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08 Feb 2022

Rising star – the new Macan GTS

Could the latest Macan GTS be all the Porsche you’ll ever need?  

The Macan occupies an unenviable place in Porsche’s stable as the least glamorous and least sporty offering, but there is virtue aplenty in that. It’s not showy, nor ludicrously expensive to run. It’s also hugely practical and relatively affordable while retaining the desirability ensured by that amorphous ‘brand DNA’. And the rightness of the Macan as a concept is made undeniable by the mighty global sales figures it returns – comfortably Zuffenhausen’s most reliable cash cow year-on-year, underpinning the company as it forges ahead with loss-leading electrification alongside increasingly unfashionable combustion engine sports cars.
Nevertheless, there is an argument that the Macan is neither one thing nor the other. It’s not a sports car, yet nor is it a true family workhorse – too posh, too expensive, too thirsty for that. But the counter argument I’d put forward is that, when optioned correctly, the Macan can be all the car you ever need, both in practical and dynamic terms. The newly launched GTS is really helping that case to stick.
Last month, we tested the 992 GTS and found that, for all the extra outlay it demands and the refinement it removes, that increased sense of occasion was a boon for the current 911. The same thinking can be applied to the Macan, the least inherently dramatic Porsche on sale by some margin.

Visually, the GTS gifts the Macan the usual panoply of exterior detailing, all black and vaguely menacing. Window surrounds, sideblades, optional roof rails, roof spoiler and badging are either matte or gloss black, as of course are the 21-inch wheels and sports exhaust tips. Inside, the theme is more muted, with eight-way sports seats featuring the GTS logo on the headrests and black brushed aluminium trim and sill guards with ‘GTS’ on the latter. RaceTex (Porsche’s own Alcantara) is deployed on the seat inserts and armrests, its absence on this car’s steering wheel merely a nod to sticky-pawed demands of daily driving.
For this is precisely where the Macan GTS looks like a really compelling package. Here is a car that can serve every purpose in respect of humdrum motoring: plenty of boot space, rear passenger space, comfort, pace and refinement. Yet, visually, aurally and in terms of get up and go, the GTS adds that extra 10 percent which makes it feel markedly more special. On the move, the Macan GTS sets itself apart immediately, its rich crackle-and-pop exhaust note in Sport or Sport Plus concocted to imply a heady surplus of power within. And unlike with the 992, the increase in output over an ‘S’ is actually fairly generous, with the GTS enjoying an extra 78bhp to hit peak power of 435bhp from 5700rpm. That means a new 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds – not at all shabby in a car weighing more than two tonnes – and a theoretical top speed of 169mph.The reason for this is as surprising as it is simple. Porsche has decided to discontinue the Macan Turbo, so the blown 2.9-litre V6 fitted to the GTS is the one the flagship model would have had. Indeed, the GTS is the new flagship. This means more than just a power hike. Stiffer, lower, adjustable air suspension is now standard, allowing you to dial between very compliant ‘Normal’ and the firmer but still impressively pliable Sport and the bone-jarring Sport Plus. Something for every occasion. As ever with Porsche, the steering feels exceptional too, being both light and positive with none of the numbness that plagues so many electric racks. The brakes on our test car lacked the immediacy you might expect from a package that puts performance to the fore, but lean hard enough and the stopping power is all there from six-piston front callipers.

Inside the Macan GTS, newbies to this facelifted generation will notice the welcome absence of physical switches that used to pepper both sides of the transmission tunnel. The 10.9-inch infotainment system now familiar to the rest of the Porsche range is finally in situ, with its touch screen and minimal, milled aluminium buttons beneath. It’s a markedly cleaner, more modern-looking cabin that feels every bit as luxurious and finely put together as you would expect. All of this comes at a price, but perhaps not as much as you might imagine. The Macan GTS starts at £64,770, some £11,470 more than the ‘S’ but nevertheless undercutting the old Turbo while offering more in terms of styling and driving focus. When I first drove the new 2.0-litre model for Porsche Post two years ago I referenced Jekyll and Hyde, singing the praises of a car that can go quietly about its business before coming alive in an instant. The GTS takes that to another level, its orchestral induction and exhaust offering up a thrilling sort of savagery matched by the car’s deeply impressive levels of performance.
The next generation of Macan, due in 2024, is going electric and, while petrol engine models will continue to be sold in some markets, this current car is the last combustion Macan to be developed. As such, the GTS is a fitting swansong for a concept that has helped the marque steer a steady course through uncertain times. Fast, practical, and desirable, it’s everything a modern Porsche should be and a car we’ll look back on fondly in years to come.

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