To those of us who expressed dismay when the Porsche Cayenne first arrived on the scene, the newer and smaller Porsche Macan Turbo may still feel like a very fresh offering from the Stuttgart-based automaker. However, this luxury compact crossover has been with us for about six years now and is still technically in its first iteration, making it one of the older SUVs on sale today. While other cars are often redesigned by their fifth year on the market, the Macan Turbo of today is very similar to its predecessor. Still, with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 delivering 434 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, it's still an exciting machine. But is the competition - namely the Jaguar F-Pace SVR and Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 - catching up?
Not much changes for the 2021 model year with the Macan Turbo only receiving minor styling updates to the front and rear fascias, slightly altered headlights, and standard Sport Design mirrors are now offered at no cost. Wireless Apple CarPlay also joins the standard equipment list.
2.9L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
The exterior of the Porsche Macan Turbo features attractive LED headlights above gaping front grilles. A straked hood adds some subtle menace while standard 20-inch wheels fill the curvaceous arches. 21s are available too, while the rear boasts another stunning LED light setup, a roof-mounted spoiler, and a quad-exit exhaust inside a large diffuser.
The dimensions of the Porsche Macan Turbo are typically compact, with the length measuring 184.5 inches while width is measured at 76.2 inches with the mirrors folded. Height is pegged at 64 inches while the wheelbase measures 110.6 inches. Curb weight starts at 4,430 pounds. Ground clearance varies, as the standard steel suspension can surmount obstacles as high as eight inches while the available air suspension system can vary between 7.48 and nine inches.
Colors play an important role in the customization process and Porsche wants you to have fun here. As usual, Black and White are your only no-cost options, but $700 metallic finishes like Carrara White, Jet Black, Volcano Grey, Dolomite Silver, Sapphire Blue, and Night Blue can spice things up a little. Also available are Mamba Green and Mahogany, but if even those shades aren't attractive enough, you can opt for special colors like Carmine Red, Chalk, or Miami Blue, each of which will cost $3,120. For the true artist, a custom color can be mixed up for $11,430, or one can be matched to a sample for double the fee.
You see a Porsche badge and you immediately think of performance. When you realize it's a Turbo, things get even more exciting. This one is powered by two turbos, both strapped to a 2.9-liter V6 engine to produce 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. To manage all that output, a seven-speed PDK (dual-clutch automatic) transmission delivers power to both axles via a smart all-wheel-drive system. When paired with the Sport Chrono package, you get launch control. This drops the already impressive time taken to get from 0 to 60 mph from 4.3 seconds to 4.1. Keep your right foot buried to the floor and the Macan Turbo will keep hurling itself at the horizon with increasing velocity until the limiter kicks in at 167 mph. However, some may actually use this as an SUV and not just as a sports car, so before we get too carried away, we'll mention that the Macan Turbo is capable of towing loads of up to 4,409 lbs.
Since this is not just any regular Porsche, we review the Macan Turbo separately from the rest of the range and its configurations. As a result, there's just one drivetrain choice on offer here, but it's a good one. That 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is not just some experimental powerplant and has been proven in both the Macan and the bigger Cayenne. With outputs of 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque, it's not like it's anything but punchy. As usual, Porsche has fitted this kind of vehicle with a dual-clutch automatic transmission called PDK, in this case a seven-speed. And as usual, it's utterly brilliant. If there's one type of transmission that deserves to be called telepathic, it's a PDK. While the engine is always important, the gearbox can make driving a car a chore, but this one does the opposite. As that V6 is sharp and responsive, so is the PDK. Yet it can be smooth and refined too and is almost imperceptible when left to its own devices. The whole package is perfectly adapted, and whether you're crawling through traffic, blasting down Route 66, or impersonating a 911 through a winding canyon road, the Macan Turbo does it all to perfection.
While the powerplant needs to be good to get a Porsche's foot in the door, it's the way it drives and handles and feels that truly defines a car as being worthy of that hallowed crest. Fortunately, the standard adaptive steel suspension setup in the Macan Turbo is just as good as you'd expect, providing a comfortable ride when cruising and hiding body roll when being aggressive. The optional air suspension setup is no misfit either, giving occupants a magnificent and comfortable ride in its softest setting and firming up appropriately when the need arises. The steering is also very important for a Porsche, and the Macan Turbo has a great setup. The theme of excellence continues to the brakes, where the standard Porsche Surface Coated Brake system with its special rotors offers excellent feedback and response. With the next Macan likely to be electric, we certainly hope that Porsche can work the same sort of magic endowed upon the Taycan and keep this little SUV fun to drive and thrilling to witness.
