Porsche Macan Diesel S: car review

The Porsche Macan’s covetable curves, urgent pace and superlative overtaking abilities leave Charles Rangeley-Wilson lovelorn and reluctant to hand back the keys.

The Rubenesque Porsche Cayenne never really did it for me, even if it was the car that saved Porsche. It was just too big and bossy. However, when I first clapped eyes on the curves of its little sister, the Macan, it was car lust at first sight.

Porsche launched the Macan into an increasingly hot market of mid-sized, sporty SUVs. It had already defied physics with the gargantuan Cayenne, so here was a sector in which Porsche’s performance know-how could surely shine: a trimmed-down, lighter, lither version. The Macan’s styling reflected the intention. It has curves in all the right places and lines subtly reminiscent of the 911. Overall, it’s a convincing blend of utility vehicle and sports car. I was impatient to try one.

As it happened, my daughter needed a lift to Norwich the day our velvet-blue Macan Diesel S was delivered. As we climbed the hill along a single-lane road, a lorry came hurtling towards us. I was opposite a driveway, so I pulled over to let him pass. He slowed and looked at me with a look that, well…Iona must have noticed because, as we pulled away, she said: ‘The trouble with a Porsche is that everyone hates you for having it.’

Further on, we came face to face with two vintage ladies in a hatchback. This time, I couldn’t make way without reversing for more than half a mile or scratching the lovely paint on a hedge, whereas they had just passed a junction, but the two ladies just sat there, defiantly. One gestured with a sweep of the hand and the other just shook her head. Still tutting, they eventually reversed and, as I passed them, I waved and smiled the cheeriest ‘thank you’ I could muster. Iona’s words were playing on my mind, but all I got was the same boilerplate disdain.

‘Oh well,’ I said as we turned onto the first bit of road where it’s safe to put your foot down, ‘let’s see how fast it is.’ As the digital display flickered urgently through all the numbers between 0 and 60, Iona wryly commented: ‘It might be fast, but is it fast enough to escape judgement?’

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‘Ha ha,’ I said. ‘Very witty. It might not be, but it’s definitely fast enough to escape caring.’ In fact, with the Diesel S, a carefree 60mph arrives in 6.3 seconds, but that respectable if not blistering pace is only half the story, because the Macan’s 580NM of torque (somewhere between a Carrera S and a 911 Turbo) arrives in the absolute trouser seat of the rev range, meaning it’s one of the best overtaking machines I’ve ever wielded past all the old people in hats, drifting slowly and without purpose around the roads of East Anglia. Gap, go, gone.

Only after I’d driven it for a day or two did I get round to working out that this effortless ‘anywhere you want it’ shove was at the gentle end of the spectrum. Engage Sport Plus in engine and suspension mode and the Macan morphs into a road-hungry maniac —a 911 in wellies.

So far, so very Porsche, so very desirable. Other than its lusty lines and urgent pace, what else did I notice in my all too brief days of ‘ownership’? The ground clearance is more than you’d expect and can be made more than that again with the touch of a button. The satnav was one of the easiest I’ve used, including a bewilderingly rare facility to review the entire suggested route. It was very comfortable and there’s a surprising amount of room in the back and the boot. I was so in love, I have to admit, that I didn’t notice the faults, if there were any.

All in all, I’ve rarely been more reluctant to give back a set of keys and wave goodbye to a review car.

On the road: Porsche Macan Diesel S Price
From: £45,942

Annual Road Fund Licence: £194
Combined fuel consumption: 44mpg

Power: 258bhp
0–60mph: 6.3sec
Top speed: 142mph