Cars

A Road Trip To Baguio: How Porsche Made its Bestselling Vehicle Even Better

We take the Porsche Macan Sport out for a drive to the City of Pines and back.
IMAGE Eric Tipan
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Of all the vehicles in Porsche’ lineup, the Macan officially became the brand's most successful by volume last year after it outsold all other models, including its bigger sibling, the Cayenne. 

PGA Cars, which distributes the brand in the Philippines, recently updated the base model by giving it a couple of upgrades—one aesthetic and the other functional, which essentially made it the Sport model.

With only a few examples left in the showroom, we took the Macan Sport out to see what these latest enhancements bring to the table.

Photo by Eric Tipan.
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Photo by Eric Tipan.

First sports car in its segment

The Macan Sport’s first-generation body remains unchanged but I’m not suggesting at all that its unexciting. How can it be when it’s sporting the 911’s exact silhouette and the 918 Spyder’s air intakes design and placement?

The tail-end of the roof tapers drops gently for a sleek profile and help reduce the drag coefficient to a smooth 0.36. I know that description very quickly turned into a math problem but to simplify, it just means you’ll be cutting through NLEX air on your way to Baguio like a hot knife through butter.

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The Macan Sport stands so low for a crossover that, fast-forward to when I was loading ube jams in the trunk via the powered hatch, it felt just as tall as a typical B-segment sedan.

Badge and body aside, it comes with some bling too, like the stunning quad LED headlamps that are matched perfectly by a pair of brooding LED taillights and to top it off, it sits on Sport-exclusive 20-inch RS Spyder wheels, which is the first of the two upgrades.

The exterior package already hits the luxurious level but it is inside where that will really come to fore.

Photo by Eric Tipan.
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Photo by Eric Tipan.
Photo by Eric Tipan.
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Upscale feel

The already plush leather on the seats gets a more upscale feel with Alcantara along the center. Not only does it look good, the whole thing feels like it was measured and sized to fit your body. Should you need any adjusting, it goes eight different ways to be able to give any body type just the right fit.

It sounds great on paper but its heavenly on long drives. The four-something-hour trip to Baguio felt like a breeze. Where’s the traffic when you want it?!

If I can nitpick though, I already like how well it’s bolstered but it could have been more snug, à la racing seats.

Just like Porsches of old, the Macan Sport comes with almost all manners of buttons and switches along the center stack—from ventilation controls, adaptive air suspension settings (second of the two upgrades), to off-road mode and other driver assistance systems.

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As confusing as that may be, Porsche went the other way with the infotainment touchscreen and simplified it to only show the necessities—radio, media, phone, navigation, sound and car settings.

The steering wheel is perfectly sized. Small to look and feel sporty, and thick enough to give a good grip for when you’re tackling the twisties up Kennon Road.

While it’s easy to cool the cabin, Porsche was generous enough to include rear aircon vents for the second row passengers.

On top of all that, the cabin’s finish is exquisite. There’s visible stitching, even on the door panels, and the chrome mixed with the dark interior is a blend of soothing chic sophistication.

Photo by Eric Tipan.
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Photo by Eric Tipan.

Power under the hood 

Powering this baby is a 2.0L straight-four turbocharged engine (with auto Start/Stop function) that very ably gives it a solid 252 HP and 370 Nm of torque.

All four wheels get drive from Porsche’s famed 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK), which is German for “dual clutch,” but it is rear-biased for better handling.

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Even with the Macan’s palpable weight from all the gadgetry and all-wheel drive, the engine barely struggled. A tiny, hair of a delay can be felt when launching from a standstill but that’s where the performance criticism starts and ends.

The ride is absolutely polished—quiet, refined and highly responsive to steering input, down to the inch. Didn’t get to take it to the track but the sharp curves and long bends up the mountain barely elicited body roll even at speed.

It can feel reserved and calm in metro traffic but unleashed on NLEX and country roads and it validates Porsche’s claim that this was “the first sports car in the segment.”

Photo by Eric Tipan.
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Photo by Eric Tipan.

Sensational drive

Acceleration is rapid yet smooth, even over the bad sections of EDSA. The suspension practically mutes all of the noise, vibration and harshness without taking away driver feedback. But if there’s one thing that needs to be muted, it would be the proximity sensors. In Metro Manila traffic, at any given time anything with two legs or an engine is in close proximity so you can just imagine how many times you’ll hear the beep in one quick minute. 

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On the highway, it was unequivocally sensational. Moves like a sports car but with the space and stability of an SUV. Overtaking anything is basically an afterthought. The only limit is the speed limit really.

The adaptive air suspension is the second new feature on the 2.0L-powered unit and no, it’s not like your sneakers’ air soles. It’s Porsche’s idiot-proof way to electronically adjust the spring and damper rates, plus the ride height to make the drive suit your preference, driving style and/or road condition.

As for fuel consumption, it’s 6.4 km/l in traffic and a solid 12.4 km/l on the highway. The Porsche Macan Sport’s performance to Baguio and back justifies why it’s priced at a cool P6.2 million. Expensive I know, but for a crossover with 86,031 deliveries last year, which drove Porsche global sales up four percent, there’s something about the Macan that turns people on.

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Looks, the cabin appointments, and tech all make for great value, but as with any Porsche, its drive sets it apart from all other crossovers. If you want to make a statement and drive in style, you can’t go wrong with Porsche’s best-selling vehicle to date.

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Eric Tipan
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