The latest Porsche to receive the GTS treatment is the entry-level Macan SUV and it could be the best realization of the theme that Stuttgart has delivered to date. The Macan GTS is also a fantastic value for a performance-oriented SUV, as long as you’re careful with Porsche’s seemingly endless list of options.
The first thing you’ll notice with any Porsche GTS is the abundance of black trim on the outside, which is one of the signature treatments. There’s black everywhere you look, from window trim to air intakes to wheels.
The GTS sits even lower than a Macan Turbo, 10 millimetres lower in fact, giving it an advantageous centre of gravity and a more sporting look. Porsche’s air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management is standard as well.
In standard GTS trim, the seats are finished in a combination of leather and alcantara, and because it’s perfectly suited to this SUV there’s no reason to upgrade. Alcantara is a wonderful, synthetic material that mimics suede, but seemingly wears better over the long term.
Optionally, you can spec your Macan GTS’ steering wheel to be trimmed in alcantara, which is the best way to use this material in any automobile.
While Porsche calls the Macan a compact crossover, there’s more space inside than you’d find in any compact. Rear seat room is comfortable with two adults and cramped with three, but the second row is very spacious for children.
Cargo room is where the Macan suffers, at least in relation to its Cayenne sibling or the similarly priced Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. For example, fitting two golf bags under the hatch is easy, three is a stretch, and four is definitely compromised, especially when all four duffers are aboard.
2017 Macans include a mild interior update which centers around the updated infotainment unit. It’s got a fractionally larger screen that’s flush mounted to the dash and a modest improvement to the previous user interface. The most useful update to the system is the addition of the very useful Apple Car Play interface.
The rest of the Macan GTS’ tech sits well under the skin where you don’t notice it. Porsche’s exceptional seven-speed dual clutch transmission is so technologically advanced and yet so refined that you take its impeccable and flexible operation for granted.
When Porsche does a GTS, the brief includes practical performance, like the aforementioned lower suspension, and typically includes a bump in both power and sound. Porsche’s best options are standard equipment here – the switchable sport exhaust – which allows you to go from modestly quiet operation to a wonderfully tuned soundtrack that highlights the rapid up and downshifts of the PDK transmission.
It starts with the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 from the Macan S, which in GTS trim makes 360 horsepower – twenty more than the S – and 369 pounds-feet of torque – thirty more that the S – and is tuned to make peak torque available from 1,650 to 4,000 RPM.
With that kind of torque, the all-wheel-drive system, and the quick shifting PDK, no wonder it’ll do to zero to 100 km/h in about five seconds, despite a weight just shy of two metric tonnes.
The GTS is so well-equipped to start with that you don’t need many options. On the other hand you can easily spec a Macan GTS to well over $110,000 by ticking a few key option boxes. (That $6,500 Burmester sound system is very tempting.)
The GTS starts at $73,100 and that’s all you really need. My test Macan has options like the $3,500 signature Carmine Red paint and the $3,900 Premium Package Plus, totaling over $86,000. Sure, you can personalize your GTS, but you really don’t need much more that the standard spec because it’s got all of the bases covered.
Between the Cayenne and the Macan, my choice is Macan. It’s the right size for me – big enough to feel like it’s spacious inside, but small enough to park anywhere. Plus, it’s a little lighter on the wallet and it’ll even tow 2,000kg, if you ever need to. It’s direct competitors, however, can’t compete against the GTS’ performance and style, save for the SRT Jeep, which is a different sort of beast altogether.
Yes, this Macan GTS is perhaps the best of Porsche’s GTSes. It’s just the right blend of enough performance, enough sporting enhancements, top fun-to-drive factor, and subtle style to make it visually distinctive.
To me at least, it’s hands down the perfect all-around mid-sized SUV. Yes, this is one of those vehicles that ticks all of the boxes for me.