We can think of several moments in Porsche's history that sent loyalists into uproar: when Porsche unveiled the Volkswagen-powered 914, the introduction of its first SUV two decades ago, the arrival of the four-door Panamera seven years later, and more recently when the Boxster and Cayman's flat-six was replaced with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Today, Porsche sells more Macans than either of those models, and most of them have a 2.0-liter engine. But the new Macan T model aims to inject more driving pleasure into the most popular Porsche, and we're here to tell you that it works. After all, the letter T, which stands for Touring, denotes a recipe also used on the 911 and 718 sports cars.
In 2020, 60 percent of the Macans were equipped with the base turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which now makes 261 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. That's down 114 ponies on the Macan S and its 2.9-liter V-6. The four-cylinder lacks the aural bliss we've come to expect from Porsche, as the slight exhaust burbles are overtaken by the whoosh of the turbos spooling. Porsche says the Macan T will reach 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, but we tested a non-T 2.0-liter Macan, and it needed just 5.0 seconds, thanks to the launch-control function included in the $1220 Sport Chrono package. That package comes standard on the T, so we can expect a similar result. For those keeping track, that's 1.5 seconds slower than the top-shelf 434-hp GTS model.
Power and acceleration are important, but they aren't everything, and you'll be reminded of that while driving the T. Turn the faux-suede-wrapped steering wheel to send the Macan T into a corner, and you're reminded how precise Porsche steering is. Sport Plus mode, engaged by a dial on the steering wheel, puts the optional air springs in their lowest setting; on the twisty Southern California canyon roads we drove, they combined with the stiffer anti-roll bars and optional brake-based torque vectoring to make the Macan T feel more like a sports sedan than a compact SUV. This isn't a surprising sensation, which is why the Macan is a previous 10Best award winner. Base Macan buyers can option up all these corner-carving goodies, too, including Michelin summer tires and the adaptive dampers, but most of them come standard on the T.
Porsche rearranged the Macan's lineup for 2022. The top Turbo model was dropped in favor of the GTS, which now uses the Turbo's old twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 engine; the S now uses the GTS model's 375-hp version of the V-6; and the base model's 2.0-liter now makes 13 more horsepower than before. The T fits in nicely between the base model and the S and by bundling all the chassis goodies it makes the 2.0-liter engine more exciting. The 2.0-liter models are lighter too. The base Macan is just over 100 pounds lighter than the last GTS we tested.
Porsche sets the Macan T apart visually by giving it Agate Grey Metallic accents on the front splitter, mirrors, side blades, roof spoiler, and badging. It also gets a set of 20-inch wheels from the Macan S. The car we drove was finished in Jet Black Metallic, which glistens in the sun and takes on a deep-purple tinge up close. Its interior looks like its wearing an Armani pinstripe suit—the seats have Porsche's Soft-Tex inserts with silver striped stitching. Our car also had the optional faux-suede on the headliner and the steering wheel. Other silver accents match the exterior's unique trim elements.
We expect the T to start at around $63,000— similar to a base model equipped with all the handling bits—when it arrives in a few months. That's several grand short of a Macan S, which will set you back $66,750. The Macan T provides more proof that a 2.0-liter four borrowed from Audi and Volkswagen is hardly a Porsche apostasy. Once again, Porsche has built an SUV that proves the naysayers wrong.
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