It plugs the gap
IT takes skill and judgment to squeeze an SUV into a tight spot and Porsche aims to park the newest version of its mediumsize Macan in an amazingly narrow gap.
The GTS must slip into the skimpy space between the existing Turbo and S models.
Porsche’s bestseller, the Macan accounts for about half of the brand’s Australian sales so far this year.
When it goes on sale in April, the GTS will add a dash of sporty spice to the line-up.
Porsche carefully calculated this increase in spiciness.
The GTS has a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, just like the S. Porsche’s engineers have turned up the dial to make it more powerful but not as powerful as that in the Macan Turbo, a larger twin-turbo V6.
At $109,500, the GTS adds a $20,200 premium to the S but it is $16,300 less than the Turbo.
Porsche claims that the GTS will scoot from 0-100km/h in 5.2 seconds, a little quicker than the S, but also a fraction slower than the Turbo.
The GTS seems designed for the kind of well-off ditherers who simply can’t decide whether the S or the Turbo is the right Macan for them.
But there is a little more to this speedy five-seat SUV than simply filling a narrow niche.
Porsche fits the GTS with suspension 15mm lower than the S, adaptive shock absorbers specially tuned for faster cornering and big 20-inch wheels wearing wide rubber.
It’s the sportiest Macan of all, Porsche plausibly claims.
Black trimmings on the outside and deep-sided, Alcantara-trimmed front seats inside give the GTS a more purposeful look and feel, without reducing its wagon-like versatility.
On a smooth and winding road, the Macan GTS is a stunningly quick SUV.
The engine delivers solid punch through the standard seven-speed double-clutch transmission.
Its all-wheel drive channels power mainly to the rear wheels, aiding traction and making the handling more carlike than lesser SUVs. There’s great grip from the broad tyres, the steering is quick and the brakes — always a Porsche strength — are excellent.
But on roads that aren’t perfect, the GTS can be tiresome to drive. Its standard adaptive shock absorbers — Porsche’s name for this technology is PASM, for Porsche Active Suspension Management — are frustrating.
The driver can choose from Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes, none of which can happily combine sporty handling and smooth ride.