by Sebastian Cenizo
If you're in the market for a fast compact crossover from a luxury German automaker, the options keep on growing as more and more brands offer performance variants of their various SUV styles. One of the most successful offerings in the Porsche model range is the Macan, which has become the company's best-selling model. With the Macan Turbo, Porsche lovers get access to an engine found in products like the Cayenne and Panamera: a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6. Output is rated at 434 horsepower with 406 lb-ft of torque, with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission sitting between the motor and the all-wheel-drive system. A potent performance package usually comes with a potent price, and the Macan Turbo is no different, retailing at a starting price of $83,600.
A lot of changes have been made since the last Macan Turbo was released in 2018, with the old 3.6-liter V6 being replaced by a smaller, more powerful engine. Some subtle styling tweaks have also taken effect, allowing the Turbo to fit in with the rest of the refreshed Macan range. A new 10.9-inch high-definition touchscreen debuted on lesser Macan models in 2019 and now makes its way into the Turbo, while stopping power is now characterized by a Porsche Surface Coated Brake system as standard. Other standard additions for the 2020 model year include 20-inch wheels, a sports exhaust, 18-way power-adjustable sports seats, and standard inclusion of adaptive LED headlights known as the Porsche Dynamic Light System. The PDLS+ option remains for those who want high-beam assist as well. Meanwhile, an available traffic jam assist system can help make slow-moving traffic situations more bearable by controlling the car at speeds of up to 37 mph.
The Macan Turbo is, like most Porsche products, almost indistinguishable from other models in the product range, except to aficionados who can spot the unique flourishes on the body. The front and rear bumpers are more aggressive, with larger air intakes on the front and a quad-tipped sports exhaust exiting at the back. The Macan Turbo also features full LED lighting all round and a unique roof spoiler, while the impressive brakes peek out from behind 20-inch wheels as standard, or 21s if you spec them.
The Porsche Macan Turbo lives up to its compact billing with an overall length of 184.5 inches, with the wheelbase at 110.6 inches. Excluding the mirrors, the body measures 76.2 inches in width, while curb weight starts at 4,430 lbs. Height works out to 64 inches. While most owners will rarely do more off-roading than climbing a sidewalk, the standard suspension is capable of clearing obstacles as high as eight inches, while the optional air suspension setup has ground clearance values of between 7.48 and nine inches, depending on how you've set it.
Color options that don't cost you anything are limited to your plain black and white, but a lot more variety can be had if you're willing to spend extra. Metallic options cost $700 a pop, with eight choices available: Carrara White, Jet Black, Volcano Grey, Dolomite Silver, Sapphire Blue, Night Blue, Mahogany, and the gorgeously overt Mamba Green. Special colors are $3,120 each, with Carmine Red, Chalk, and Miami Blue. Naturally, Porsche will be more than willing to paint your Macan Turbo in a custom color, whether it be metallic or not. However, they'll charge you quite a whack for the privilege: $11,430.
These days, a performance-enhanced vehicle, even if it is an inherently compromised sporty SUV, almost always has to come with all-wheel-drive in order to remain moderately competitive. Mercedes, BMW, and even Ferrari know that 0-60 times are the figures that stick in the collective car world's mind when comparing figures, and the best way to minimize those figures is with maximum traction and a clever launch control system. If you spec the Sport Chrono package, launch control does indeed get added to your Macan Turbo, enabling a 0-60 mph time of as low as 4.1 seconds. Without the package, the regular MT will clock the sprint just two tenths slower. Sending power to all four wheels is a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 producing 34 horsepower more than the 3.6-liter engine it replaces. Official peak outputs are rated at 434 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission stirring the gears for you. Top speed is also improved by three mph over the old model and is now at 167 mph. In terms of practicality, the Macan Turbo promises to tow as much as 4,409 lbs.
