We say: Stuttgart manages to split its own sporty SUV range
As a single exhibit to sum up where we’re at, car-wise, in 2016, you could do worse than the steering wheel for our test Macan GTS, a plump number clad lavishly (and optionally) in Alcantara. Not the first Alcantara-clad steering wheel to feature on an SUV, true, and undoubtedly not the last. But that’s rather the point: we now live in a world where it’s not considered weird to skin the steering apparatus of your family 4×4 in a material once the preserve of high-end motorsport.
In fairness, the Macan GTS befits its Alcantara wheel, insomuch as any SUV can. It may not be the fastest crossover out there – hell, it’s not even the fastest Macan, giving away 40bhp to the Turbo – but it’s perhaps the sportiest of the bunch. It is, effectively, a Macan S with a mite more power and mite more bite, that car’s 3.0-litre V6 turbo engine gaining a couple of exhaust and engine tweaks to raise output to 360bhp.
Porsche has suffered (justified) flak for turbocharging the Cayman and Boxster, but its torque-on-tap character fits the Macan rather well. On sweeping A-roads, the GTS punts along at an unseemly lick, disguising its substantial bulk to spooky effect. It manages that Porsche trick of feeling more mechanical, more engineery, than its rivals: the 7spd PDK is irrefutable, and there’s even a hint of feel through that grandly upholstered steering wheel. Grip, too, is commodious. If you manage to unstick the GTS on the public road, congratulations: you’re well on the way to a significant crash.
Issues? We averaged 22mpg, which is few mpgs. And there’s no denying that, for Porsche’s smallest SUV, the Macan doesn’t feel all that small on the road. Put it this way: if you regularly drive country lanes, you might want to pop a few quid in the ‘replacement wing mirrors’ pot.
But given sufficient breadth of tarmac, the GTS nails its curiously contradictory brief with gusto. OK, for most Brits the Macan Diesel S – with its 430-odd foot-pounds of torque and promise of 40mpg motoring – should be all the fast Porsche SUV ever reasonably required, but there’s something oddly appealing about the GTS’s defiantly sporting bent, Alcantara and all.