Porsche consistently reaches for ever-higher pinnacles of speed and precision. The 911, with its countless variations, is perhaps the best example of this relentless push for more capability, but the same can be seen with the Panamera sedan and the Cayenne SUV. Now the smaller Macan Turbo has added an incremental step up with its new-for-2017 Performance package.
More of Everything
This new range-topping variant sits above the 400-hp Macan Turbo, getting an additional 40 horsepower and 36 lb-ft of torque from the twin-turbo 3.6-liter V-6. For the extra $10,445 that the bundle commands, the package also lowers the ride height by 0.9 inch, increases the claimed top speed by 5 mph (to 169 mph), adds a standard sport exhaust, fits the Sport Chrono package, and brings larger brakes up front. But it still doesn’t quite earn the full-blown Turbo S moniker. Porsche explains that one main omission keeps it from wearing that badge: standard carbon-ceramic brakes (these brakes are an $8150 option). Pretty pedantic, if you ask us.
Regardless, this Porsche sure does perform. At the test track, its 3.7-second zero-to-60-mph run and 12.4-second quarter-mile beat those of the already blistering Macan Turbo by 0.5 second each. Skidpad grip increases by 0.04 g to 0.93 g—although some of that improvement could be attributable to the earlier test using a Macan Turbo with an incorrect tire fitment of 295/35R-21 rubber all around. This 2017 model wore the correct, staggered setup, with 265/40R-21 tires in front and the 295s in the rear. Braking performance fell by three feet, but the Macan’s 153-foot stop still falls within the realm of what we expect from true sporting machines.
In fact, this Macan is right on the pace of supersedans from the likes of BMW M and Mercedes-AMG. Compare the Porsche’s performance numbers with the results from our most recent comparison test consisting of the Mercedes-AMG C63 S, the BMW M3, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, and the Cadillac ATS-V, and it ends up with the second-quickest zero-to-60-mph time and the third-best 70-mph-to-zero braking distance, despite weighing some 500 to 800 pounds more than those sedans.
Unlike many other high-performance SUVs, whose ponderous behavior make you constantly aware that you’re defying the laws of physics, the Macan feels eminently comfortable at a fast clip. A relatively low seating position gives it a sports-sedan feel from behind the wheel, and the Macan’s weight transfers fluidly and predictably through corners. You won’t confuse this Porsche’s steering feel with that of a Boxster or a 911, but its precision is unimpeachable. It’s the sort of performance car (yes, we just described a 4449-pound crossover as a performance car) that goads you into driving harder, with sky-high cornering limits and progressive controls that instill confidence no matter the speed.
And boy, does speed come quickly. The twin-turbo V-6’s remarkably potent torque curve combines with the responsive PDK automatic transmission to shove you deep into your seat. Pin the throttle while exiting a corner and the car squirms for a beat as the all-wheel-drive system and the optional torque-vectoring system quickly work out the best way to send all that power to the ground. The dual-clutch transmission varies its behavior widely, depending on the driving mode: It executes rapid-fire upshifts and rev-matched downshifts in Sport Plus but has no trouble settling down to a smooth, relaxed pace for puttering around in Normal mode.
We might wish for better fuel economy than the 16-mpg average we recorded overall and the 23 mpg we observed in our 75-mph highway test. But that’s hardly worse than the results we achieved in the Macan S with 100 fewer horsepower, and this is a 440-hp SUV that can go a claimed 169 mph; maybe we should just be more judicious with the accelerator.
Priced Like a Porsche
As with all high-performance Porsches, there’s a hefty price to be paid. Our test car stickered for $96,295, a whopping $31,790 more than a Mercedes-AMG GLC43 we tested last year, and this example wasn’t even optioned to the hilt. Its most expensive extra was the $3300 21-inch wheel package—which we might steer clear of due to this Macan’s busy ride quality—followed by $1490 for torque vectoring, $1300 for an upgraded infotainment system, and various stand-alone options such as $660 ventilated seats and $250 rear-window sunshades.
Depending on your priorities, though, getting one of the best-performing SUVs we’ve ever tested for under six figures might seem like a steal. And it won’t be lonely at the top of the Macan lineup for long, as we can only imagine that a full Turbo S treatment is on the horizon. If one thing’s consistent, it is Porsche’s never-ending quest for more performance.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED: $96,295 (base price: $87,495)
ENGINE TYPE: twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 220 cu in, 3605 cc
Power: 440 hp @ 6700 rpm
Torque: 442 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 110.5 in
Length: 184.7 in
Width: 76.1 in Height: 63.0 in
Passenger volume: 96 cu ft
Cargo volume: 18 cu ft
Curb weight: 4449 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 3.7 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 9.8 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 18.3 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 28.6 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.5 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.4 sec @ 112 mph
Top speed (mfr's claim): 169 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 153 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.93 g
EPA combined/city/highway: 19/17/23 mpg
C/D observed: 16 mpg
C/D observed 75-mph highway driving: 23 mpg
C/D observed highway range: 450 mi