Changes to the exterior design make the Macan look more like the Cayenne. Inside, the button-filled center console has been swapped out for a new flush, haptic panel that requires a firm touch. Though not as tactile as its predecessor's metallic switches and toggles, the surface does help simplify the interior. However, the plastic panel will inevitably be smudged with fingerprints—bring wipes.
The view from the driver's seat is classic Porsche, with a large, centrally positioned analog tachometer with a speedometer next to it, just like you'd find in a 50-year-old 911. In the center console, there's Porsche's latest 10.9-inch multimedia touchscreen equipped with now-standard wireless Apple CarPlay.
There's virtually nothing dull about how the Macan S drives. The steering enjoys an intuitive connection between the driver's palms and the road surface below. Acceleration from the twin-turbo V-6 is brisk, turbo lag is minimal, and it snarls pleasingly. A strong shove is available throughout the rev range, as 383 lb-ft of torque are available from 1850 to 5000 rpm. Dial into Sport mode, and transmission and throttle response become more aggressive and the adaptive dampers stiffen up. Downshifts come sooner, upshifts later, and the buttery smooth gearchanges become a little sharper.
Our Macan S came equipped with the air springs option ($1390) and provided a supple ride that damped most road irregularities but firmed up when hustling through corners. Despite the high seating position and tall roofline, body control is kept in check. The higher-profile SUV height is quickly forgotten. The Macan handles so well that someone trading out of sports car or sports sedan will feel at home. It has ample cornering grip, chest-cavitating acceleration when using launch control, and big brakes to bring it all to a fade-free stop. The GTS might be quicker, but it's also far more expensive.