Fastest Macan Performance Package tested in snow
Icy roads snaking through snow-covered banks that would easily devour a small hatchback are not the easiest conditions to test Porsche’s fastest Macan.
The fact that Porsche has handed us the keys to its hottest Macan (so far) on such treacherous roads is perplexing but does keep to the promise that its small SUV, whatever the engine configuration, is an extremely versatile and capable all-rounder.
Launched in South Africa earlier this year, the Porsche Macan Performance Package slots in above the Turbo model but theoretically lower than a Turbo S – should Porsche decide to build one. The 3.6-litre twin turbo straight six has extra potency; 324kW and 600Nm compared to the Macan Turbo’s 294kW and 550Nm.
We haven’t come to one of the most northern spots on the planet to test the claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.4 seconds (a 0.2 second improvement and only 0.2 seconds off a 911 Carrera 4S) or for that matter its 6km/h higher top speed now rated at 272km/h. But a few brave stabs of the throttle and that extra muscle under the hood rapidly boils to the surface as staggering mid-range acceleration. Where it counts most, Macan Performance Package dips under 3 seconds for a 80-120km/h sprint in 2.9 seconds. For some useless fact ping-pong, a Carrera 4S achieves the same feat in 2.4 seconds.
The way the engine snarls through the sports exhaust system (standard) is pure 911 and the entire rev range is so beautifully layered with its soulful array of acoustic gems and underlying brute force. Gearshifts couldn’t be punched out quicker and like all Porsches, a sense of unstoppable, bulletproof integrity throughout the whole drivetrain permeates every moment.
The steering manages to muster feedback from a surface that’s completely devoid of any grit and bite. Silky smooth, not unnecessarily weighted and perfectly consistent between its opposed ends of steering lock. But disappointingly doesn’t come with the steering-mounted rotary controller for selecting driving modes or the 10-second Sport Response boost button – two features that made their debut on the latest 911, now carried over to 718.
Scintillating straight line performance aside, Macan Performance Package brakes and corners with enhanced acumen. Porsche didn’t even feel the need to fit spiked tyres… On ice the fatter 390mm grooved discs and red-painted six-pot calipers were reduced to ABS effectiveness rather than outright stopping power.
Other features packed into the extra R100 000 premium between this and the regular Macan Turbo is quantified by self-levelling air suspension with the Macan’s mass brought 15mm closer to the ground.
Sport Chrono Package is standard. It really ought to be on every Porsche, we say. Additional steering wheel weight, throttle sharpness and booming soundtrack are deployed once Sport or Sport Plus is switched on.
In the short time we had at Porsche’s Winter Driving Experience in Kemi Finland it was impossible to put every driving mode neatly into its own box. I can speak about the Macan’s agile rear-bias torque distribution and how we managed to drift it through one of the toughest slaloms in the world, not because I have the sisu of a Finnish rally driver but because the Macan is closer to a 911 than a Jaguar F-Pace is to an F-Type, or a BMW X4M is to an M4. In the Porsche that synergy is still there, 100%.
Our test cars came with the optional 21-inch 911 Turbo wheels and gloss black treatment. Jump inside a cockpit that is shaped to hug your body with controls raised to within reach and Performance Package cues like alcantrara and carbon fibre there to replace leather and aluminium.
No doubt the Macan Performance Package is a niche offering that’s probably pitched a little too far out of the regular requirements of an SUV. Our all-rounder Macan remains the GTS model but do a quick bit of fact checking between standard features in the Macan Performance Package versus the Turbo version’s kit and that R1 540 000 price carries veritable quality.