The Macan Turbo is only available with a single powertrain configuration, borrowing an engine from the Cayenne and sticking exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch called PDK. Regular readers will know that this transmission is the closest to a faultless setup as we've ever seen, with variable settings managing numerous personalities. In Comfort mode, the 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 is allowed to potter along quietly in the background, with smooth and silent shifts. In Sport mode, the engine's 434 hp and 406 lb-ft are maximized for speed, with shifts occurring several times quicker than the human eye can blink. Thanks to a newly-standard sports exhaust, the Macan Turbo sounds sufficiently aggressive and will leave an imposing growl as you effortlessly overtake traffic on the freeway with your foot flat. While it's not as breakneck ferocious as more focused metal like a 911, the Macan Turbo is still one truly rapid crossover, and opting for the Sport Chrono package with its launch control capability and dashtop stopwatch helps drive home the point that you're behind the wheel of a vehicle produced by one of the most prolific sports car manufacturers on the planet.
Adaptive suspension generally favors either stiffness or wallowing floatiness, with the exception of a third type seen in some of the best systems, where the ride can be comfortable even when the rebound is composed. The standard adaptive suspension on the Porsche Macan Turbo falls into the latter category, with Comfort mode offering a light, pillowy ride, and Sport stiffening up the suspension but retaining good composure. Sport+ is even good enough to live with day to day, unless you regularly traverse broken pavement. The result is a vehicle that handles almost as well as its lifted profile suggests it shouldn't. Opting for the available air suspension system improves the effects even further, with truly luxurious ride quality. When it comes to stopping, the Macan Turbo boasts a Porsche Surface Coated Brake system, with the discs coated in tungsten carbide. The result is improved braking response, less wear, and, according to Porsche, a 90 percent reduction in brake dust compared to regular cast-iron discs. Highlighting their belief in the reduced dust are calipers painted in gloss white. While the technology has been seen before on the bigger Cayenne, it's been refined here and is far easier to modulate than when it was first released, with none of the grabby action of the first iterations.
Official gas mileage estimates have not yet been claimed by the people at Porsche, with the EPA not yet testing the Macan Turbo. However, we do expect it to be considerably more economical compared to the old 3.6-liter power plant that used to sit under the hood, and due to its lower curb weight, it should be more efficient than the Cayenne S with which it shares an engine. As a matter of interest, that SUV scores 18/22/20 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles and is 300 lbs heavier than the Macan Turbo.
The Macan Turbo's interior is starting to show its age slightly, still being dominated by chunky buttons on the center console, but at least this makes it easier to find what you're looking for. As always, leather is plentiful and the design is clean and classy, but the big news is that the returning Macan Turbo gets the latest 10.9-inch high-definition touch display introduced to the range last year. Sitting in front, the standard 18-way power-adjustable sport seats offer plenty of range and are comfy, but at the back, the sloping roof and narrow hips of the car lead to a slightly cramped seating area for adults. As usual, specifying the Sport Chrono package adds a digital and analog stopwatch clock to the dash.
The Macan Turbo is a five-seater according to Porsche, but the fairytale that the people in Stuttgart must be living in likely involves some dwarves. Anyone big enough to climb into the Macan in a single step will find the rear of the crossover rather tight, with shoulder room, headroom, and legroom all at a premium. Things are vastly better up front, where standard 18-way power-adjustable seats offer lumbar support and multiple incremental movements to allow people of all sizes to find a commanding driving position. While visibility out the front is equally good, the rear quarters are compromised by a large C-pillar and a narrow letterbox rear window. Okay, the back window isn't that bad, but it's not big enough either.
As is always the case with Porsche, customization is of paramount importance. Depending on your budget, the choices are almost endless. An Alcantara headliner is now standard, and you can have either Black or Agate Grey partial leather seats for no cost. Options include Black/Garnet Red or Black/Mojave Beige for $220, or you can spec full leather in the Black or Agate Grey for $1,890. Two-tone options include Agate Grey/Pebble Grey, and cost $2,140, or you could opt for natural leather in an Espresso coloring for $3,180. Seatbelts can also be had in all the above colors, with the instrument cluster available in the same shades or white for $700. Trim options include various types of wood, brushed aluminum, or carbon fiber, each with their own pricing - for instance, wood trim ranges from no-cost Dark Walnut to $1,260 Anthracite Chestnut. Special trimmings can be specced for your door sills too, and you can even personalize them with a script or logo of your choice.
The Porsche Macan Turbo is a car that is designed to look like a practical family car while still offering that Porsche driving experience and, of course, the bragging rights that come with it. As such, you'd expect it to have a cavernous cargo area, but the area behind the rear seats is not particularly large for an SUV, offering only 17.6 cubic feet of volume. This is enough to pack luggage for four fairly comfortably, but only for a weekend away. Fold the rear seats down and volume expands considerably to 52.9 cubic feet.
