IF THE Macan is the meanest compact SUV around then the new GTS variant is the point man. Depending on the mood and driving mode, this car can camouflage itself among the SUV shopping crowd or blast its way to the front of the pack.
It is — excuse the oxymoron — a driver-focused SUV. That’s precisely what should happen when a sports car company builds a compact crossover, even if the result is slightly compromised in both roles.
The Macan’s rear space isn’t nearly as generous as on the similarly sized Audi Q5. As a sports car, it lacks the low centre of gravity that makes other Porsches so much fun to fling around corners.
Still the GTS does a more than credible job, to the point where it will shame many sedans through the twisties. Porsche has trimmed 15mm off the ride height and fitted adaptive dampers to help keep the nearly two-tonne mass flat and fluid through the turns.
Helping tame momentum are brakes borrowed from the Macan Turbo. The interior is typical Porsche with a plethora of buttons and dials, many duplicated on the touchscreen.
The driving position is close to ideal: a small steering wheel, grippy and well-bolstered seats and pedals that need little provocation to elicit a response.
The GTS’s heart is a twinturbo V6 (265kW/500Nm). Fed through a seven-speed dualclutch transmission and allwheel drive, that equates to a 5.2-second sprint to triple figures. Most of the propulsion is funnelled to the 20-inch rear wheels shod with Pirelli rubber.
At $109,500 plus on-roads the GTS isn’t cheap … but it is a bargain in performance terms and nothing else in its class or price range matches it for size and sheer cornering speed.
Drop an extra $2690 on the Chrono Pack and you’ll get a performance boost — the Sports Plus vehicle setting that sets the drivetrain and chassis to race-like responsiveness. You may never use it but you will point out the extra switch out to friends and family, guaranteed. Comfort is the default setting for the GTS suspension and it softens the dampers to the point where the Macan only mildly jostles the occupants over pockmarked country tarmac.
Step it up into Sport — the natural environment of any Porsche — and the suspension faithfully follows every undulation and scabbed-over pothole. Those in the back feel it most, apparently.
You don’t buy a Macan as a sports car: that’s the bonus. As a city runabout the Macan is realistically a four-seater.
Boot space at 500L is practical for weekend getaways or carrying kids’ paraphernalia.
So you can doddle around the ’burbs all week and then exploit the Macan’s mean streak with an interesting route to the golf club on the weekend.
It takes a while to acquaint PORSCHE MACAN GTS PRICE From $109,500 WARRANTY 3 years/unlimited km CAPPED SERVICING No SERVICE INTERVAL 12 months/15,000km SAFETY Not tested ENGINE 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo, 265kW/500Nm TRANSMISSION 7-speed dual-clutch auto; AWD THIRST 9.2L/100km DIMENSIONS 4692mm (L), 1926mm (W), 1609mm (H), 2807mm (WB) WEIGHT 1895kg yourself with the array of buttons that festoon the centre dash and console. Those that adjust the performance of the vehicle are found alongside the transmission lever but the switchgear extends to the roof.
The tri-zone aircon takes little time to do its thing, the new infotainment setup is now on a par with modern offerings from other European and Asian makers and the audio was highly rated by my teenagers. It is either a seriously quick SUV or a very accommodating sports car. Think of it as a quality blended whisky rather than a single malt.