Porsche gives its flagship Macan SUV a smaller engine than it had prior to its 2019 facelift. But don't worry; peak power is up, and the 2020MY Macan Turbo is every bit as brilliant as it ever was - in fact, it's even more astonishingly good than before.
In the Metal:
To spot a Turbo, over and above the other Porsche Macans in the facelifted range (which came about in very late 2018 for the 2019MY, and in which all models went to petrol power, turbocharging and almost exclusively V6 engines at that), you'd normally be looking for a body-coloured lower side blade, big 20-inch alloys, silver-painted quad exhausts at the back, its own design of roof spoiler, a bespoke front bumper and, of course, discreet 'Turbo' badging. It's all very nice, if not massively stand-out, but the fact the Macan is proportionally spot-on - looking like the SUV Porsche always intended to build, rather than the larger Cayenne - helps its cause no end. With the full-width rear light strip of all updated Macans, this is one seriously handsome SUV.
The interior is also exceptional, if not quite as good as the outside. The Macan, being of older origin than some of its Stuttgart stablemates, doesn't get the latest dashboard tech seen in the likes of the aforementioned Cayenne or the '992' 911, which means the instrument cluster is less digitised than it could be. The quality of the fixtures and fittings is superb, however, while the 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system is one of the best in the business. And the driving position is near-about perfect too, with just enough height in it to remind you that you're in an SUV, while being low enough relative to the Macan's body to feel suitably sporty. Perhaps the bigger gripes are that there's the potential to fit a lot of optional equipment to the Turbo, despite its range-topping status (see What You Get For Your Money), and that the rear-seat passenger space is on the cosy side. It's not big in the back of the Porsche, although a 500-litre boot goes some way to mitigating this overall lack of passenger room.
Prior to the facelift of 2018, the Porsche Macan Turbo had a 3.6-litre V6 delivering 400hp and 550Nm, enough for a 4.6-second 0-100km/h time and a 265km/h top speed. This time around, the Turbo (the capital 'T' simply denotes it's the flagship model, rather than its type of induction, as every Macan has at least one turbocharger under the bonnet) drops 0.7 litres to a 2.9-litre biturbo V6, an engine used in the incoming Macan GTS, certain models of the Panamera family and also, in the wider Volkswagen Group, some of the faster Audi products like the RS 4 Avant and RS 5 in all its guises.
Don't fret, though, as it has gained 40 more horses (if, admittedly, no extra torque) over the old 3.6. That trims the 0-100km/h time to an outrageous 4.3 seconds, considering the Macan Turbo still weighs 2,020kg at the kerb, but it also pushes this Porsche SUV close to breaking the ten-second-barrier for its 0-160km/h run (10.5 seconds) while also bestowing incredible in-gear flexibility on it; 80-120km/h takes a mere 2.9 seconds without having to make a shift in the seven-speed PDK gearbox. So, although the old Macan Turbo with the Performance Pack can match the 440hp peak output and 270km/h maximum speed of the new version, this is still nevertheless the most powerful and fastest Macan yet committed to production.
This is not a fact you'll ever forget when you ask the 2.9-litre Macan Turbo for full acceleration. As the V6 twin-turbo spools up and begins emitting its gravelly, hard-edged roar as the needle swings past 4,000rpm, there's a well-damped sensation of being pressed back in your seat that you just wouldn't get from the 354hp, circa-€80,000 Macan S version further down the range. The insistence and relentlessness of the Turbo's power delivery is quite breath-taking, and it sounds fantastic all throughout its operating range.
If the monster drivetrain is special enough, the handling is in another league to almost every other SUV on the planet - its big-brother Cayenne included. There is a tautness and a solidarity to its body control that completely belies the two-tonne mass of the machine, while the steering is accurate and darty and controlled by an (optional) GT Sports steering wheel that's immaculate to hold. This connects you to the Macan's chassis in a beautiful manner, aided and abetted by genuine chassis feel coming through the base of the seat. While the SUV has masses of grip and traction, thanks to its Michelin Pilot Latitude 3 tyres and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive, it's a long way from being without reward or driver involvement in the corners. In fact, it's genuinely engaging and enjoyable, and it feels rear-biased rather than front-led.
But it functions excellently as an everyday SUV, too. The throttle response and PDK's automatic shift pattern are both calibrated magnificently for easy driving, so that the Porsche is incredibly simple to drive smoothly. Optional air suspension also blesses the Macan Turbo with a silken ride, albeit one that always reminds its occupants the car is on (again optional) 21-inch Sport Classic alloys, and don't worry if you think the regular suspension set-up is going to be firm and unforgiving, because the desirable Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) adjustable dampers with conventional springs is the factory default for the Turbo. Seriously, apart from a thirst for petrol, which permanently hovers around 19mpg (14.9 litres/100km), to drive in all manner of conditions and on all types of roads, this is an SUV par excellence.
What you get for your Money:
As marvellous as the Macan Turbo is, there are the obvious issues to record on the purchase price of it and the value of some of the options required - and also the running costs. At almost €125,000, the Turbo is more than half as expensive again than a base 2.0-litre Macan, which wouldn't be so bad if it came with everything as standard. But, as you will have picked up from this review, our test car was fitted with quite a lot of toys that you're either going to need or want - with the paint, a smooth-finish black leather interior, the air suspension, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV+), Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), the Sport Chrono package with mode switch on the wheel, 21-inch Sport Classic wheels, ParkAssist front and rear with a reversing camera and Surround View, and Traffic Jam Assist including Adaptive Cruise Control all being four-figure options (and 'comfortably' four figures, in some instances)... and going a long way to an extras list that ran to more than €32,000, and a car that was almost €157,000 as tested.
Add in CO2 emissions of 224g/km, placing the Macan Turbo in almost the very highest band for road tax in Ireland, and that aforementioned poor everyday fuel economy, and this will not be a cheap SUV to buy and run by any stretch of the imagination. And, as we also alluded to in the driving section, aside from the brutal straight-line pace of the Turbo, there's a feeling the cheaper, also-V6-petrol Macan S might do everything you could conceivably need of a Porsche SUV, only for a significantly lower outlay...
While the Porsche Macan Turbo is neither cheap nor the most capacious SUV in terms of rear-seat space, in all other regards the 2020MY updates to this vehicle have taken one of the finest, most desirable and downright fantastic SUVs of them all, and made it just that little bit better and faster. Alfa Stelvio Quadrifoglio aside, you're not going to get any more fun or joy of ownership at the wheel of any other road-going high-riding machine than you would from the mighty Macan Turbo. It's quite simply sensational.