Does the new 375bhp Porsche Macan GTS live up to its billing as the most sporting version of the SUV's line-up?Verdict4.5If sporting SUV’s are your thing then it’s difficult to imagine a much better one than Porsche’s new Macan GTS. It looks good and goes harder than ever thanks to its 375bhp twin-turbo V6. Better still, Porsche has further improved the chassis dynamics and interior to a point where you wonder what else they could have done to make it better. And at £58,816 it even seems like decent value beside the mainline competition. Impressive. Deeply, madly impressive.
The Macan has been a massive success for Porsche, ever since it went on sale some six years ago. At launch, initial waiting lists were well over a year long because it offered a combination of qualities that no other medium-sized SUV ever had; genuine practicality matched with eye-wateringly good dynamics and a driving position that was more sports car than SUV.
Gradually, Porsche has expanded the Macan’s horizons. It’s the marque’s best selling model, facelifted last year and now completed with the latest version of the most sporting of all the Macans; the GTS.
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It doesn’t have as much power or torque as the recently introduced Turbo version but, says Porsche, the 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 GTS is the most sporting Macan you can buy because of its character. It rides 10mm lower than any other Macan, Turbo included, while visually it’s by far the most extrovert model in the range.
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Inside and out there are flashes of black in numerous places, sometimes gloss, sometimes matt; within the nose, across the rear tailgate, along its flanks and across the dash. It also rides on 20-inch wheels as standard that are of the exact same design as those of the 718 Spyder. At the same time the chassis and suspension are set up to be more responsive, more aggressive than any other Macan’s, with stiffer springs front and rear, a sportier Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) set up and red brake callipers to provide a subtle but crucial visual distinction above the other members of the range.
The twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 is essentially the same as before but in this instance produces 375bhp and 520Nm with sharper throttle response too, which is enough to send the GTS to 62mph in 4.7 seconds and to a top speed of 162mph. And this is a near-two-tonne SUV, remember.
The gearbox remains a seven-speed PDK but again the software has been tweaked to provide even quicker shifts in Sport + mode, and even smoother shifts in Normal. And on the road, it’s hard, if not impossible, not to be impressed by the GTS’ range of ability.
Select Normal via the simple rotation switch on the steering wheel and you get a calm ride, potent but never crazed responses from the engine and gearbox, and not too much noise from the vast tyres or the suspension that controls them, either.
Twist the button round to Sport and everything steps up a notch, yet still the ride remains composed, even though you become instantly aware that the GTS has begun to show its fangs dynamically. Select Sport + though and the throttle response gets a lot keener, the gearbox sharper, downshifting on its own if you brake hard into a corner, while the exhaust note changes dramatically, sounding much louder under acceleration and delivering all sorts of pops and bangs under braking.
Yet still the ride remains the right side of hard, even though the handling and steering both go up at least a couple of notches in their vivacity. Possibly the most impressive things of all about the GTS, though, are the way it steers so cleanly and the way it stops so well considering its weight.
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Dynamically the GTS is in a class of one, frankly, and given that Porsche has further improved the interior design and quality – starting from an already strong place in both areas – it’s hard not to like the GTS, even if you are not a great fan of the sporting SUV in the first place.
Porsche has also improved the tech on offer inside, with Apple CarPlay fully integrated into the fine communications system, which features a 10.9-inch touchscreen. There’s also a clever new optional Traffic Jam assist feature, whereby the car virtually drives itself when it detects it is in very slow moving traffic by using a combination of sensors and surround video cameras, the same cameras that are used for the Park Assist systems.
Bottom line; if you want a sporty SUV that’s also packed with cutting edge technology, some of which is optional admittedly, there is no place further you should look. Which is saying something when there are rivals such as the guttural Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and muscle-laden Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S to compete with.
- Model: Porsche Macan GTS
- Price: £58,816
- Engine: .9-litre twin-turbo V6
- Power/torque: 375bhp/520Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed PDK auto, four-wheel drive
- 0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
- Top speed: 162mph
- Economy/CO2: 29.4mpg/218g/km
- On sale: Now
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