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FIRST DRIVE | 2019 Porsche Macan Turbo

2019-10-24 11:50

Sean Parker

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Image: Porsche

The Western Cape has some of the best driving roads in the world, that's a fact. Whether or not those roads are devoid of trucks or tourists traversing them at glacial pace is another story. 

But sometimes, everything falls into place and I found myself in the latest iteration of Porsche's Macan Turbo on Clarence Drive, Du Toit's Kloof Pass, Franschhoek Pass and Bain's Kloof Pass. 

Before I get to that, let's take a glance at what Porsche has changed on its flagship Macan derivative, which retails for R1.65-million. First up, it sports a new 2.9-litre biturbo V6 engine that produces a healthy 324kW and a meaty 550Nm. 


Porsche quotes a 4.3 second 0-100km/h sprint time and it runs out of puff at 270km/h. A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox (PDK) swaps cogs, paddle shifts are available too. Power is sent to all four wheels, and believe me when I say this car has tons of grip. 

Inside, there's a larger touchscreen (27.6cm to be exact) that houses the infotainment system, while ahead of the driver there are conventional analog dials. It might seem a little dated to some, but I like it. 

Other standard features include electrically-powered leather sports seats, alcantara headlining, a brushed aluminium interior package, an impressive Bose surround system, 20" wheels, and a sports exhaust system that emits a decent roar via its real authentic tail pipes. 

So, let's get to the crux of why I was nestled on the 'wrong', left hand side of the Macan Turbo, sporting German number plates. The international media launch was conveniently taking place in Cape Town, and most of the visiting media come from left-hand drive countries. Well, I was on the local rotation to evaluate whether it could take on a mountain pass and cruise on the highway.


What’s it like to drive? 


Three words to describe being behind the wheel: Fast, assured and comfortable. 

The steering has a lovely mechanical heftiness to it that felt rewarding when Sport + mode was engaged and the shifts rocketed into the next cog.

Porsche claims a dry weight of 1945kg, so it's a heavy car and one can feel it. 

On the fast, sweeping bends of Clarence Drive, the car hugged the mountain as the biturbo engine punched dollops of torque with the power of a Pieter-Steph du Toit tackle. 

I had a lovely open run on Clarence Drive and Du Toit’s Kloof Pass, and was impressed at how the four-wheel drive system came to the fore at every occasion (when on the power). 

The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox is stupendous in Sport and Sport + mode, lacking the finesse of the more recent 8-speed automatic ‘boxes experienced in other performance cars.

But it does a good job and even in normal driving mode, it’s perfectly capable of making the commute a doddle.

Porsche has revamped the chassis and added high-performance Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB) as standard, and they do a helluva job to bring the close-to-two-ton mid-sized SUV to a stop. 

As the Turbo is the top model in the range, it benefits from a Turbo-specific front end and the fixed roof spoiler with its double-wing design set.

Is it special enough? 

It's a difficult one to answer, as the engine is a powerful but could add more aural excitement while the steering has an old school feel to it, some may want a more assisted approach in that regard. 

The fact that I tested it on these roads is arguably the deciding factor for me in answering the question with an unequivocal yes.

It stays planted in every situation and comes into its own when driven hard, and is a rewarding vehicle to drive even for an SUV.

But the Macan Turbo does have serious competition in this segment from other German brands, however it is difficult to fault.

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