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.
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.
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
Zerotohundred: 6.7 seconds
Top Speed: 229km/h
Transmission: 7 speed PDK dual clutch
Price: RM425K onwards
Test Drive Application: porschemalaysia.com/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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