In the cabin, the center armrest holds some smaller items, but phones and wallets will be relegated to the door pockets or the glovebox, with a pair of cupholders for each front and rear area of the cockpit.
As standard, the Macan Turbo comes with adaptive dampers, a power tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, and 18-way adaptive power-adjustable heated sports seats, a 4.8-inch driver info display, and cruise control. You also get tri-zone climate control, heated mirrors, front and rear park sensors, lane-departure warning, hill-start assist, and the Porsche Dynamic Light System, which is the brand's version of adaptive LED headlights. Optionally available is PDLS+, which adds auto high-beams. Other available features that can be specced if your pockets are deep enough include a heated windscreen, air suspension, keyless entry and ignition, Qi inductive charging for your smartphone, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a panoramic sunroof. Also available is adaptive cruise control, and if specced, you can have traffic jam assist too, with forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel can also be specced, and the Sport Chrono package adds launch control and a dashtop analog and digital stopwatch clock. A 360-degree parking camera can also be optioned on, replacing the standard rearview camera.
The infotainment system in the Macan Turbo is hard to miss. The dash is dominated by a 10.9-inch high-definition touchscreen featuring voice-activated navigation, USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Horizontally-mounted, the screen features beautiful graphics and an impressive interface that is simple to learn and easy to navigate. Output comes via a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system, but connoisseurs may wish to opt for the Burmester 12-speaker adaptive sound system. Bluetooth is standard along with SiriusXM satellite radio, but Apple CarPlay is not. Here, it's a $360 option. Android Auto is not available at all.
The 2020 model year of the Macan Turbo has thus far been free of recalls, and its predecessor from 2018 was similarly carefree for owners. The Porsche Cayenne S, with which the Macan shares its engine, has been subject to a single recall, but it was unrelated to the powertrain.
In terms of warranties, Porsche includes four years or 50,000 miles of limited and powertrain coverage, whichever comes first. The paint is covered for the same period and a limited corrosion warranty is in effect for the first 12 years of ownership with no mileage restrictions imposed. A complimentary maintenance visit within the first year or first 10,000 miles is also included.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA have rated the Macan in any guise, as is usually the case with vehicles in this sort of price range. However, thanks to standard adaptive LED headlights and optional features like adaptive cruise control with autonomous braking, we expect the Macan would score well.
Standard safety features on the 2020 Porsche Macan Turbo are limited to the rearview camera and the lane-departure warning, hill-start assist, and airbags, among which there are frontal, side-impact (both rows), and curtain bellows. Options include forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and lane-change assist. That last system integrates blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert. If you've specced the adaptive cruise control, you also get traffic jam assist, allowing the car to operate itself and move without input at speeds of up to 37 mph. A 360-degree surround-view parking camera is also available.
The Porsche Macan Turbo is doubtless a good-looking thing and is better proportioned than its larger Cayenne stablemate, but its smaller dimensions make it less practical as a family vehicle as the rear seats are stuffy. However, it comes with an impressive list of standard features, and if you have younger kids, the cramped rear seating area won't be a bother. As always, the possibilities are endless for customization, but even the standard vehicle offers a premium ambiance and a supremely comfortable ride. That new infotainment system's touchscreen is also a thing of beauty and works effortlessly, but the real party piece is the engine - a small bomb of a motor. While it may lack the explosive qualities of say, a 911 Turbo, the 434-hp mill is sure to be more than satisfactory for those who want to risk jail time and a suspended sentence on the open road. The gearbox, as we're accustomed to when shifting a Porsche, is magnificent, and the standard seats are brilliantly capable of providing comfort and support in equal measure. Overall, the Porsche Macan Turbo is certainly an expensive fashion accessory with minimal practical application, but it's very effective at blowing your hair back and posing as a one-size-fits-all-applications kind of vehicle.
If phrases like "deviated leather" mean nothing to you, the Macan Turbo's asking price is likely to be out of reach too. As with all Porsche products, the company's success depends on selling you as little as possible for as much as possible. In this case, the standard feature list isn't as scant as on lesser models, making it something of a bargain, but you still have to pay at least $83,600 for the Macan Turbo - before you fork out another $1,350 for delivery and processing. Fully loaded, your Macan Turbo can quite easily exceed $100,000.
