


1984cc, inline-4, direct fuel injection, turbocharged


7-speed PDK, All-wheel drive


252hp @ 5,000-6,800rpm, 370Nm @ 1,600-4,500rpm


0-100kph 6.7s, 80-120kph 4.8s, max speed 229kph, 7.4-7.2 l/100km



As tested. Vehicle net selling prices excl. road tax, registration fee, insurance premium and hire purchase charges

Overall Rating

8_5 Rating