Monday, June 17, 2024

New Porsche Macan T 2022 review

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Creating a space for the driver-focused Macan T within Porsche’s sporty mid-sized SUV lineup was always going to be a difficult task. It’s not the pick of the range, but the T still manages to highlight the Macan’s excellent driving dynamics at a lower price point. It’s biggest problem? The more exciting V6-powered S is only slightly pricier.

In 1968, Porsche denoted its lightest factory 911 as the 911 ‘T’ and since then the ‘Touring’ moniker has been bestowed on models that chase driver engagement rather than lap times.

A pure driving experience isn’t something you’d look for in a family-friendly, plush SUV such as the Macan (which weighs 1,865kg). However, Porsche is confident that it deserves the T badge. It’s not only the Porsche purists it’ll have to win over either with the likes of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Veloce and Jaguar F-Pace to tussle with.

Since we drove it in Italy earlier this year, the Macan T has had its price bumped up from 53,970 to 55,800, although it’s still 5,000 more than the entry-level Macan and 1,000 less than the Macan S.

The Macan T stands apart from the rest of the range with subtle cosmetic details. The grille, door mirrors, side blades, rear spoiler and badging are all finished in Agate Grey metallic paint, and the 20-inch alloy wheels come in a complimentary dark titanium. There are 13 exterior colour options to choose from, too.

Inside, the Macan T gets a unique part-leather, part-‘Sport-Tex’ Alcantara-like trim, with silver contrast stitching and embossed Porsche logos on the headrests. A new centre console replaced the vast array of buttons with a touch-sensitive panel in late 2021 and it’s less confusing to use and looks smarter. Above it sits a 10.9-inch touchscreen which is slick and responsive. Our car featured 5,041 of optional equipment, we could probably go without the 245 Roof rails and 252 dimming interior and exterior mirrors.

The T shares the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with other VW Group models, such as the Golf GTI, only here it’s mounted longitudinally. The smaller engine weighs 59kg less than the V6, and removing that mass from the nose, Porsche says, helps to improve cornering agility. It produces 261bhp and 400Nm of torque, with the latter available from 1,800rpm through to 4,000rpm, the same as the base Macan. However, thanks to the standard Sport Chrono Pack, 0-62mph drops by 0.2 seconds to 6.2.

The only car in Porsche’s lineup to receive the brand’s PASM adaptive damping system with steel springs, the T sits 15mm lower than the regular car and the steering has also been tweaked.

These changes only deliver a marginal increase in turn in response and stability through corners, not such a bad thing because the standard Macan is already one of the best SUVs in bends. You can adjust its line mid corner and grip levels are never troubled in the dry. The steering is also perfectly weighted and offers decent feedback for an SUV.

Air suspension can be added for 1,044, along with an uprated rear anti-roll bar, which can drop the suspension a further 10mm (or 20mm in Sport Plus mode). Whether you choose Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus mode, the Macan T feels composed under hard cornering and while the ride may get progressively busier, it’s never uncomfortable. We’ve said before, the air suspension’s worth buying if you do lots of motorway miles – where it’s slightly more refined – but otherwise, save the money. This opinion hasn’t changed now we’ve driven the car on UK roads.

The seven-speed PDK gearbox is flawless. It’s super-smooth and the quick changes add an extra layer of sportiness to the experience. The brakes are powerful and reassuring, even after heavy and repeated use. From the point of view of enjoyment and capability, we reckon that many four-wheel-drive hot hatches are more credible rivals to the Macan T than SUV alternatives, which is credit to the Porsche.

The four-cylinder engine is effective but isn’t exactly bristling with character – something that afflicts this engine in other applications. While that flat torque curve makes the motor fairly flexible, it also means it isn’t particularly rewarding to rev out. The heftier V6 sacrifices the last word in agility, but a richer sound and more muscular mid-to-high range seem like a fair trade, especially when the S and T are so closely priced.

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