settled betweenAnd this You’ll find the sweet spot of Porsche’s compact SUV range: the Macan S. The S splits the difference between the above bookends in terms of price and performance, and by doing so, creates a really good middle ground that makes it an absolute peach to drive.
Like other Macans, the S 2022 comes with some nice updates, most of which are found inside. The reworked center console uses a flat, backlit design similar to the Cayenne and Panamera, and certainly goes a long way towards making the Macan fresh. Above that is a 10.9-inch touchscreen running Porsche’s communications management infotainment system, but sadly, the Macan’s older, mostly analog gauge cluster remains. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.)
A brief word about PCM: The 2022 Macan doesn’t have the latest Porsche systems, as you’ll find in the 911 and Taycan. Instead, the Macan uses slightly older software, though it’s infotainment interface continues to earn high marks for its crisp display and quick responses to taps and swipes. The biggest problems with last-gen PCM technology are its somewhat complex menu structure and its lack of. but at least wireless is included. Switch to iPhone, I guess.
The Macan S has a few more standard features than the base car, such as eight-way power front seats, heated seats, four USB-C ports (two per row) and a 10-speaker sound system. Still, I don’t have to mention that all the cool stuff will cost you extra, including multiple driver-assistance technologies. Sure, parking assist and lane-departure warning are standard, but things like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring really should be on the list.
Thankfully, what it lacks in the Macan helps more than just driver involvement. The S Macan is powered by the same 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 as the GTS, but it differs slightly to produce 375 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Low-end thrust is strong at just 1,850 rpm, allowing this all-wheel-drive SUV to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. This is accompanied by the Sport Chrono option, FYI, which also unlocks various driving modes and Porsche’s awesome push-to-pass Sport response button on the steering wheel.
Like the GTS, the Macan S gets a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and is mated perfectly to the V6 engine. Left to its own devices, the DCT shifts quickly and smoothly, and it’s super responsive to input from steering wheel-mounted pedals, should you feel like taking matters into your own hands (literally) . The all-wheel-drive system has a strong rear bias, and optional torque-vectoring technology makes for better power delivery when cornering.
Great steering is a hallmark of all Porsche products, and the Macan’s well-weighted, small-diameter wheel is a joy to use through tight switchbacks. You can dart through traffic with ease, even at slow speeds in the city, with the steering providing plenty of communication about what’s happening at street level in real time. The S comes standard with 20-inch wheels, and a bunch of new designs are available, but the car tested here rides on 21s, shod in super-duper sticky summer tires for maximum grip.
Equipped with options like adaptive air suspension ($1,390) and torque-vectoring ($1,500), the Macan S is much closer to the GTS than the base model in terms of on-road performance. Pitch, dive and roll are practically nonexistent, yet adaptive dampers are happy to provide a decent ride quality when you’re slowing down the freeway. The Macan S feels more like a long hot hatch than a compact SUV, and it’s the kind of sporty crossover I’d love to drive everyday.
The Macan is quite functional, with 17.6 cubic feet of space behind the back bench, or 52.9 cubic feet if you fold the rear seats flat. It’s also rated for just over 4,400 pounds, which is enough for a couple of jet-skis, or, say, a light trailer and a special Miata race car.
At $66,750 (including $1,350 for the destination), the 2022 Macan S undercuts the more expensive GTS by $14,500, and considering the biggest differences are a small reduction in power and a slightly softer suspension tune, it’s the better buy for me. Looks like Just don’t go crazy with the options, you guys—the test car pictured here is packed to the gills and costs $103,600. You can actually get the well-equipped Macan S for thousands less, though I highly recommend springing for a cool color like Papaya Metallic ($700). There are many silver and black SUVs in the world.
It’s also worth noting that companies like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz offer performance SUVs that stack up well against the Macan S on paper, and for slightly less money, too. But when the tires hit the pavement, the Macan continues to lead the pack—no small SUV drives so well. And among the three new Macan models offered, the S offers the best balance of power, balance and price.