Main Menu

2017 Porsche Macan GTS: Driving Impressions

Friday, November 10, 2017

Article and photos by Rob Sass

My wife Helaine is convinced that the Macan GTS has the ability to bend spacetime. “We don’t really go any faster than normal, but we seem to get where we’re going sooner,” she observed. I’m not sure about the precise physics or the Macan’s ability to create a wormhole on the way to my kids’ preschool, but the Macan GTS is absurdly fun for something that has so much usability/practicality baked in.

A few months ago, we did a lighthearted story in Porsche Panorama where we pitted a new Macan GTS against a 944 Turbo. It soon became pretty clear that we’d brought a knife to a gunfight — the Macan GTS bettered the 951’s VIR lap time by about ten seconds. You could quibble about the exact state of the particular 951 that we used or the wisdom of pitting the high-spec Macan against the 30-year-old transaxle sports car, but at the outset, even David Donohue wasn’t sure of what the outcome would be, thinking that it was at least plausible that the 1,000-pound-plus weight differential and the center of gravity advantage of the sports car might offset the 100+horsepower advantage of the Macan. Fat chance. At this point, I have my doubts that even my 1999 911 Carrera would prevail in the same matchup.

The Macan GTS isn’t, of course, a four-door 911 with some added ground clearance, as some would like to believe. The platform’s limitations against a pure sports car like a new 911 would certainly arise when pushed near the vehicles’ respective limits, but if you bring anything remotely comparable (with perhaps the exception of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio), thinking you’re going to get the same experience as the sportiest Macan, you’re likely going to be bringing that fancy butter spreader to a gunfight. Driving dynamics aside, in terms of the sheer sexiness of the shape, only the aforementioned Alfa Romeo Stelvio and the Jaguar F-Pace are comparable to the Michael Mauer-penned Macan. The Macan, with its proven track record, is the only one of the three that I’d care to own after the warranty expires.

A comparison to my wife’s daily driver—a rare six-speed manual version of the last of the first-generation E83 BMW X3 — in fact left little for comparison. The 3.0-liter naturally aspirated straight-six in the BMW gives up almost 100 hp to the Macan GTS. While its inline design makes it slightly smoother in delivery than the Macan’s V6, the basso profondo rumble of the Macan more than compensated for that. Against Helaine’s 2010 (and even the 2017 version of the X3), the Macan is wider, less upright, and far sportier. The additional width adds up to more shoulder room and thoughtful features like the available rear side-window pull-up sunblinds were appreciated by my kids (they’re a $250 option).

The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system as new vehicle infotainment systems go is quite good. My wife, who is far more adept at figuring these things out than I am, managed all its functions (including pairing her iPhone) quickly and without resorting to the owner’s manual. The standard 150-watt Sound Package Plus with 10 speakers was about as good an OEM sound system as I’d experienced.

I drove the car mainly in the Sport Plus mode, which sharpens basically every powertrain and suspension management system in the car including Porsche Stability Management (PSM); Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM); Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC). PDK shifts are quicker, throttle response is sharper, and turbo lag is almost imperceptible.

I expected to get some pushback from my wife on my choice of driving modes, but in truth, there was nothing punishing about Sport Plus, only the incessant throttle blips at the 2-1 downshift when coming to a stop got a bit tiresome. Sport Plus did automatically defeat the rather annoying start/stop feature (something one can do in any mode by simply hitting a switch on the console), so there is that.

Helaine, who like me is a committed three-pedal person, was at least utterly fascinated by the way in which the PDK gearbox did its job. “There’s no question that it’s faster and more efficient than my hand and foot, but I think that this car would be so much fun with a true manual transmission,” was her assessment. Nevertheless, she deemed our time with the Macan GTS to be all too brief. I suppose it’s inevitable that at some point in the not-too-distant future, I’ll be shopping CPO Macans.

The Sapphire Blue/Black Leather and Alcantara Macan 2017 GTS was supplied to PCA by Porsche Cars of North America. The MSRP with options included was $76,110. The base price was $67,200. EPA estimated fuel economy is 17 MPG city and 23 MPG highway for a combined 19 MPG.

Average: 4.6 (7 votes)