Review: Porsche Macan | 252hp Turbo 4 Cylinder SUV

Discussion in 'News and Features' started by Tom, Jan 15, 2018.

  1. Tom

    Tom Administrator
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    Looking down on to the centre console, centrepiece of the Macan's pretty cockpit, a range of buttons surround the shift knob. Everything from air con to ride height to driving mode selection are concentrated here. It will take some getting used to, to start operating this intricately arranged command centre to its full potential.

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    Steering

    On first contact, the heavier than expected steering wheel feels great in the hands. A masculine sort, unlike the effortless kind we get in most cars today. This strategically weighted and precise steering is matched with just the right amount of turn on the front wheels as well, which hints at Porsche's performance oriented heritage.

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    Paddle shifters are best in town too. The pair of flaps are exquisitely formed in metal while the bottom end stretches just a little lower than normal, enabling your pinky finger(s) on either hands to ever so gently work the shifts. A very minute detail indeed but is one that reward the true paddle shift enthusiast.


    2018 PORSCHE MACAN SPECIFICATIONS


    Engine: 2L Turbo 4 cylinder
    Power: 252HP
    Torque: 370nm
    Zerotohundred: 6.7 seconds
    Top Speed: 229km/h
    Transmission: 7 speed PDK dual clutch
    Weight: 1,770kg
    Price: RM425K onwards
    Website:
    Official: Porsche.com/pap/_malaysia_/
    Test Drive Application: porschemalaysia.com/

    Drive

    Acceleration is brisk with no hints of being underpowered. Despite rocking a VW derived 4 pot, I felt it was more than adequate in its power delivery and am thoroughly convinced that Porsche's 2L Turbo route is a strategic one. There's no denying the fact that a smaller engine would endow the Macan with a better purpose and more importantly a bigger audience.

    However, at the highway commute, this lack of engine meat can be felt occasionally, when giving it the beans at speeds past 150km/h and beyond. Small price to pay perhaps, as the base Macan perform brilliantly in urban use and as a daily workhorse. So if you're not looking at chasing down every 911 on the road, then you need not worry about power as the base Macan gets the job done for just about any other occasion.


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    Ride

    Suspension is well sorted, flat and supple in the city with excellent ride quality everywhere. The air suspension handle KL roads exceptionally well and I suspect the optional 21" wheels help in "steam rolling" across minor and medium road blemishes. Yes, it is an absolute joy to trot through the city in the base Macan, while noting that it could likely be the best of all competing compact SUVs.

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    But like its 2L Turbo engine, sometimes good things can only stretch so far. While it is very agile and able to perform superbly in major chores, even being inspiring at carving hill roads, the base Macan is not a hot hatch. At the limit, the weight does seem to take some fun away. So drive it within reasonable limits and you'll be rewarded with Porsche's bespoke driving experience.

    Verdict

    The base Macan is a great entry into the exclusive line of Porsche cars. Yes, the 2L Turbo engine choice may make some people go, "really?" but trust me, you won't mind it one bit when in operation. From idle onwards, there's really no hint of mediocrity and most people would find it hard to tell if it's a 4 cylinder engine inside anyway.

    252hp is by no means a small figure even for an SUV, while the super duper 7 speed PDK dual clutch box is ever talented in bringing out the best of any Porsche. Yes, even in this baby turbo Macan.


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    Is the base Macan gimmicky?

    Not at all, in fact as a product, the base Macan truly excels and is one of the best driving SUVs out there. Porsche's signature sports car cues and engineering traits remain obvious even in the base Macan.

    I'm talking anything from its:
    - Seating position to seat firmness
    - ‎Glorious interior that really pampers
    - ‎Steering wheel position, size and feel
    - ‎Overall poise and flat demeanour

    Its hard to find another SUV that is just as committed to the pursuit of perfection. Sure, it's far from the sportier and potentially more exciting 340hp bi-turbo V6 Macan Turbo but this doesn't make the base Macan any less enjoyable.

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    In fact, if you're not into all that intense driving or couldn't care less about engines and figures, then the base Macan may just be the smartest choice of the lot because:

    • It drives really well
    • Has commendable acceleration
    • Superb PDK transmission
    • Feels and looks just like a true blue Porsche.

