Engine3.0L Turbo V6
Power348 HP / 354 LB-FT
Transmission8-Speed Dual Clutch
Cargo17.7 / 53.0 CU-FT
To test that theory, we flew to the middle of the Mediterranean to take the new 2019 Porsche Macan for a spin. After a day of navigating Palma de Mallorca's narrow, twisting cliff-side roads, and dodging packs of cyclists, we can confirm that Porsche's small SUV is still one of the best in class. Despite being a crossover, it does what all Porsches do best: deliver a great, sporting drive.
The 2019 Macan will ship with two engines, or as Porsche likes to call them, "drive units." The base Macan will come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four that puts out 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. These numbers are identical to the outgoing Macan, which shouldn't be a surprise as it's basically the same engine apart from several small revisions designed to increase responsiveness and efficiency.
The biggest update to the range is the new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 in the Macan S. This engine puts out 348 hp and 354 lb-ft (up from 340 hp and 339 lb-ft) and first made its appearance in the Panamera followed by the new Cayenne.
This engine features a single, twin-scroll turbocharger located between the cylinders of the V6 rather than off to one side of the engine — referred to as a "hot-V" arrangement, it has several advantages. The overall packaging is much more compact, giving engineers more freedom for placement in the engine bay. And placing the turbo close to the combustion chambers means there is less distance for the exhaust and subsequent charged air to travel. Shortening this distance increases the responsiveness of the engine to throttle inputs, making it feel sportier than the outgoing unit.
Additionally the new twin-scroll turbocharger provides maximum torque much lower in the power band, with maximum torque coming in at 1,360 rpm and staying flat up until 4,800 before starting to fall off. This huge power curve was highlighted on the narrow twisty roads that bisect Palma de Mallorca, where the punchy 3.0-liter could rocket the Macan out of hairpin bends. It scooted around packs of Tour de France hopefuls without ever feeling like a switch to the PDK transmission's manual mode was necessary to keep the engine on-song.
Speaking of the PDK, Porsche's ubiquitous dual-clutch automated manual transmission is standard and has been optimized to the new engines. In both Normal and Sport mode, shift times have been decreased and responses to throttle inputs have been improved.
In keeping with the Macan's sporting nature, the Sport Chrono package remains available but with a new feature called Sports Response that trickles down from the 911 and 718 lines. Activated by a steering wheel button, Sport Response increases the Macan's responsiveness for 20 seconds, providing the driver Sport Plus levels of performance (quicker throttle and PDK response) without having to fully engage the Sport Plus mode. It seems a bit gimmicky at first, but ends up being helpful when wanting to pass a vehicle in a hurry.
Porsche has made a few upgrades to the handling as well, and since great handling is part of the Porsche DNA, it happens to be what really sets the Macan apart from the rest of the small SUV crowd. Up front, the control arms are now made of aluminum instead of steel, and they have a unique forked design that spreads over and around the driveshafts, creating a more direct connection with the front upright. This new setup is more rigid, and reduces the unsprung mass by around 3.3 pounds — a significant amount. This helps with steering response and reduces the workload on the shocks, allowing for a smoother ride and better handling.
To help increase the responsiveness and turn in, Porsche reduced the front rim width by half an inch. The tire sizes are now staggered: between 235/60/18 and 265/40/21 on the front, and between 255/55/18 and 295/35/21 on the rear. Those wheels hide massive 360mm brake rotors (on the Macan S), up 10mm from the last gen. Additionally Porsche's active damper control system (PASM), height-adjustable air suspension and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) continue to be options.
All of these small improvements really helped the Macan S feel at home while traveling up the steep mountain roads in the center of Mallorca. This Mediterranean island isn't the sort of place that's typically chosen to launch an SUV, but the Macan is no ordinary SUV. It's a sports car with big bones. You can push it into corners harder than any SUV has a right to be pushed, and still come out the other side looking for the next corner to attack.
Visually there are a few key changes to help distinguish the 2019 Porsche Macan from the original design. There's a larger grille, standard LED headlights, and most notably, in keeping with Porsche's current styling trends, a singular light bar links the rear taillights.
The interior upgrades are equally limited, which is fine as the Macan shares its interior design with the rest of its Porsche siblings. The main revision is the upgrade to a new 10.9-inch touchscreen from the old Macan's 7.2-inch unit. The new screen is a thing of beauty, with sharp, easy-to-read graphics, a hyper-responsive touchscreen, and fairly intuitive customizable menus.
The new Macan also comes with Porsche's Connect Plus (LTE communications module) included. This adds a a bunch of handy features including Navigation with real time traffic updates and something Porsche calls Risk Radar, which uses swarm data (anonymous information sent from all equipped vehicles on the road) to alert drivers to hazardous conditions, accidents, etc.
When it arrives at dealers this spring, the 2019 Porsche Macan will list for $49,900 with the S going for $58,600. That continues to make it one of the priciest vehicles in the compact luxury SUV segment, with rivals like the BMW X3/X4, Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and Jaguar F-Pace undercutting it by thousands. Yet the Macan has generally looked, felt and driven like it should cost a bit more. And while there's no radical additions to the new Macan, all of the small upgrades and revisions should at least continue that perception while maintaining its reign as Porsche's No.1-selling vehicle.