And as the lowest-priced model, it helps to expand the base of new customers to the brand.
We were handed the latest Macan some time ago and decided to take it from Petaling Jaya to a location a little out of our way.
Given the chance to spend a day with the Porsche, we headed to Sekinchan. Having being there once on a dine-in-the-padi field outing, we thought it would be interesting to explore more of the Selangor locale, while giving the car a shakedown.
The first-generation Macan started selling in 2014 and has had a good run with over 600,000 sold since. In 2022, SUVs continued to dominate demand in the Porsche range, with over 86,000 Macans sold globally, just behind the Cayenne’s 95,604.
Porsche is gearing up to introduce an all-electric Macan later this year, which will be produced alongside its combustion-engined sibling until at least 2025 before the latter is retired.
On the local front, the fully imported Macan is available in four versions namely the base Macan, Macan T, Macan S and Macan GTS. The test unit was the base variant, which starts from RM450,000.
The refreshed AWD Macan arrived in Malaysia early last year. Its second update has resulted in a number of exterior, interior and engine tweaks.
As with all facelifts, the nose is the first to go under the knife. The grille is slimmed down with a textured bar below and there’s an inlay in the exterior colour that emphasises the Macan’s width, making it look more imposing.
The LED headlights with the Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS) and Sport Design exterior mirrors are now standard.
The rear is rounded off towards the road by a diffuser that also has a textured look. That 3D structure is reflected in the car’s sideblades, too.
The striking orange of the test car, called quaintly enough, Papaya Metallic is a new colour introduced to the latest Macan.
In the cabin, the centre console is now all about touch surfaces instead of tactile buttons. While Porsche says this brings a clear structure and modernity to the cockpit, it may not sit well with some who still prefer physical buttons for key functions.
Buttons have been reduced to those controlling the air-conditioning and entertainment.
In addition, the gear selector lever is now shorter for a sportier accent, while the analogue clock has been revised and become standard equipment.
Online functions and services can be controlled via the 10.9-inch full HD touch display of the Porsche Communication Management or by means of voice commands. The current Macan gets the 911’s new multifunction and GT Sport steering wheel.
The 2.0-litre inline four-cylinder turbo engine, shared with the base Audi Q5, has been reworked to give an extra 13hp/30Nm. It now makes 261hp and 400Nm of torque, enabling the Macan to sprint from 0-100kph in 6.2s (with Sport Chrono Package). Top speed is 232kph.
On the move, the Macan is no sluggard despite its entry position. The engine is punchy and lively, emitting a throaty roar accompanied by an enormous mid-range thrust. All that power is put down to the axles effectively through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The active suspension dampers, tuned for greater feedback and responsiveness, provides a firm and pliant foundation. It enables the Macan to show a playful side when weaving through the twisties. One forgets it’s an SUV as it manifests itself as a precise and nimble road carver.
The base Macan gets 19-inch wheels as standard but the test unit came with 21-inchers wrapped in low profile Pirellis, which steps up its sporty aesthetics. The ride was taut, grippy and was suprisingly not as harsh as one might imagine.
While it’s far from being a 911 in driving prowess, the Macan still offers a measure of athletic fun — the result of being able to adjust the ride height, comfort level and mechanical stance of the entire machinery. Enabling that was the
Drive mode knob on the steering wheel, which makes for quick access to the settings whether they be Normal, Sport, Sport+ or Individual.
As we handed back the key, it drove home the point that the Macan was still very much a Porsche at heart with enough keen performance to back it up.