EPA estimates for the 2021 Porsche Macan Turbo reveal consumption numbers in line with the SUV's power and performance. With the official figures at 17/21/19 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles and a 19.8-gallon gas tank fitted, you can expect roughly 376 miles of range with mixed driving.
The interior of the Porsche Macan Turbo has been getting a little tired of late, but for some, it will still look and feel fancy, especially considering all the buttons along the center console that make you feel like you're in a spaceship. For others, it can be a bit overwhelming. Nevertheless, an expansive infotainment display, an analog cluster, and a solidly built cabin make up for these minor flaws. That said, rivals are indeed starting to catch up, and Porsche will probably have to make the next Macan a lot flashier.
The Macan Turbo is officially listed as a five-seater, but only teens and small children will be comfortable in the second row. Headroom and legroom are tight here, and trying to fit three adults in the back is not a good idea. Up front, things are a lot better, thanks to more room and the standard inclusion of 18-way power-adjustable adaptive sport seats that manage to blend comfort and support perfectly. The driver has a good reach of all controls and great visibility out the front, but one may find themselves relying on the blind spot monitoring system and the rearview camera when it comes to views out the back.
As with the paint, so with the leather. There are options and variations galore here too, but as standard, the cabin is clad in plenty of leather and aluminum, but there's also some faux leather and some soft-touch plastics. Still, you do get choices, with Black and Agate Grey as your free options. Spend $220 more and you can have Black/Garnet Red or Black/Mojave Beige. Full leather is available too, for between $1,890 and $2,140, with the same color choices plus Agate Grey/Pebble Grey on offer, but for ultimate luxury, natural leather in Espresso Brown is available for $3,180. As usual, plenty of different wood, aluminum, and carbon fiber choices are on offer for various elements from the floor mats to the owner's manual. An Alcantara roof lining is standard.
The Macan Turbo may look like a proper family car, but the space behind the rear seats is conservative to say the least. The official measurement is 17.6 cubic feet, and that's only really enough for weekend luggage for each occupant. If you have no passengers in the back, you can fold the rear seats to open up a maximum of 52.9 cubic feet.
In the cabin, a quartet of cupholders is offered along with reasonable door pockets and a glovebox. You also get center armrest storage up front, but thanks to the touchscreen making up the entire center console, there's no place to put your phone and still keep an eye on it.
Although Porsche has a bad reputation as a company that charges you more for less, the Macan Turbo is a range-topper and doesn't need many improvements when it comes to its standard spec. It features Porsche Active Suspension Management adaptive dampers, the Porsche Dynamic Light System adaptive LED headlights, and 18-way adaptive power front seats. You also get a power tailgate, a sports exhaust, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, hill start assist, lane departure warning, hill descent control, front/rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and a 4.8-inch driver info display. Available options include heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, adaptive air suspension, a panoramic sunroof, wireless charging, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward collision detection, a surround-view camera, and launch control.
The infotainment system is one of the highlights of the Macan Turbo's cabin, thanks to a stunning 10.9-inch HD touchscreen display. It is complemented by features like voice control, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and four USB-C ports, two of which can connect for media syncing. A 14-speaker Bose sound system is standard, but you can opt for a 16-speaker surround-sound setup from Burmester if that's not enough. Unfortunately, neither option will give you access to Android Auto.
Reliability is not an exciting subject, but it has to be covered. Fortunately, there's not much to go over as both the 2021 and 2020 variants of the Porsche Macan, including the Turbo model, have been free of recalls thus far, and in it's reviews of the Macan, J.D. Power returned a good 80 out of 100 overall rating.
Should something go wrong, one can take comfort in the standard four-year/50,000-mile limited and powertrain warranty packages. You also get complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first year or 10,000 miles, whichever arrives earlier.
In terms of safety, evaluating expensive vehicles like this is a rarity, and neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has subjected the Porsche Macan Turbo to review. Nevertheless, with a slew of standard and available safety features, we doubt that this SUV would be in any trouble.
