Cars

The 2020 Porsche Macan is the Practical 'Sports Car' of Your Dreams

We take the crossover SUV for a weekend spin.
IMAGE Paul John Caña
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Many people raised their eyebrows when Porsche introduced the Cayenne in 2003. A company known for fast, flashy sports cars like the iconic 911 suddenly making hulking SUVs? Sacrilege! 

But Porsche ended up having the last laugh. The Cayenne, along with its slightly smaller sister the Macan, are now the company’s bestselling models by far. Over 86,000 units of the Macan were sold globally in 2018, followed by the Cayenne with over 71,400.

Not all luxury carmakers have been able translate its goodwill and brand equity into new, left-of-field models, but in Porsche’s case, it’s easy to understand how people got onboard with its SUVs almost immediately. The company took all the things that made its sports cars great—power, performance, stylish good looks—and put it into a bigger car that seats more than two. The formula was incredibly simple, and it worked.

Today, the Cayenne is on its third iteration while the Macan has undergone some significant updates since it was first unveiled in 2014. I’ve clocked some drive time with the Cayenne and so it was only right that I slid behind the wheel of the Macan, too.

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Photo by Paul John Caña.
Photo by Paul John Caña.
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Power when you need it

First the specs: the Macan possesses a 2.0 liter turbo inline four cylinder engine capable of churning out 252 bhp (185KW) and 370 Nm of torque. Simply put, it gives you power when you need it, not unlike Porsche’s true sports cars. 

In the city, where I drove it for most of the weekend I had it, the Macan performed flawlessly, which wasn’t at all unexpected. The quiet cabin, broken only by the pulsing music from the Bose sound system, made getting through mind-numbing traffic infinitely more bearable. The comfortable, fabric-covered leather seats, which can be electronically adjusted every which way, also helped. 

Photo by Paul John Caña.
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The infotainment system was likewise intuitive and user-friendly. There’s a 10.9-inch digital display that you can customize to display information that’s relevant to you while you drive. Connect your phone via Bluetooth or through USB cable and you’re instantly enjoying your Spotify playlist before you slide out of your driveway. Apple Carplay comes standard (although I wasn’t able to test that one out), but if you’re on any other operating system, you’re out of luck. Sorry Android users.

You’re going to have to get a phone mount if you need to quickly access it for things like Waze or switching Spotify playlists while driving as there’s no convenient place to put it. Maybe in one of the two cupholders in the center aisle, but what happens if you and your passenger have your Starbucks iced latte there? Just something for Porsche engineers to think about for the next upgrade, maybe.

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The boot can fit regular-sized luggage, last week’s laundry or this week’s grocery, but if you need to put something larger in there, the rear seats can fold down and can give you up to 1,000 liters more space.

Photo by Paul John Caña.
Photo by Paul John Caña.
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Refined look

Perhaps my favorite thing about the Macan is its look: while the Cayenne is unmistakably an SUV, the slightly smaller Macan is more demure and feels more refined. The headlights are stunning and the overall stance is one you simply can’t look away from. It’s a Porsche through and through, and that’s something you simply can’t replicate in other vehicles in its class.

While it’s tough to take a test-drive vehicle like a Porsche and push it to its limits (you’d want to return it in one piece, after all), I was at least able to drive it on different road conditions, at various times of day, and with and without passengers. Whether it was at full speed on the South Luzon Expressway at noon, or negotiating through the narrow streets of Poblacion in Makati with partygoers spilling out onto the streets on a packed Saturday night, the Macan was not just dependable and impressive, it was the kind of car I could easily imagine having that was appropriate for nearly every imaginable situation. 

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“Bloody hell that’s a nice-looking car,” as one passenger couldn’t help but exclaim.

Of course, the fact that it’s first and foremost a Porsche, which never fails to elicit stares of wonder and appreciation from every person it passes on the road, doesn’t hurt.

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About The Author
Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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