Lust at first sight

The Porsche Ma­canõs cov­etable curves, ur­gent pace and su­perla­tive over­tak­ing abil­i­ties leave Charles Ran­ge­ley-wil­son lovelorn and re­luc­tant to hand back the keys

Country Life Every Week - - In The Driving Seat -

THE Rube­nesque Porsche Cayenne never re­ally did it for me, even if it was the car that saved Porsche. It was just too big and bossy. How­ever, 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. It 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 has curves in all the right places and lines sub­tly rem­i­nis­cent of the 911. Over­all, it’s 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 vel­vet-blue Macan Diesel S was de­liv­ered. As we climbed the hill along a sin­gle-lane road, a lorry came hurtling to­wards us. I was op­po­site a drive­way, so I pulled over to let him pass. He slowed and looked at me with a look that, well… Iona must have no­ticed be­cause, as we pulled away, she said: ‘The trou­ble with a Porsche is that ev­ery­one hates you for hav­ing it.’

Fur­ther on, we came face to face with two vin­tage ladies in a hatch­back. This time, I couldn’t make way with­out re­vers­ing for more than half a mile or scratch­ing the lovely paint on a hedge, whereas they had just passed a junc­tion, but the two ladies just sat there, de­fi­antly. One ges­tured with a sweep of the hand and the other just shook her head. Still tut­ting, they even­tu­ally reversed and, as I passed them, I waved and smiled the cheeri­est ‘thank you’ I could muster. Iona’s words were play­ing on my mind, but all I got was the same boil­er­plate dis­dain.

‘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, Iona 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’s def­i­nitely fast enough to es­cape car­ing.’

In fact, with the Diesel S, a care­free 60mph ar­rives in 6.3 sec­onds, but that re­spectable if not blis­ter­ing pace is only half the story, be­cause the Macan’s 580NM 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.

Only af­ter I’d driven it for a day or two did I get round to work­ing out that 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

‘The Porsche Macan is a 911 in wellies

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 sat­nav was one of the easi­est I’ve used, 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 so in love, I have to ad­mit, that I didn’t no­tice the faults, if there were any.

All in all, I’ve rarely been more re­luc­tant to give back a set of keys and wave good­bye to a re­view car.

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