Tested with the Macan T: a “smart” and fun blend

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It is curious that precisely in the days of the official presentation of the Maserati Grecale, Porsche decided to have a new variant of its best-selling model, the Macan, put its wheels on the asphalt. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, it is certain that the Macan T, that is “Touring” is going to be in direct competition with the Grecale Modena GT, given that the price of the two models differs only by a thousand euros: 75,500 euros for the German , 74,470 for the Italian.

The Macan T is not a sensational novelty, but it is the result of a mixture of what had already been seen so far on the entry model to the Porsche range, launched in 2013, updated in 2018 and which alone accounts for about a third of total sales. of the German brand. In essence, Porsche has taken the entry level Macan, powered by a 265 bhp turbo four-cylinder, and made it sportier with some modifications borrowed from the older S and GTS sisters which, on the other hand, can count on the 3-liter V6 from 380 or 440 hp.

After all, the letter T, from 1968 onwards, was used precisely for some versions of 911 and 718 that were not high-end but characterized by trim and engine adjustments that made them more effective on the road. And it is still the first time that the “T” has been used on a model other than a coupe or spider. Compared to the base model, the Macan T has a lowered chassis by 15 mm. As standard there are active suspension, stiffened front anti-roll bars and the traction control system has a revised adjustment to make the behavior more similar to that of a rear-wheel drive. If desired, then, the pneumatic suspensions can be mounted which allow a lowering of the trim by another 10 mm and anti-roll bars stiffened also behind.

The aesthetics, however, change little. There are some details painted in metallic dark gray (front, exterior mirror fairings, side cranks, roof spoilers), sports tailpipes and 20-inch alloy wheels taken from the S version. Inside it has heated and electrically adjustable sports seats , contrasting silver stitching, heated multifunction steering wheel and the “Sport Chrono” that stands out in the center of the dashboard.

Porsche was so sure of the dynamic qualities of its new model that it chose to let us test it on the roads where one of the most evocative special stages of the world rally takes place and, probably, the most famous: the one that leads to the Col de Turini, in the Alps. French Maritime, and is part of the legend of the Monte Carlo Rally. On such a narrow, steep and winding road, the Macan T has gone beyond what one might expect from an SUV that still weighs 1,900 kg and with an engine of “only” two liters. The four-cylinder is very ready, also available low but not at all recalcitrant when asked to turn high. Perhaps he can only be reproached with a voice a little too polite to high revs. It is very well supported by the PDK double clutch gearbox with seven speeds, fast and well in tune with the delivery characteristics.

Despite the new adjustments, the suspensions are stiff enough to absorb the irregularities of the road well, as should be expected from an SUV, but they keep the car firm even when you overdo it and the steering always gives all the information you need. Thanks also to a corner entry that is positively affected by the approximately 60 kg less on the front end than the Macan with the six-cylinder engine. Compatibly with common sense, with the Macan T you can keep “special stage” averages even on troubled routes without feeling you are getting too close to the limit. And the braking is solid and durable like on all Porsches.

The behavior is not exactly that of a rear-wheel drive and there is always a bit of understeer, but when exiting the curves with gas wide open, the rear axle actually has a dynamics that helps to close the trajectories and increases driving participation.

The Macan T costs 5,300 euros more than the basic version and seems well spent. And there is no feeling of inferiority at all compared to the six-clinidri S, which costs 4,000 more.

Porsche Macan T, the card
What is it:
It is a new variation on the Macan theme that combines the basic engine with more selective solutions.
Dimensions: length 4,726 meters, width 1,927 meters, height 1,659 / 1,606 meters, wheelbase 2,807 meters.
Rivals: Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0 Turbo Veloce, Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI, X3 xDrive30e Jaguar F-Pace 2.0 250 HP, Maserati Grecale GT, Mercedes GLC 300 Coupé Range Rover Evoque 250 HP, VW Tiguan 2.0 TSI R.
Motor: 2,000 four-cylinder turbo petrol engines with 265 HP and 400 Nm. It allows you to reach 232 km / h, go from 0 to 100 km / h in 5.8 seconds and from 0 to 160 in 16 ”1.
Advantages: Excellent driveability, high performance, fun character, high comfort.
Defects: Expensive options, three of you are a bit cramped on the rear sofa.
Production: Leipzig (Germany).
Prices: The Porsche declares 73,274 euros, including VAT but not put on the road. The total part account is at least 75,500 euros.

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