Saving the best for last

Porsche is quickly moving towards an electric future, with an EV version of its megapopular Macan crossover set to go on sale in 2023. As a stopgap before that happens, the brand gave the existing gas-powered Macan one last facelift, and while the changes aren’t too extensive, it’s still one hell of a send-off.

a car parked on the side of a road: Kermit would be proud. Porsche

© Provided by Roadshow
Kermit would be proud. Porsche

There’s no more Turbo model for 2022, so the GTS takes the mantle of top-dog Macan. It uses the same twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 as before, but output is boosted to 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque, matching the old Turbo and besting the 2021 GTS by 59 hp and 22 lb.-ft. The Macan continues to use a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive, and the GTS now comes standard with a lower air suspension setup and stiffer dampers.

Cosmetic changes are mostly limited to redesigned front and rear bumpers, different wheel designs, new color and trim choices and some reshuffled options. The biggest update is on the inside, where every 2022 Macan gets a 10.9-inch touchscreen running the infotainment system that Porsche has recently started phasing out. There’s also a new center console design that ditches the previous Macan’s cluttered row of buttons for a glossy panel that features backlit touch-sensitive buttons like you’d find on the Cayenne and Panamera .

My test car is a Euro-spec model, but the only difference from what we’ll get in the US are the brakes. Porsche dropped its carbon-ceramic brake option from the Macan for 2022 in the US, citing a super-low take rate, but the PCCBs will still be offered in Europe. On our shores the GTS comes standard with Porsche’s previously optional surface coated brakes (with red calipers for the first time), which is totally fine. The PCCBs are honestly overkill on the street, and from prior experience with the PSCBs in other models they’ll be more than strong enough for the Macan GTS — especially now that Porsche smoothed out the pedal feel.

a green car parked on the side of a road

© Porsche

New to the options list is the $12,010 GTS Sport Package, which my car has. If selected, you get a limited color palette of mostly monochromatic shades, though opting for this pack unlocks the option of the searing new Python Green hue and gives the GTS satin black fascias, as well as side blades and mirrors painted gloss black. You’re also forced into a black leather interior with Python Green stitching and alcantara inserts, in addition to a heated alcantara steering wheel and carbon-fiber trim and door sill plates.

The GTS Sport Package also bundles in a bunch of must-have performance goodies. It adds satin black 21-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Corsa summer tires, Porsche’s torque-vectoring system, the Sport Chrono Package (launch control, Sport Plus and Individual drive modes, Sport Response button and a dash-mounted stopwatch), and the awesome 18-way adaptive sport seats. All that stuff would add up to $6,850 on its own, and you can’t get the sticky summer tires any other way.

a green truck parked in front of a building: The Macan's rear end still looks great eight years on. Porsche

© Provided by Roadshow
The Macan’s rear end still looks great eight years on. Porsche

More sports car than sport utility

All this adds up to the Macan GTS being an absolute riot. Porsche says the GTS will hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, matching the old Turbo, but after using launch control (and knowing Porsche’s estimates) that seems conservative. The engine is responsive and torquey throughout the gears, and it sounds great with the standard sport exhaust set to the loud mode — though I wish there were a few more pops and bangs because I’m childish.

Also, I know this has been said to death, but it’s true: The Macan doesn’t drive like a crossover or even a hot hatch, it drives like a sports car. The GTS probably has the best steering of any crossover in terms of feedback, quickness and weighting. There’s almost zero body roll, even in high-camber corners, and the adaptive air suspension provides a smooth and stable ride no matter the road surface. It’s never too stiff, even in the sportiest of the three settings. The super-sticky Pirelli tires (sized 265/40R21 up front and 295/35R21 rear) and variable torque-vectoring system give the GTS seemingly endless grip, and there’s never a single moment of understeer or the traction control kicking in. Best of all, the GTS is never too much for the street. I can push harder in corners and keep my foot to the floor on straightaways without hitting absurd speeds.

a close up of a car: The Macan's new center console is a lot more modern than before. Porsche

© Provided by Roadshow
The Macan’s new center console is a lot more modern than before. Porsche

Maybe more impressively, the Macan GTS is just as good at running errands in the city or stuck in horrific Los Angeles traffic as it is on an empty backroad. Its small size, good visibility, quick steering and torquey V6 means I can dart through gaps in traffic with ease, and the optional adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go works pretty well. With the 18-way seats I don’t feel fatigued even after eight hours in the car, and the $990 Bose surround-sound system is good enough to not make me desire the $5,700 Burmester high-end setup.

There are a few downsides to the 2022 Macan, none of which are related to how it drives. Despite the interior overhaul, the Macan still feels a little old inside, especially when compared to the current Cayenne and 911. Because of its older electrical architecture it can’t run the PCM 6.0 infotainment system that debuted on the Taycan , so while the system is better than what the Macan previously had, it’s now outdated and doesn’t have Android Auto. It’s also unavailable with modern tech features like a head-up display, digital gauge cluster and ambient interior lighting. And I wouldn’t go for the GTS Sport Package, as it means you can’t get leather or ventilated seats.

At $81,250 to start (including a $1,350 destination charge), the 2022 Macan GTS is $7,800 more expensive than last year’s model though it’s $4,700 less than the previous Turbo. To me that’s a small price to pay for the GTS’ baseline improvements for 2022. But start throwing on options, and as with any Porsche it’ll add up quick. My test car is $104,410 and is missing options like the $1,670 panoramic roof; my ideal GTS sans the Sport Package would still be over $100K. But there’s no other crossover at that price that comes even close to the Macan GTS’ genre-bending abilities, and there aren’t many other similarly priced Porsches I’d rather have instead.

a green motorcycle parked on the side of a road: These 21-inch wheels and sticky summer tires are a must-have. Porsche

© Provided by Roadshow
These 21-inch wheels and sticky summer tires are a must-have. Porsche

Don’t fear what’s next

It’s hard to overstate how important the Macan is to Porsche. For one, it’s the brand’s best seller. Since its launch in 2014 over 600,000 have been sold worldwide, with almost 140,000 finding homes in the US. Sixty percent of Macan customers in America are conquest buyers, meaning they’re coming from other brands, and Macan owners have a lower median income than Cayenne owners by about $200K. Additionally, 35% of Macan buyers in the US are women — much higher than the brand’s average — though that number is almost 60% in China, Porsche’s biggest market both for the brand as a whole and the Macan specifically.

That means the new electric Macan needs to be good. That’s not exactly a concern, though, given how phenomenal the Taycan is and the fact that the Macan EV will be on a new platform with even better performance and range figures. But are around 20,000 Americans a year prepared to buy an electric Macan? Will existing Macan buyers want to make the switch? Will that conquest number stay the same or improve?

To assuage some of those concerns, Porsche will continue to sell the current gas-powered Macan even once the electric one goes on sale in 2023, though it seems like that will only happen for a couple years at most. While it might get confusing in terms of marketing — Porsche has yet to confirm whether the electric successor will still be called Macan — keeping the gas-powered version on sale for a few more years is certainly a good thing. With this final Macan GTS as excellent as it is, I think the Macan’s future is looking bright.

This was originally published on Roadshow.

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