The Porsche Macan Turbo is the fastest version of what its maker confidently labels “the sports car of compact SUVs". Even the word ‘compact’ is questionable for a vehicle that measures 4.7 metres long.
But Porsche already has form – with the Cayenne that had purists not quite unfurling protest banners outside the company’s HQ but certainly making it clear they believed the company should be building sports cars not SUVs. And it has gone on to become Porsche’s best-selling model – doing so while staying as close to the company’s sports car DNA as a large SUV arguably could.
Fortunately, the Porsche Centre Leipzig – complete with its upturned-Apollo-space-capsule-style building – is blessed with a terrific little racetrack that replicates famous grand prix circuit corners from around the world.
Through high-speed sweeping corners (Parabolica and Lesmo, both Monza, Italy), up hill and then down through a blind downhill S-bend (Laguna Seca, California) or into and out of a tight chicane (Bus Stop, from Belgium’s Spa) the Macan impresses.
The electro-mechanical steering doesn’t feel as crisp off center as it does in a Cayman, though there’s well judged weighting and laser-like accuracy as you point the Macan into a constant-radius corner and simply hold the steering angle until ready to straighten it for braking.
Our Porsche Macan Turbo was fitted with optional ceramic brakes, which cost a fortune but save money on brake pads for those who want to take their Porsche to a track even if it’s an SUV rather than a sports car. Both standard and optional brakes, though, provide the kind of easy-to-modulate braking feel that gives the driver all the encouragement they need to be the last of the late brakers.
Published: Monday, February 24, 2014