When Stuttgart slaps the Turbo badge on the arse of a Porsche the automotive world takes note. Yes, it means it's turbo-charged, but so is everything else nowadays - so this particular badge needs to mean so much more than just the terms of its aspiration.
Turbo badges, especially in the 911 context means the hottest road version, just shy of GT3 and GT2 performance, cars that make plenty of concessions to worship at the temple of speed. I mean comfort, something a Turbo derivative retains and in spades.
As you can see by our Smurf-hued test car, it manages to look the part too. It's no 911 or Cayman, but then it isn’t a Cayenne either, straddling the middle ground of a compact SUV with a driver's vantage point not being dramatically different to that of a Golf GTI. A hot hatch sure, but one with a 2.9l biturbo 6-cylinder arranged in a vee, and good for 324kW and 550Nm.
On its rolling stock, some 21-inch wheels mind you - it will smash a 4.3 second 0-100kph sprint and top out at 270kph, all to a blustery soundtrack. One best enjoyed with the windows down though - NVH levels being quite subdued. And if those stats look familiar that's because it's the self-same powertrain we recently sampled in the Audis RS4 and 5. Although in those applications I felt the exhaust was even louder, certainly raspier - I could be wrong though.
Initial impressions of the drive and handling are smooth and tractable, firm but not hard, kind of like the way I like my eggs. This robust engine can also be found in the Porsche Panamera and Cayenne of course – so it has some history of shifting very large metal, very rapidly.
But what about those German plates? As mentioned at the start, this is in fact the international launch of the Macan Turbo so yes, a big deal then - but also a reminder as to the quality of the roads around the Cape. Over two days we would scythe a sinewy path from Cape Town to Hermanus to Franschhoek and then we'd flip it and reverse it to amass a tally around 600km. And I loved every moment spent at the leathery, flavourful helm.
The chassis is pancake flat as it skims the tar, yet pockmarks and ruts barely register as annoyances. Traction is… well it doesn’t occupy your mind at all – it just grips and grips, while that forcefully aspirated rev needle soars, providing shunt from almost any rpm – catapulting you from apex to apex.
Urgh, yes – it is chock-a-block full of toys, tech, gear, screens, big sound. And sigh, yes, it is posh inside. A Turbo model doesn’t compromise on any of the niceties in its pursuit of performance.
It's a Porsche, of course it is posh inside...
My verdict on the Porsche Macan Turbo? Well, allow me to unravel a bit. One day, maybe ten years from now. Maybe five, when we talk about sports cars, we're going to be talking about cars like this. It's going to make us redefine what we mean when we say 'purist' and it will help us forget manual transmissions. It's going to do all those things we say will never happen, because it's quick, makes the right noises and handles like a Porsche.
I'm not smitten. I'm impressed. And this is the part that is completely fabricated by my brain, but I don't think its successors will have an engine this barrel-chested again.
Porsche Macan Turbo Specs:
|Price ||R1,600,000.00 (estimated)|
|Engine ||2.9 litre V6 biturbo, |
|Gearbox ||Seven speed PDK auto|
|Driven Wheels ||All|
|0-100kph ||4.3 seconds|
|Top Speed ||270kph|