Friday, July 30, 2021

First drive: 2021 Porsche Macan GTS prototype review

There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming fully electric version of the Porsche Macan, which is set to arrive in the UK in 2023. Company officials have been dropping hints about it for well over a year now and we’ve recently received a series of photographs that expose prototypes of the new model.

But Porsche hasn’t been neglecting the existing petrol-engined Macans. Far from it, as we found out during a drive of a prototype facelifted Macan, a model now in its seventh year of production.

Seven years. For most car makers, this would represent a full generational cycle and high time for an all-new model. Not for Porsche, though. Sticking to an evolutionary approach it has followed for decades, it has reworked the Macan, giving it a freshened appearance, reworked interior, updated functions and revised petrol engines. The line-up has also been reduced in number.

When order books for the facelifted Macan open in the UK in July, there will be three models: Macan, Macan S and Macan GTS. The Macan Turbo has been axed, replaced in part by the Macan GTS, which, like all 2021 models, receives a lift in power.

The styling changes are mild. A new front bumper incorporates an air duct shape intended to accentuate width and trim elements within the lower part of the doors gain a different texture. At the rear, a new bumper has a more prominent diffuser. There’s also a revised range of wheels, including the 21in RS wheel on the Macan GTS prototype we’re in, and three new colours, details of which will be divulged at the end of July.

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As with the exterior, the changes inside are relatively minor, but they do make for a more pleasant driving environment. Some of it was hidden during our time with the prototype and we weren’t permitted to photograph it in detail. However, there’s a shortened gearlever, a different multifunction steering wheel, new digital instruments and a 10.9in touchscreen as part of what Porsche calls its Advanced Cockpit.

The subtle updates extend to the engine bay. The entry-level Macan’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine has been reworked and power increases by 20bhp to 261bhp, with torque up 22lb ft to 317lb ft. At the middle of the line-up, the Macan S drops the turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 for a more powerful twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 that produces an added 26bhp, at 375bhp, and an extra 29lb ft, at 383lb ft.

It is the new top-of-the-line Macan GTS that we drive here, though. It receives a more potent version of its existing twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6, whose reserves have been brought up to the same level of the outgoing Macan Turbo’s. With 2.3 bar of boost pressure and a new ECU, there is now an added 59bhp, at 434bhp, while torque climbs by 22lb ft to 405lb ft.


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