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This was Porsche’s best-selling model through the first quarter of 2020.

Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

The vaguely regal red, black and gold crest that screams “Porsche” in capital letters on the hood does a lot of the selling on the Macan SUV. In case you missed it, the brand name is also writ large across the trunk.

That brand name is why anyone with a bank account that can stretch to afford the lease payment will probably consider this particular compact SUV over the legions of other similarly-sized and similarly-equipped rivals. The brand is strong with this one.

That’s all fine and dandy, but it boggles the mind that Porsche has still tried hard to make this revised Macan Turbo, you know, good. The engineers back in Stuttgart could’ve phoned it in, went off to the beergarden, and the Macan would’ve likely still sold like toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic.

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This Macan was Porsche’s best-selling model through the first quarter of 2020. First introduced in 2014, the Macan had its strongest sales year in 2018 with only a slight dip in 2019, according to Goodcarbadcar’s U.S. and Canadian sales data.

For 2020, Porsche has given the top-of-the-range Macan Turbo a new 2.9-litre twin-turbo V-6 engine, plus a slew of minor updates the rest of the Macan range received for 2019.

The steering is precise and there’s no doubt it could tear up a racetrack.

Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

First, let’s just ignore the non-sensical nomenclature, shall we? The days when the alphanumeric badges on the back of most German automobiles bore any relation to their engines are long gone. Fine. For Porsche, “Turbo” now simply denotes some of the company’s fastest, most expensive models, which may or may not actually have turbocharged engines. (Shout out to the Porsche Taycan Turbo.)

The sleek Macan Turbo a nice thing to see in your driveway in the morning. It’s modest in the same way a pair of Gucci loafers is modest. They’re well-made, luxurious, comfortable, but at the end of the day still just loafers like this is still just a compact crossover.

Inside, the revised Macan is unfortunately lacking the next-generation, all-glass centre console found in the Taycan, Cayenne and new 911. Some might say there’s a bit too much plastic here in the cabin for a $100,000 car. What’s most troubling about the Macan in day-to-day use are the signal stalks. They feel cheap, with a clunky and imprecise action – very un-Porsche.

A new 2.9-litre engine is ostensibly the headliner on the revised-for-2020 Macan Turbo. It makes 434 horsepower, an 34 hp increase over the old 3.6-litre V-6. The change has more do with the reducing emissions to meet regulatory targets than with making the Macan faster, which it nevertheless does, albeit marginally. With the right option boxes ticked, it will do 0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds, which is nearly as quick as Porsche’s 911.

The cabin isn’t as fresh looking or as high-tech as newer Porsche models.

Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

The air suspension provides a surprisingly smooth ride even at city speeds. It wasn’t always this way with Porsche, but the engineers seem to have figured out how to make its cars ride reasonably comfortably in the city, and not just on the racetrack. The new 911 Turbo S was similarly cosseting.

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Apart from the aforementioned complaints about the cabin, the Macan Turbo is predictably excellent. The only real issue that might give a potential buyer any reason to pause is its price.

The Macan range starts at a modest (for Porsche) price of $57,800, which is only around $10,000 more than fully-loaded Honda CR-V. The Macan Turbo, however, is in another league, starting at $96,500. Our test car, loaded with extras like a full-leather interior ($2,150) and 21-inch wheels ($1,900), came to an eye-watering $119,260 including delivery charges.

A person could get a basic Macan and a Porsche 718 Cayman for about the same amount of money. Alternatively, for $30,000 less, a Macan S with air suspension is 90 per cent as good as the Turbo day-to-day.

The Macan Turbo defies logic and sense, but just like that golden Porsche crest pulls on the purse strings of consumers, so too does the “Turbo” badge.

The rear door opening is small, which would make getting a car-seat in and out a challenge.

Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

Tech specs

  • Base Price: $96,500
  • Engine: 2.9-litre twin-turbo V-6
  • Transmissions: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Fuel economy (l/100 km): TBD
  • Drive: all-wheel drive
  • Alternatives: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S, BMW X3 M, Jaguar F-Pace SVR, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, Tesla Model Y Performance


Looks

Very svelte. The double-deck rear spoiler on the Turbo is a nice touch.

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Interior

The cabin isn’t as fresh looking or as high-tech as newer Porsche models.

Performance

Only the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is equal in terms of handling. The Macan Turbo, like most sporty SUVs, makes the driver feel slightly insulated and removed from the action, but the steering is precise and there’s no doubt it could tear up a racetrack.

Technology

On the performance front it’s state-of-the-art, but the infotainment package is par for the course. Canadian fuel economy figures have yet to be published, but during our time with the Macan Turbo we averaged over 12 l/100 km in mostly city driving. Not exactly frugal.

Cargo

The back seats will fit adults just fine, but the rear door opening is small, which would make getting a car-seat in and out a challenge.

Verdict

Among the very best sporty SUVs money can buy, and certainly the best from Porsche.

The double-deck rear spoiler is a nice touch.

Matt Bubbers/The Globe and Mail

Have a driving question? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com. Canada’s a big place, so let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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