As standard, the Porsche Macan Turbo boasts the obligatory rearview camera, along with lane departure warning, adaptive LED headlights, hill descent control, hill start assist, and frontal, side-impact, and curtain airbags. The options list is where the bulk of the advanced features hide, with available equipment including forward collision alert, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, and a surround-view camera.
The Porsche Macan Turbo is getting on a bit now, but as we mentioned at the outset, it's still one of the best luxury compact SUVs out there. Thanks to constant updates and tweaks over the years, the Macan has managed to look fresh throughout its life cycle, and due to a brilliant platform from the outset, the Macan Turbo still handles better than just about all of its competitors. However, there will be issues for some. Those touch-sensitive buttons on the center console can be a distraction, and that miserly cargo volume rating doesn't do the Macan Turbo any favors. The lack of Android Auto for yet another year is also a frustration. Nevertheless, there are few cars that can handle and perform this well, let alone lofty crossovers. When it comes to prestige, there's also still nothing quite like a Porsche badge. It has its flaws, but for those who want the ultimate drive in a vehicle of this size, nothing else will do.
At present, the 2021 Macan Turbo is available in the USA with a base price of $84,600 MSRP, before a $1,350 delivery fee. That's a grand more than last year and more than $30k higher than what you'll pay for the base model Macan. Nevertheless, this is a premium product. As such, it also comes with premium options, and a fully loaded Porsche Macan Turbo can have a price in excess of $100,000.
Just one variant of the Macan Turbo is currently on offer, but it's a seriously impressive offering for the ultimate Macan. While all new Macan Turbo models are difficult to tell apart from their predecessors, the Turbo has experimented with different powertrains, and the one it's set on now is brilliant. A 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 is under the hood with a seven-speed PDK transmission handling output to all four wheels. The official ratings in the US are 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque, enough to get you to 60 mph in just over four seconds. Numerous standard features are included, among which are adaptive dampers, adaptive LED headlights, and adaptive sport seats up front. Those seats are heated along with the steering wheel and they have the option of ventilation too. Other features include a Bose sound system, a 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display, and tri-zone automatic climate control.
Numerous packages are available, but one of the most comprehensive is the Premium Package Plus offering. This costs $5,380 and adds a panoramic sunroof, a surround-view camera, upgraded headlights, heated rear seats, ventilation for the front seats, keyless entry and ignition, and lane-keep assist. Also available is the Sport Chrono package for $1,360. This gives you an analog and digital stopwatch on the dash, a drive-mode selector on the steering wheel, a Sport Plus mode with even sharper engine, gearbox, and chassis responses, and launch control. Adaptive air suspension is a standalone option and costs $1,390 while that upgraded Burmester sound system will set you back $4,700.
Since there's just one configuration on offer, you'll have to take a look at the standard features and available options to decide what you're happy with and what you feel needs upgrading. That said, we feel that the addition of the Premium Package Plus bundle is good value, as it enhances the luxury of the car while simultaneously bolstering safety. We'd skip past the Sport Chrono package, as this SUV is almost too quick already, and instead consider using that money on something more enjoyable every day - adaptive air suspension springs to mind.
Sometimes, your greatest competition is yourself. If we're being very traditional and very practical, a performance-enhanced SUV is still a ridiculous idea. You're paying extra for a vehicle that you can't fully exploit on the road and that you'll likely never take to a track. If your thinking follows this path, the regular Macan may be a better fit for you. With a base price over $30,000 lower than that of the Macan Turbo, the regular model offers just as much space (which isn't a lot), and very much the same level of style, sophistication, and quality. You also have access to many of the same features while living with engine choices that are more frugal. In addition, you still have the option of the GTS model with outstanding handling, racy cabin adornments, and just a little less power. We'd opt for the Macan GTS.
As cool as the Macan Turbo is, it wouldn't exist if not for the overwhelming success of the Cayenne. Despite being a bigger vehicle, you can have a Cayenne for less, with the base variant starting at $67,500. Granted, you only get 335 hp from the base model's 3.0-liter V6 turbo, but you get a lot more car too. In addition, the existence of the Cayenne S with its Macan Turbo-shared engine and output for roughly the same money is very tempting. It won't be as quick thanks to its increased weight, but you do get a usable 27.2 cubic-foot cargo area, enough space in the back for adults to sit comfortably, and a massive 12.3-inch infotainment display. Considering that the Cayenne will be more practical and almost as fun to drive, we'd go for the bigger choice here.