Few phrases crush the automotive soul more than “entry-level compact crossover” — even if that vehicle happens to be wearing a Porsche badge. The Macan is not the lust-inducing Porsche that graces posters on bedroom walls, but the Macan is the company’s most important car — at least, from a financial perspective. The Macan is the Porsche most people buy (and consequently the best deal to buy used).
The top-tier version is the Macan Turbo, which returns for 2020 with a smaller twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 and about 34 more horsepower than its predecessor. Now, “Turbo” can be a confusing word in the Porsche world. Almost every modern Porsche employs a turbocharged powerplant, but the company reserves the word to denote the stupid-fast versions of its cars. The Macan Turbo is undoubtedly that, with nearly 200 more horsepower than the base model and a 0-60 mph time as quick as 4.1 seconds when equipped with the Sport Chrono package.
The compact crossover may not deliver the visceral thrill of a 911 Turbo, but it’s still a superb, relentlessly competent vehicle for the driver who may only have room for one Porsche. Even with a price tag approaching six figures, you can still argue it provides solid value.
The Macan Turbo drives like a genuine Porsche
While the Macan exists to make money, it is no afterthought. Porsche engineers built a legitimately great, Car and Driver-10-Best-list-caliber Porsche. The Macan may be a compact crossover, but it embodies the brand’s commitment to making the ultimate driver’s car. Someone thought about everything.
The seats are supportive. The cockpit is an ergonomic wonder. Its three driving modes — Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus — are perfectly tuned. Its compact engine doesn’t exhibit more than a whiff of turbo lag. It’s stable and agile in corners. The launch control is simple, and works over and over again without complaint. And the Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PCSB), which were a little touchy when introduced in the Cayenne, were absolutely spot-on in this car.
Okay, the exhaust note may be a touch too civilized. That’s the only driving-related complaint I could muster up.
The Macan Turbo offers good value…by Porsche standards
Value and Porsche don’t often appear in the same sentence. The starting prices aren’t cheap, and the brand is notorious for charging extra for things — air suspension, lane keep assist, Apple CarPlay, etc. — other companies offer as standard in their competitive cars. Still, you could consider the Macan Turbo a reasonable deal…at least, within a Porsche context.
The Macan Turbo is the cheapest way to score this level of straight-line performance in the Porsche model tree. A 911, Cayenne or Panamera with 400-plus horses and a low four-second 0-60 mph time will command a price tag north of $100,000. A 414-hp Cayman GT4 starts a hair under six figures, at $99,200. From that perspective, $83,600 to start doesn’t seem so bad.
Porsche would also point out that the Macan Turbo trim includes some pricey items, such as the aforementioned PSCB ($3,140), 20-inch high gloss black wheels ($3,140) and a sport exhaust ($2,930) –all of which would cost a fair amount to add à la carte to a Macan S.
The Macan Turbo has all the buttons
Porsche worked wonders with the performance of the Macan Turbo. But the interior — largely unchanged since 2014 — feels a bit dated to this reviewer. The shifter feels comically large for such an agile and capable car. That’s surrounded by a vast sea of analog buttons and switches. I counted more than 70 buttons, knobs, and switches the driver could adjust — not counting the turn signal and wiper stalks.
It doesn’t feel upscale or aesthetically pleasing; indeed, it can be sort of a nuisance. At one point, I inadvertently turned on the heated steering wheel, had no idea how to turn that off…and ended up pulling over the car and shutting it off to do it because I couldn’t figure out any other way to do it.
Price as Tested: $94,120
Drivetrain: twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6, 7-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel-drive
Power: 434 hp, 405 lb-ft torque
Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Porsche provided this product for review.