It seems like every other week brings a new Porsche—as it almost does in 2021 at least. With the fresh introduction of the Taycan Sport Turismo, 911 GT3 and Cayenne Turbo GT, the German brand is keeping up the pressure with the release of the 2022 Macan, which not only for its new refinements, but also for the shake-up at the top of its model range. Notable for: The previous Turbo model is dead, to be replaced by the highly compelling, sturdy Macan GTS.
Providing the heat in the GTS is the same engine that powered last year’s turbo model, a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 rated for 434 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque, producing 59 horses and 22 lb-ft of torque. lb- ft more than previous GTS. All Macans also come standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, which combine to push the GTS into the “really fun” category of athleticism and give it the turbo’s 3.5-second sprint. Mimicking 60 mph should help. .
Being a Porsche, however, the Macan isn’t about going in a straight line quickly, and that’s especially true for models wearing the GTS badge. When we drove the previous iteration of the Macan GTS, we noticed that its “responsive and precise steering is rightly taken from the 718 GTS.” While this is generally still the case—the rudder remains well weighted and highly direct—the Macan feels a bit short on feedback, as we recall, as its contact patches load and unload in corners. That quibble aside, the GTS remains an impressively responsive and engaging performer, crossover or otherwise.
Opting for the $12,010 GTS Sport Package also includes launch control provided by the Sport Chrono Package, an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, 18-way adaptive sport seats and blacked-out exterior details. But even the regular 2022 Macan has a lot to brag about, including retuned adaptive dampers and air springs, the latter of which are 0.4 inches shorter than the GTS lower versions. While Porsche’s advanced tungsten-carbide-coated brake rotors are standard on GTS models sold in the US, the Europe-market car we sampled in Los Angeles was equipped with the surprisingly smooth carbon-ceramic brake option that Porsche introduced. Macon’s US option list. For 2021 because very few people splurge for them.
But the standard stoppers of the GTS are strong enough and match the corners that this crossover shows. Far from feeling like a top-heavy SUV at the first sign of lateral load, the GTS drives like a high-riding hot hatchback. Its adaptive dampers and air springs are now 10 per cent stronger at the front and 15 per cent at the rear, helping it to pair with impressively neutral handling.
Speaking of harsh suspension settings, it’s fair to wonder whether the Macan GTS goes too far in this area, compromising comfort in pursuit of chassis performance that buyers will probably never take advantage of. Thankfully, it is not so. As we learned in the transition from the relatively smooth asphalt of Angels Crest Highway to the rough, chunkier pavement of Angels Forest Highway and Big Tjunga Canyon Road, the GTS’ drive mode has a meaningful impact on its character. There is a notable difference between its Sport and Sport Plus settings, the latter greatly enhancing drivetrain responses, yet still allowing a lot of road imperfections to circulate in the cabin. On rough surfaces, the dampers’ soft sport mode is definitely the way to go.
When we prototyped the 2022 Porsche Macan GTS, we noticed that its exterior and interior updates were fairly light. This still holds true for the production version, but some of the modifications that have been made are effective in keeping the Macan’s look fresh. Inside, the digital instrument panel and touch-sensitive center-console controls are now on par with Porsche’s contemporary lineup. And the GTS model gets additional welcome interior upgrades, including a GT Sport steering wheel from the latest 911 plus Alcantara-trimmed sport seats. The three GTS Sport Package-specific exterior colors (Python Green, Gentian Blue Metallic, and Papaya Metallic) make sure you turn heads. As with the rest of the 2022 Macan range, the GTS benefits from technology and infotainment updates, such as a 10.9-inch touchscreen and standard wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, as well as upgrades to its Bose and Burmester audio systems. Unsurprisingly, the GTS update has resulted in a healthy price increase—the base asking price of $81,250 is $7800 more than last year’s version—but the 2022 model is still several thousand dollars cheaper than the outgoing Turbo.
Compare the behind-the-wheels vibe of the 2022 Macan GTS with that of its flagship competitors, the BMW X3 M and Mercedes-AMG GLC63, and you realize it’s not really competing with them – BMW and AMG are competing. with each other, while Porsche is in a different class of driver involvement and handling accuracy. Factor in the updated model’s added power and none of its enhancements compromise its main mission as a practical compact crossover, and the new GTS is the best Macan yet.
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