ESTORIL, Portugal – There’s a reason SUVs haven't caught on in Europe like they have in the U.S. The 2020 Porsche Macan GTS isn’t large by American standards, but in a small village nestled in the hills of western Portugal, it might as well be a Peterbilt. Squeezing the SUV through the town’s narrow maze of stone-walled medieval cart paths is proving difficult. And to make matters worse, we’re lost as the Porsche navigation system struggles to supply an escape route to the coast. Porsche calls the new GTS the sportiest Macan, but in this environment, its 375 horsepower, lowered suspension and 21-inch wheels wrapped in summer tires aren’t doing us much good. Finally, after about an hour, just as the early morning fog burns off and the sun begins to dry the dew from the region's ancient tracks, we bust out and reach the Atlantic. The road opens with the vistas, and on the two-lane snaking past the surfers, beach cafes and gothic castles, it becomes immediately clear the Macan GTS can hustle. Heavily revised inside and out for the 2019 model year, the compact Macan continues to be the brand’s best-selling model in America. After sitting out for a year, the Macan GTS (Gran Turismo Sport) makes its return for 2020 as the fourth version in the lineup, slotting between the 348-hp Macan S and the 434-hp Macan Turbo. Its $72,650 base price also splits the cost of the other two, and it’s about $3,000 more than the previous version cost in 2018. That version of the GTS, first introduced in 2016, featured a 360-hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, which has been scrapped. This new version is considerably stronger thanks to a detuned version of the 2.9-liter V6 used in the Macan Turbo. The engine also sees duty in the Cayenne S and Panamera 4S, and unlike the 3.0-liter, its turbos are mounted between its cylinder heads in the V of the engine block. The “hot V” design, which is also used by Mercedes and BMW, shortens the manifolds and increases response time. In the Macan Turbo, the engine is rated 434 hp at 5,700 rpm and 405 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. Software changes along with a drop in peak boost pressure from 33.4 psi to 31.9 psi give the Macan GTS ratings of 375 hp at 5,200 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm. That torque peak lasts until five grand, so the new engine also offers a wider plateau of power than the old 3.0-liter, and Porsche says its gets the 4,370-pound SUV to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds or 4.5 seconds with our test car’s optional Sport Chrono Package that includes Launch Control. It feels considerably quicker than that, and it probably is. Porsche notoriously underestimates the thrust of its machines. Although it says the Macan S is a 4.9-second car to 60 mph, Car and Driver has run a 4.7, for instance. With its Launch Control unleashing the SUV …
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|MPG||19 City / 23 Hwy|
|Transmission||7-spd auto-shift man w/OD|
|Power||248 @ 5000 rpm|
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