TEST DRIVE: Porsche Macan – sports car or SUV?

I was fortunate to drive the new Macan at a Porsche event close to Barcelona a couple of weeks ago.

For the purpose of this review, I will mainly compare the Macan with my BMW X3 xDrive35d (MY 2012).

The most important bit first; the Macan feels more agile than my X3, or rather, more agile than any SUV I have driven. Don’t be fooled, the Macan is no sports car, it’s no 911 with four doors, but it is as sporty as a SUV gets.

Before driving the car I had a passanger ride in the back seat of a Macan S Diesel. It felt properly quick, not the least since the driver was driving the car like a complete lunatic… In spite of his efforts, the Macan Turbo in front of us pulled away from us on the straights. The diesel engine had a pretty OK soundtrack, considering it is basically a reworked Audi diesel…

After the scary back seat ride, I drove the Macan Turbo on some mountain roads. Boy is it fast! The engine produces 400 hp with a somewhat muted soundtrack, but it makes nice exhaust noises on upshifts…

The steering is light, which is something I like. On my X3 it feels more weighty, specially in Sport mode, but in a bad, artificial way.

Now to the practical stuff. The interior feels very “premium”; much more luxurious than my X3. The Macans on show had full leather interiors, which added to the premium feeling.

Interior space in the back seat is limited and luggage space is markedly smaller than in the X3. Headroom in the back seat is not plentiful; tall people will hit the roof.

Finally, the most important question: do I want one? The answer is yes, but I wouldn’t sell a kidney to buy it… Let me clarify: if I didn’t own a family car and needed a small, sporty SUV, I would definitely buy a Macan. But is it worth upgrading from my BMW X3 xDrive35d? That’s a tough question. The Macan looks a little better, it feels a little more expensive inside, it is much more agile, but quite less practical than the X3.

If I had a sports car along the X3, as I used to have, I would keep the X3 as a family car. But without a sports car on the side, the family car needs to be sportier. In that context, the Macan would be an excellent all-rounder; it would make everyday driving a little bit more exciting. On the other hand, I am really fond of the new Maserati Ghibli (test drive report coming soon…). Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Geneva Motor Show 2014 – report

Thanks to a last minute reschedule of flights I was able to make it to the Geneva Motor Show this year. I was only able to spend about an hour visiting the Motor Show, so what follows is a short summary with a somewhat limited photo gallery (taken with my iPhone).

Porsche
The Porsche 991 Targa is as beautiful in the flesh as in the pictures and I was lucky enough to see the roof mechanism in action. Amazing…

There were a couple of Macans in the stand, but both where in an awful dark brown metallic colour. The car looks good though, better than it’s bigger brother the Cayenne and better than the Audi Q5, with which the Macan partly shares the underlying platform.

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I tried the back seat of the Macan. Nice but marginally less spacious than my current BMW X3. The luggage space is smaller than the X3 as well.

Nice car though; I’m Thinking about selling the X3 and getting the Macan (or the Maserati Ghibli, see below).

BMW
Looking at pictures, I have not been convinced about the styling of BMW’s electric sports car, the i8, but in the flesh it is absolutely stunning. In the dark grey colour exhibited on the stand it was very desirable. Maybe the most desirable sports car in Geneva; I didn’t see that one coming.

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The BMW 4-series Gran Coupé looks really good. I have also posted a large gallery of photos. Looking at this car, I wonder whether they will sell any 3-series Saloon…

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For those who don’t follow BMW:s new, intricate numbering system:

  • The 3-series is build as a 4-door Saloon, a 5-door Touring or a 5-door GT (the latter is a BIG hatchback).
  • The 4-series is essentially the same car, but it is build as a 2-door Coupé, a 2-door Convertible or a 5-door “Gran Coupé”, i.e. an elegant 5-door hatchback with coupé-like roofline (think: Audi A5 Sportback)

Tesla
The Model S is great. I liked it even more than I thought I would. Ergonomics are very good; the big centre touchscreen display is really easy to use. It  feels like “Car 2.0” or like the first iPhone. The future is here today…

It’s electric, it’s pretty, it’s practical (seats 5 or 7, huge boot) and it’s fast. What’s not to like? Maybe the interior doesn’t have the premium feel of the best german competitors…

Please read my fellow blogger’s excellent test drive report of the Tesla.

Ferrari
The new California T looks better than the original California (which I had the privilege to own during two years). I attented the launch of the California T a couple of weeks ago in Modena and will write a separate report on the car and the event. Stay tuned.

Maserati
The Alfieri concept car is very beautiful. Hopefully Maserati’s upcoming sports car (smaller than the GranTurismo), will look similar to this concept. Sorry about the poor picture.

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The Maserati Ghibli is a really nice entrant in the medium/high end saloon market, competing with the upmarket 6-cylinder versions of the BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-Klasse (and CLS) as well as the Audi A6. The blue car on the stand was highly desirable. I’m considering buying one, seriously.

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Jaguar
Could they build a car even more beautiful then the F-TYPE Convertible? Yes! The F-TYPE Coupé is absolutely stunning. On looks alone, this car is the Motor Show’s star:

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But the Convertible stills looks very good…

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Alfa Romeo
Alfa showed an open version of the 4C, the 4C Spyder. Nice design, in a Louts Elise kind of way, with added carbon fibre.

Audi
The new TT looks very similar to its predecesor. It’s nice but…yawn…

Lamborghini
The new Huracan is a stunner in the flesh, although a bit extreme for my taste. How did I not manage to take a proper picture?

Mercedes
S-Klasse Coupé
: considering the huge size of the car it is remarkably good looking…

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Short Summary
The BMW i8 and Tesla Model S surprised me, in a very positive way. The F-TYPE Coupé was a stunner.

Geneva Motor Show