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We’ve just been given the green-light to go ahead with this article. Why green light? Because we are literally the first media source who has had the opportunity to punt around in the Porsche Macan; we were only allowed to pick one car from the range, and went for the base model four-cylinder turbo, one which we anticipate will be a strong seller.

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The 2.0 litre four pot is lifted from VW Group’s production line, and the Macan is the first Porsche in 22 years to get a four-cylinder option. We believe the engine is  VW Group’s EA888 (used in the Golf GTI), and in the Macan, is tweaked to produce some 237hp/5,000rpm and 350Nm/1,500rpm. Mated to a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch box, the Macan sprints from zerotohundred in 6.9 seconds and tops out at 223km/h.

Naturally, we tested the Macan on a long clear stretch of road and even though we do not have official timings, can confirm that the SUV is no slouch. In fact, the performance is pretty impressive, considering the Macan’s massive 1,845 kg kerbweight. Stopping power is good too, courtesy of the six-pot aluminum mono-blocs.

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Yes, it might have stats from a hot-hatch, but the actual driving experience is a grown up, very pleasant affair.  Although the Macan shares much of its roots with the Audi Q5, Porsche has clearly gone the distance to Porsche-fy the entire experience. From the outside, the Macan can easily be mistaken as its Cayenne elder brother. On the inside, it is similar to the rest of the Porsche family.  There’s room enough for five adults, decent boot space, and a sombre but well-built interior.

But the most impressive has to be the SUV’s ride and handling characteristics. We drove the Macan semi-aggressively through a series of bends and corners and was genuinely wowed by its outright composure. Weaving through the back roads around Sepang, it really felt as though we were in a sports car – lean through corners with little roll. The steering is nicely weighted, and sharp – small inputs directly transferred to road with the sort of precision we’ve not yet seen in any other SUV in this class.

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The four-wheel drive system used in the Macan is an electro-mechanical system that is similar to the one used in current 911s. This is in fact a step above the Cayenne’s electro-hydraulic system. While the system sends power to the rear wheels most of the time,  it is also capable of routing 100% of power to the front rubbers for short periods of time, when necessary.

We didn’t have much chance to test the SUV’s off-road ability, but there is an off-road mode button. Unconventionally, this mode work to split torque between front and rear, and not lock front and rear axle speeds, which is what we initially expected. There’s also a separate hill descent mode, which limits speed and aids braking on slippery descents.

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Although our drive in the Macan was a brief one, we walked away thoroughly impressed. Just puttering about in the base model revealed the brilliance of its chassis, one which can clearly handle much more power, and has already been addressed by the Macan S and Turbo variants. But believe us when we say the real hero is the basic Macan, which is set to compete against the Range Rover Evoque, Volvo XC60, and Audi Q5. As of now, there are still no firm prices; either way, it is set to be the most affordable Porsche yet, and we’re confident we’ll see many on the road in due time.

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We’ve been promised several, more extensive sessions with the rest of the range, and have been given tentative dates that hover around early September. We’ll report as soon as we have updates, but you’ll likely see pictures first on our Facebook, so keep an eye out there!

Porsche Macan 2.0
Engine 2.0 litre / 4-cylinder turbo
Power 237 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Torque 350 Nm @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission 7-speed PDK
Weight 1,845 kg
Acceleration (0 to 100 km/h) 6.9 seconds
Top speed 223 km/h