The Rubenesque Porsche Cayenne never really did it for me, even if it sold like hot cakes and was the car that saved Porsche. It was just too big and bossy. But when I first clapped eyes on the curves of its little sister the Macan, it was car-lust at first sight.
Porsche launched the Macan into an increasingly hot market of mid-sized, sporty SUVs, including Audi’s Q5, BMW’s X3 and Range-Rover’s Sport. They had already defied physics with the gargantuan Cayenne, so here was a sector in which Porsche’s performance know-how could surely shine: a trimmed down, lighter, lither version. The Macan’s styling reflected the intention. It looks just right to me with curves in all the right places, none in the wrong and lines subtly reminiscent of the 911. Overall a convincing blend of utility vehicle and sports car. I was impatient to try one.
As it happened my daughter needed a lift to Norwich the day our deep velvet-blue Macan Diesel S was delivered. As we climbed the hill along a single-lane road which comprises the unavoidable first few miles of the journey, a builder’s lorry came hurtling towards us. I was opposite a driveway so I pulled over to let him pass. He slowed and looked at me out of his cab, a look that well … My daughter must have noticed because as we pulled away she said: ‘The trouble with a Porsche, is that while it might be shiny and fast and have a touch-screen and leather all over the place, everyone hates you for having it’.
Further on we came face to face to with two vintage ladies in a hatchback. This time I couldn’t make way without reversing for over half-a-mile, or scratching the lovely paint on a thorny hedge. Whereas they had just passed a junction. But the two ladies just sat there, defiantly. One of them pointed at my car and gestured with a sweep of the hand across the landscape, while the other just shook her head. Still tutting they eventually reversed – about ten yards – and as I passed them I waved and smiled the cheeriest ‘thank-you’ I could muster. I wanted these two ladies to like me. But no. All I got was the same boiler-plate disdain, this time through two pairs of Dame Edna specs.
‘Oh well,’ I said as we turned onto the first bit of road where it’s safe to put your foot down, ‘let’s see how fast it is.’ As the digital display flickered urgently through all the numbers between 0 and 60, my daughter wryly commented: ‘It might be fast, but is it fast enough to escape judgement?’.
‘Ha ha,’ I said. ‘Very witty. It might not be. But it is definitely fast enough to escape giving a shit.’
In fact with the Diesel S a carefree 60 mph arrives in 6.3 seconds. But that respectable if not blistering pace is only half the story because the Macan’s 580 NM of torque (somewhere between a Carrera S and a 911 Turbo) arrives in the absolute trouser-seat of the rev range, meaning it’s one of the best overtaking machines I’ve ever wielded past all the old people in hats drifting slowly and without purpose around the roads of East Anglia. Gap, go, gone.
And then … only after I’d driven it for a day or two did I get round to working out this effortless, anywhere-you-want-it shove was at the gentle end of the spectrum. Engage Sport Plus in engine and suspension mode and the Macan morphs into a road-hungry maniac, a 911 in wellies.
So far, so very Porsche, so very desirable. Other than its lusty lines and urgent pace what else did I notice in my all-too-brief days of ‘ownership’? The ground clearance is more than you’d expect and can be made more than that again with the touch of a button. The Sat-Nav was one of the easiest to use, including a bewilderingly rare facility to review the entire suggested route. It was very comfortable and there’s a surprising amount of room in the back and the boot. I was in love, I have to admit. You don’t notice the faults, if there aren’t any.
All in all I’ve rarely been more reluctant to give back a set of keys and wave goodbye to a review car.
Porsche Macan Diesel S
Price from £ 45,942
Annual road fund licence £194
CO2 159 – 164 g/km
Combined fuel consumption 44 mpg
Power 258 bhp
0-60mph 6.3 secs.
Top Speed 142mph