You can have any premium car you like these days, so long as it’s powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6. Infiniti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, they’ll all sell you one. True luxury really is a choice, and just look how many 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6s you can choose from.
Thirty years ago, Audi would have given you a turbo five-cylinder, BMW a 2.3-litre screamer, Mercedes a 2.5-litre with a Cosworth head, and Alfa a 2.0-litre with twin-sparks per cylinder, and inboard brakes. Everyone was doing their own thing, and now you just ring ZF and order some eight-speeds.
Porsche has a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 too, which is why the biggest hassle facing Porsche engineers was convincing the bosses in Wolfsburg with a case for their own engine. The logical option would have been to just utilise sister-brand Audi’s V6 for service in Macans and Cayennes, but for faithful Porsche customers the ‘developed-in-Zuffenhausen’ tag (and made in Bratislava…) is an important ownership factor, so that wouldn’t do.
Porsche also has a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 in the new Panamera. And a 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 in the Macan Turbo, that makes exactly as much power as the 2.9…
A second-gen Macan will eventually downsize, but once they’d stopped wrangling over engines, the next debate was whether to make the new 2017 Macan Turbo with the Performance Package a standalone model rather than a cost-option bit of kit, an extra trim piece, like the Dh5,490 leather air vent slats.
In the end they didn’t call this latest crossover the Macan Turbo S, even though it is one, because that tag remains reserved for the next Macan. The Performance Package costs 30 grand over the Turbo’s Dh355,000 list price, adds 40 horsepower and 50Nm of torque (10 per cent improvements), increases top speed from 266kph to 272kph, and drops 0-100kph times by four-tenths to 4.4 seconds. That makes the most frenzied Macan yet quicker than a base 911 Carrera. All that money though, and no badge to show for it. What if the valet guy isn’t convinced?
The performance shows, and the Macan Turbo PP steers and goes like nobody’s business, or no crossover’s business. The pack lowers it by 10mm and adds big brakes, grooved discs measuring 390mm up front, a 30mm increase. The included sports exhaust pops and barks and hisses and will make you noticeable.
Shift times have been further improved with the seven-speed PDK and Porsche’s Sport Chrono Package is thrown into the price.
Once they’d stopped wrangling over engines, the next debate was whether to make the new 2017 Macan Turbo with the Performance Package a standalone model...
Stretched to 440bhp, the engine has no trouble making torque, 600Nm from 1,500rpm, and you can drive the Macan Turbo PP in one gear pottering about, or quite like a GTI.
Built on Volkswagen Group’s MLB modular platform, it’s more lithe than a Cayenne — which, however capable, doesn’t disguise bulk — and also the Macan Turbo. This is a crossover with launch control, and when you get settled with the low-dash opening-up vision and the fender tips perking up, there’s an illusion you’re not sitting that high up at all. The steering wheel is nice and upright, and small, and the driving position spot on.
It’ll track like a train — 1,925kg kerb weight and a 2,807mm wheelbase — on the highway, even a frozen one here in Finland where we’re testing the car. When you start pressing buttons on slippery roads, Sport Chrono and Sport Plus mode adopt hilarious angles always coming out facing the right way. Unlike similar rivals like the BMW and Mercedes’s crossover AMG efforts, the Macan Turbo PP feels less like it’s forced into enjoying this.
Even against the Cayenne you’re not missing much on utility with the Macan — on paper there’s loads more cargo and passenger room in the bigger SUV but used back to back in real life this is not as apparent. If you must have a usable Porsche… I mean, if you must have a Porsche that’s usable, then the Macan Turbo Performance Pack is your best bet.