The Macan Turbo is a standalone model - at least until the inevitable Turbo S comes along to further inflate Porsche's profit margin. For now, the solitary configuration for the all-wheel-drive luxury crossover involves a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 with 434 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. This is available exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Adaptive dampers control rebound on the standard 20-inch wheels, with an air suspension setup and 21-inch wheels available as options. Adaptive LED headlights adorn the front fascia, with a full-length LED taillight setup at the rear. Below that are the quad tips of a sports exhaust system. Inside the cabin, partial leather upholstery is standard with an Alcantara headliner, but an extended leather package is available for more luxury. A 10.9-inch high-definition touchscreen serves as a horizontal interface for the standard 14-speaker Bose sound system, and features like voice control, SiriusXM satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are included. A power liftgate is also standard, along with heated front seats and tri-zone climate control. Options include heating for the front seats, the steering wheel, and the windscreen. Other available features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and a surround-view camera can be ticked to maximize safety.
2.9-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
The obvious choice for those wanting to extract maximum performance from their Porsche is the Sport Chrono package, a suite that adds a digital and analog stopwatch, launch control, and additional drive modes. On this model, it costs $1,360. Other add-ons worth noting include the adaptive cruise control system for $1,170, a surround-view parking camera for $1,200, and adaptive air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management for $1,390. If the standard brakes are not grabby enough for you, ceramic composite rotors with yellow calipers can be had for the price of a small used car, at $4,660. If you're a rare breed of budget-conscious Porsche buyer who doesn't want to exceed $1,000 on options, keyless entry and ignition cost $800.
If you'd rather not scour through the list of individual options, Porsche offers the Premium Package Plus at $4,060. This package bundles together features like a panoramic roof system, lane keep assist, auto-dimming mirrors, and ventilation for the front seats. Apple CarPlay is thrown in too, but the catch is that you can only order this package by adding the Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus as well - that goes for an additional $520.
If this were a full-on Porsche sports car with two doors and an engine somewhere behind the front seats, we'd be suggesting the Sport Chrono package. In everyday use, however, a reduction of two tenths in the 0-60 time is a moot point, and the standard car is more than sporty enough. Instead, we'd opt for some safety paraphernalia and simultaneously increase the Macan Turbo's convenience quotient by speccing adaptive cruise control and a surround-view camera. To improve overall comfort, we'd opt to heat the rear seats and add ventilation to the front chairs. We'd also spec the two-piece panoramic sunroof with its electric sunblind for ultimate style and comfort.
A new model for 2020, the Macan GTS also makes use of a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6, albeit with less power. In the GTS, you get 375 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, but the same seven-speed PDK and all-wheel-drive system found in the Turbo do duty here too. This model gets adaptive air suspension as standard, and gets its own unique gloss black styling cues. The seating features Alcantara, and tri-zone climate control, adaptive LED headlights, and the same standard safety features as in the Turbo are also present here. The same infotainment screen is fitted as well, but with ten speakers as standard. Much of the same interior finishing options are available, and the Macan GTS has the same storage capacity as the Turbo. Overall, the GTS is very similar to the Turbo, but with less power and arguably even better styling - both inside and out. For a saving of $12,300, the GTS is just as good as the Turbo, but with less power and a better suspension. We'd bank the extra cash for a holiday and smile behind the wheel of the GTS.
The Cayenne S is the Macan Turbo's big brother, the model from which the junior Porsche borrowed its heart. Output is identical between the two models, although the heavier Cayenne is a little slower on the top end and loses at least half a second in the 0-60 mph sprint. However, the all-wheel-drive Cayenne S has an even better eight-speed PDK transmission that allows the motor to all but fade from cognizance when cruising in top gear. More importantly, the Cayenne has a much bigger cargo area that is almost ten cubic feet larger, and, thanks to an even higher stance, is capable of surmounting more than just mall parking lot curbs. In addition, the Cayenne S comes standard with a panoramic roof and has a much more spacious interior. While it loses out on standard adaptive headlights and only has dual-zone climate control, the Cayenne S is still more car for your money, and at a starting price just $700 dearer, the bigger SUV is where the smart money is at.