Driven: 2021 Porsche Macan GTS

“This should not be this good. It shouldn’t.” Calvin is wrestling with the laws of physics, long after the Macan GTS has broken them. Let’s check in on his mental state now that he’s had time to calm down.

Top trumps folks, let’s start there. 324kW and 550Nm from its 2.9l twin-turbo V6 engine –  pretty much the same six-cylindered beast that does duty in the Audi RS4. Here, it operate in the fastest Porsche Macan ever – yours for R1.6mil. This is the GTS iteration of Porsche’s incredibly successful compact SUV. Compact SUV. It feels surreal referring to the Macan that way, considering the mind-numbing (or is that mind-bending) performance it has just exhibited on these sinewy sections of asphalt between the West Coast and the Limietberg mountains. I’m staggered.

Let’s talk about success for a moment. Wirh over 600,000 units sold, it’s one of the marque’s biggest success stories. The Macan essentaly fills the role of ‘my first Porsche’ for most of its owners. And look, I drove the base model (think GTI) and S derivative (think of Goldilocks) The prior has an inline 4-cyl (up 10kW and 30Nm) making 195kW and 400Nm while the latter S gets the aforementioned 2.9l V6 at 280kW and 520Nm. But then there’s my Papaya Red test car to consider. Nevermind the 324kW (ergo most powerful Macan yet) for a moment and consider instead that its 550Nm of torque is on par with the previous gen Macan Turbo. And it’s 4.3sec to 100kph, whilst no slouch, only tells half the story.

Sheer bloody dynamics
A hundred kilometres or so quickly revealed a more dynamic chassis that somehow is also more comfortable than what came before. I’m gobsmacked by the ride quality, soft yet flat when the road wants to buck you. Porsche’s PTM traction management is rear-biased, and when paired to a flavourful helm means you’re never short of feedback from the tyres. The GTS gets a new sports air-suspension (PASM), stiffer lower and with noticeably less rebound. Clues to to more athletic demeanour (and ability) can be found in the sharper, more muscular bodywork. This and deeper, taller rear diffusers widen it, making for an even more aggressive stance. Wide indeed, just look at those four horizontal bars and smiling gumguard upfront. Like it knows something I don’t. Then there are the 3D sideblades on the doors, and a few carryover Turbo features such as the roof spoiler and those achingly desirable 21 inch RS Spyder wheels. If a compact SUV could be lustworthy, well this is it, isn’t it?

In summary, good heavens! The Macan GTS is stunner. Attractive and powerful, but there’s an X factor to its handling prowess that has totally surprised me. Living with it is even better better to a well-appointed cabin and the quality of life updates you crave in your daily-driven demon.

Quick stats: 2021 Porsche Macan GTS
Price: R1,601,000
Powertrain: 2.9l awd,  324kW, 550Nm, 7-speed PDK auto
Performance: 0-100kph in 4.3 seconds, 272kph top speed, 9.9l/100km fuel consumption

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