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    The base Macan may be Porsche's leanest offer, but it sure has everything anyone would need in a compact SUV and much, much more. At RM425K before options. You'd want to spec the air suspension, which makes all the difference in the SUV's ride, not to mention automatic height adjustability. Also, it includes PASM - Porsche Active Suspension Management, that ensures the Macan deliver the best ride quality and handling in real time.
     

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    #1 Tom, Jan 15, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  2. Izso

    Izso Boooooossst
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    Tom, how does the Macan PDK GB handle creeping traffic?

    At that price wouldn't it be competing with the likes of the Volvo flagship SUV?
     
  3. Tom

    Tom Administrator
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    PDK handles all that like a champ really. I really enjoy the urban driving experience in the Macan. Yeah about the price, that's just the base price. I was told most Porsche owners spec on average 80 - over 100K on top of the car bringing it closer to RM560K in reality. Although they now have the Macan Sport Design that has almost every thing loaded but costs RM545K.

    Volvo is one thing, but what about a 9 speed g-tronic auto, 360hp 3L V6 Twin Turbo AMG GLC43 for RM538K? sounds mouth watering right?


    I've had the pleasure of meeting and greeting the AMG 43 army a couple of months ago at AMG's 50th event in Sepang.

    Having been acquainted with every except the SLC43 and E43 in homeground Sepang, I am well informed that the 43 series is sort of an introductory ticket into the world of exclusive AMG cars.

    Sounds kinda crude but who cares, when you can literally pick any one of the 43 spawnings and be guaranteed eternal happiness. Yes it is that good. Plus, there is no concrete suspension here like in the 45 or the excessiveness of the 63 to trade off with.

    http://www.zerotohundred.com/2017/review-amg-c43-coupe-first-drive-2017/

    AMG 43s are not like the 63s nor even the 45s. They might alll come from home of AMG Affalterbach but its engines aren't handmade. So AMG 43 cars aren't as pure, therefore less painful to own. Even aesthetically, it is more sedate.

    It does however offer plenty of performance and is in some ways even more efficient in getting the job done than its higher grade 45 and 63 brothers.

    The following review will be based mostly on my impressions in Sport + Mode

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    First Impressions

    Unlike the hot hatch minded 381ps 4 banger AMG 45, New 43s feel sophisticated. Its twin turbo 3L V6 is super smooth, pumps 360 ish hp, 367hp to be exact in this GLC43 SUV. Even up to 400hp in the E43 business sedan.

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    It certainly is an interesting proposition, the AMG 43 line. I can't really determine where it stands in the performance sedan world but it's close to that of a GT car, yes even the GLC43. All AMG 43 cars get 4 Matic AWD (except the SLC43) and that, my friends make all the difference in today's fast Mercs. Without power to the front wheels, big power AMGs are stuck being hot rods. Which explains why the new E63s is 4WD, even the all time sharp M5 has followed suit. 4WD is the future of monster saloons no doubt.

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    From the outside, subtle differences make all the difference between a AMG GLC43 and GLCregular. There's the 21" uniquely AMG 43 wheels, which sort of peek out from the body a fair bit too, hinting its bad assness. Underneath that are AMG big brakes.

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    Other than that there's not much going on outside, but then you take a second look and find that the GLC43 sits lower and just plainly look better than stock. There isn't a GLC63 in existence yet, at least not officially but t. ews and pictures are out and it's going to be yet another monster AMG. Think C63s 500hp 4L biturbo engine in a GLC with 4WD. But before that comes, the GLC43 is still the pinnacle of performance GLC klasse right now.

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    2017 MERCEDES AMG GLC43

    Engine:
    2,996 V6 Twin Turbo
    Power: 367 hp @ 5500-6000 rpm
    Torque: 520 Nm @ 2000-4200 rpm
    Zerotohundred: 4.9 seconds
    Transmission: 9-speed G-Tronic with Paddle Shifters
    Weight: 1,845kg
    Price: RM538,888 with GST
    Website: Mercedes Benz Malaysia


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    Cockpit

    Stepping up into the GLC43, the very welcoming AMG chequered flag instrument cluster greets first, followed by the mostly black leather / alcantara + red stitching upholstery all throughout including the dash. Definitely a level above mainstream GLCs. The piano black centre console however is as plain as a normal GLC, which is IMHO the worst part of this otherwise very pretty cockpit.

