Base Macan produces an affordable Porsche
Fitted with a Audi-sourced 2.0-litre twin turbo, the base 2017 Macan is the least expensive model in the Porsche lineup.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: All the panache that comes with owning a Porsche at a price that makes it available to a much larger audience.
- What’s Worst: The temptation to seriously inflate the price once the buyer sees the contents of the hefty option book.
- What’s Interesting: This is the most affordable Porsche you can buy.
KITCHENER, ON: The 2017 Porsche Macan is on the cusp of a fast-developing trend in the auto industry.
The market is seeing traditional high-end carmakers moving down market for increased volume, while perennial economy manufacturers are moving upmarket for a bigger piece of the increasing demand for style and content.
For example, Mercedes-Benz is covering the compact sedan/CUV segments with the CLA and GLA, while Infiniti has just launched the compact luxury QX30. Meanwhile Kia and Hyundai have introduced the K900 and Genesis G90 respectively, with Kia hedging its bets with the entry-level luxury sedan segment with the 2017 Cadenza.
When Porsche first announced it would build the compact Macan CUV, many were caught off guard believing it was not wise to stray from the image it has carved out for itself and dilute the brand as one of the top premium auto builders in the world.
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Well, the sales numbers are in and Porsche hit the sweet spot in the compact luxury CUV segment with the Macan.
More to the point, it is adding a fourth model – the four-cylinder Macan at a starting price of $52,700 joining the Macan S at $59,200, the Macan GTS at $73,100 and the formidable Macan Turbo at $85,800.
That makes it the most affordable Porsche you can buy and it is not a “stripper”.
It has a long list of standard features including ParkAssist with rear camera, heated steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, lane departure warning, three-zone climate control, garage door opener, rear side airbags, heated and retractable outside mirrors and Alcantra leather seats.
But being a Porsche, the list of options is long, such as 21-inch wheels, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, adaptive sports seats, sport exhaust and the highly recommended (by me) air suspension.
Porsche Canada expects the average buyer to add $15-$20,000 in options.
The major difference between the base Macan and its siblings is the Audi-sourced 2.0-litre twin turbo, direct injection inline four-cylinder engine with 252 hp and 273 lb/ft of torque, which outdoes its main rivals like the BMW X3/X4 2.8i, Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 and Range Rover Discovery Sport.
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Fuel consumption with the standard seven-speed, dual clutch transmission is rated at 11.6/9.3/10.6L/100 km city/highway/combined.
Also the Macan I drove at the Canadian press introduction in Kitchener included Porsche Intelligent Performance (no charge option), Active All-Wheel-Drive (no charge option) and the optional, but must-have, Sport Chrono Package ($1,480).
The latter adds a trendy stopwatch on the upper middle of the instrument panel with an analogue and a digital display for the driver.
But what it really does is quicken the Macan’s pace.
In standard form, the Macan does 0-100 km/h in 6.7 seconds. Sport Chrono lowers that to 6.5 seconds.
The Macan is what I consider the “right size” for a compact CUV. Increasingly, I’ve driven allegedly compact vehicles that are almost too big to fit into my garage.
Entry has the front seats near hip height, which is good while the second row seat is also easy to access, which is not always the case with some of the Macan’s competitors.
The instrument panel is classic Porsche with the ignition switch to the left of the steering wheel and three main gauges, the largest of which is the tach just as Dr. Porsche intended.
The drive route was lamentably short because Porsche had only three cars and they had a lot of people eager to drive it.
Ergo it went from the Kitchener area over to Caledonia and back, which only allowed for a brief time to come to grips with the car.
Running the standard steel spring suspension, the Macan was easy to steer and point with excellent “feel” coming through the steering wheel to the fingertips.
What I missed was the navi system which is a $1,980 option, as we got hopelessly lost in southern Cambridge looking for some place called Seneca Park which none of the good citizens we asked had ever heard of.
With a $2.29 laminated Ontario map, we found it the old fashioned way and hooked up with the others just in time to head back to Kitchener.
One thing I did learn was the 2.0-litre engine had more than enough power to pass the squadrons of gravel and cement trucks on the predominately two-lane country roads.
Driving impressions are few, but I have no doubt Porsche will have their dealerships hard at work trying to meet demand.
The 2017 entry level Macan CUV is a bold move and one that comes at a time when the brand is ready and able to move further into the main stream.
Porsche Macan 2017
BODY STYLE: Compact luxury SUV.
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, permanent all-wheel-drive with seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual clutch transmission
ENGINE: 2.0-litre, DOHC twin scroll turbo inline four-cylinder (252 hp, 273 lb/ft)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (Premium) 11.6/9.3/10.6L/100 km city/highway/combined
CARGO: 500 litres behind 40:20:40 split seat, 1,500 back seat folded
TOW RATING: 750 kg (1,653 lb) unbraked and 2,000 kg (4,409 lb) braked
PRICE: $52,700; as tested, $57,185 including $1,115 shipping fee