It's a Porsche, so you would expect the Porsche Macan Turbo to be fun, wouldn't you?
Size does matter. Ask my wife. She absolutely swears by our Land Rover Discovery, which is capable of transporting seven people, an enormous amount of clobber and towing a huge trailer all at the same time.
The Porsche Macan is much smaller than Mrs S’s Disco but, for those albeit rare occasions on which an ability to move a flock of sheep and its attendant shepherds isn’t necessary, Cayenne Minor is just about perfect. At a time when every new model is a couple of inches wider and longer than the car it supplants and the replacement for the Freelander is bigger than the original Range Rover, the Macan actually fits on British roads and into British parking spaces.
The first thing I did with the top of the range Macan Turbo when it arrived was to take it for a quick pootle up the tracks that surround me in the Trough of Bowland, which happily represent a typical day’s shooting. My test car had the optional air suspension, which gives it 230mm of ground clearance, which is plenty for most purposes. It also has an off-road mode that softens the throttle response and changes the programming of the traction control and torque vectoring. That said, Porsche’s Sports Utility rides on unashamedly road-biased tyres. Therefore, I avoided anything that looked like axle deep mud – when you have to trek three mobile signal-less miles to the nearest neighbour with a tractor, the walk of shame is less than entertaining.
A trip to Le Mans
Now, if you have a Porsche Turbo for a week, where would seem like the best place to take it? Yup. Le Mans. The next 650 miles brought to light the biggest surprise – it’s a superb motorway car, especially if you find the right button to press to engage comfort mode among the almost aircraft-like array of toggles and switches.
But it was when we got to Le Mans that the Macan’s talent really shone – because it really is an absolute hoot to drive. It delivers astonishing performance from it’s 400bhp V6 turbo engine but it is in the way that it handles that it marks itself out from every other SUV on the market, and a lot of sports cars beside. It turns in with ferret-like agility yet also never feels anything other than completely stable. It uses its four wheel drive and torque-vectoring technology to power out of bends at incredible speed, which it then sheds in almost shocking fashion thanks to carbon-ceramic stoppers.
So, as you might have deduced, I really like this car. In fact, it could just be my perfect only car. On the motorway, it is a 30mpg cruiser; in town it is small enough to duke it out with the worst minicab driver – but take it on the racetrack or on your favourite B road and it is phenomenally quick and capable. It will even get you round the shoot, although I might have to invest in a second set of wheels and tyres to put that beyond doubt. And, as it’s not big enough for carting livestock around, Mrs S might not nick it off me the moment it lands.
Ben Samuelson gave the Porsche Macan Turbo 5/5
Top speed: 165mph
0-62mph: 4.8 seconds
CO² emission: 208g/km
Rumours are starting to circulate that Audi is developing a Q8 flagship off- roader to take on the Range Rover Sport. I really liked the Q7 when I drove it up to Alladale last summer and there’s a mighty V8 diesel variant that sounds like just my cup of tea – so a sportier version would make sense. It will probably only have five seats, rather than the Q7’s seven – and will definitely have more rakish lines than its family-oriented brother.
If you’re reading this, Mr Audi, please don’t do anything to it that messes with the Q7’s simply astonishing ride quality and refinement.