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    The GLC43 isn't made for comfort centric owners, although it tries to. With the advent of electronic damping and a small sacrifice in travel speed, its suspension while in comfort mode can sail along nicely. Just be gentle and not go too fast over humps and dips, it doesn't like it.

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    But mostly, the GLC43 is made to run. Which is weird I know, to relate a Merc SUV with athleticism. But it's the truth, this super SUV can get really darty, firm and flat. In Sport + mode, the dampers tighten up so much, it even drives like it's on coilovers.


    It Sings



    The super silky 3L V6 twin turbo engine really sings and is easily the best part about all AMG43s. At just about anywhere in the rev range, it sounds like pure magic. One can't be blamed for thinking the music is synthesised via in car speakers, it just sounds unreal. Especially so, when coming from an SUV.

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    The way its exhaust howl in parallel with throttle supplied does resemble similarly arranged Nissan GTR, power aside. But in here it's silkier and there's more finesse. While its other enemy, Porsche's awesome new 991.2 3L TT flat 6 is a lot more raspy and less refined in a way.

    There's no lack of power in the GLC43, although its engine can be a little too linear at the hill climb, hinting the SUV's bulk. Still, it doesn't disappoint either way. Throttle response is supercar like, for a 3L V6 TT, maybe even better than the very peppy AMG 45 series. Things just feel mechanical here, the subtle whines, the kick from the rear diff at upshifts and so on. They sure didn't skimp on retaining AMG's manly personality.

    Engine not the only star here


    I've complimented the GLC43's 9 speed G-Tronic autobox before but that was back in proving ground Sepang. Having lived with it for days, I am now certain Mercedes has perfected a slush box capable of beating the dual clutch variants. The 9 speed G-Tronic shifts flawlessly and comes with everything you want from a DCT. I'm talking equivalent fast shift times, pops and bangs, response as well as docile urban operation.

    I'll even tell you where this brilliant autobox does better. With the automatic, you don't get that sensation of freeplay in between gears or when the clutch engage / disengages. So unlike DCT, there are no unintended dead zone jerks in Merc's 9 speed auto or most modern automatics for that matter.

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    That's not to say the GLC43 is any less dramatic, not one bit. The AMG division has been so detailed, they've even induced an intentional kick in Sport + mode that upon upshift, delays the rear diff engagement to inject a sense of sportiness.

    The 9 G-Tronic transmission is a major component to the GLC43's exceptional performance. It literally is the heart of the heart of the car. 367hp in an SUV is by no means a small figure, but once you factor in the 4.9 zerotohundred in an almost 2 tonne body, you'll begin to appreciate just how impressive this SUV builds pace.

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    THE DRIVE

    This SUV is not normal at all, as confirmed via a customary drive to benchmark hills Genting. Carving Karak's twisties, the GLC43 tracks very, very well. There's no roll, no amatuer moments from SUV related disadvantages at all. This thing is literally sports car on stilts. Unbelievable.

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    Which brings me to the steering. Aside from the subtle flat bottomed wheel which felt meaty in the hands and had just the right amount of turn, it is also precise in operation. It turns like a car would and actually felt direct, amidst the electronics and obvious physique. I would say the GLC43's steering is a feature worth noting, it's definitely a lot crispier than the already good BMW X5.

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    In the actual hill run, well, the bulk does come into play when trying to get the GLC43 to dance. Even so, the active damping and 4 matic drive continues to impress with its ability to remain flat and nimbler than most can. When driven well, it may even give hot hatch GTIs a run for their money uphil. Physics plague all SUVs but if there's any current SUV that welcomes competitive driving? it's this one.

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    #3 Tom, Feb 2, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  4. Izso

    Izso Boooooossst
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    Where's my money printing machine.. dammmit.. misplaced it
     
  5. s.marz

    s.marz Member

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    No replacement for displacement :wink:
     
  6. Tom

    Tom Administrator
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    honestly, 252hp from a 2L turbo is more than adequate by today's standards especially with people like BMW and Mercedes offering their 8 and 9 speed transmissions.

    There is a new replacement for displacement and that's a good transmission
     

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