How does the Macan Turbo perform on the road? A Capetown fairytale.

Porsche’s top seller receives a face lift and 10 % more power and we have the pleasure of test driving it – in South Africa!

Having been dreaming about a trip to South Africa and Capetown in particular, we have been exceptionally excited about test driving this sporty SUV in this spectacular landscape.

Porsche has successfully filtered engaging driving characteristics into a compact crossover, and the 2020 Macan Turbo represents the model’s performance pinnacle. Boasting an attractive design, it manages to look sporty and sophisticated. Underneath the skin is a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 creating 434bhp (39bhp more than before) – this is an engine that’s already in service in the Cayenne S and Panamera 4S.

While exploring the Macan’s characteristics we were also scouting the surrounding landscape for local wildlife. Top of our list, of course, the penguins. Jackass penguins and ostriches are the only flightless bird species found in Africa. Jackass Penguins are also known as African Penguins. Two places are known for hosting penguin colonies, firstly Bettys Bay and secondly Simonstown. Historically penguins only nested on islands, to keep away from predators, nowadays they are located on the mainland.

Back in the car we needed to catch up with the others and make up some lost kilometers. Perfect timing to find out the top speed for the 2020 Macan Turbo, right? A cool 167 mph. The rest of the powertrain is familiar Porsche fare: a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission sends power to all four wheels via Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive.

For 2020, the Macan Turbo sees a range of updates, including the arrival of Porsche’s Surface Coated Brake (PSCB) technology, which reduces wear (and brake dust!) while preserving braking force and actually slightly improving brake fade thanks to some spooky physics at play on the surface of the disc.

But can it compete with the worlds top notch SUV’S? Performance SUV numbers are growing, so the Macan has to take on the likes of the BMW X3 M Competition and Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and diesel-powered Audi SQ5 are cheaper rivals, but not quite as potent in the horsepower arms race. 

We think it can indeed and in fact we would rate the Macan Turbo as the worlds top notch SUV!

As a result of all the 2020 updates regarding power, aero, and braking equipment, plus Porsche’s legendary suspension tuning know-how, the Macan Turbo is the crossover to put the lie to the thought that its breed is boring. Despite its 4,234-pound curb weight, when driven hard, the Macan Turbo dips into corners with minimal body roll or nose dive, the steering returning consistent, precise results, though it’s not particularly laden with feedback. Romp on the throttle coming out of a turn and you’ll be whooshed toward the next apex with force, but not so much as to make the drive intimidating or truly rocket-like, contrary to many Porsche products labeled “Turbo.”

The Cape of Good Hope is a narrow peninsula jutting out into the ocean and is located 70 km away from Cape Town. By car, it takes about an hour and a half to drive here from the city. A route we have been wanting to drive anyways, as the famous Chapman’s Peak and Nordhoek are known for their dramatic scenery and epic roads.

One thing we couldn’t plan was the encounter with a ostrich mother and her little baby, walking along the coastline, just next to the road we were passing.

It all comes together to deliver an SUV that’s stellar to drive, and still, probably, the most convincing incarnation of an SUV with some form of dynamic kudos. The new engine is key to this, and its flexibility is welcome; leave the Macan Turbo in its most docile drive mode and with the active sports exhaust flaps shut it keeps its distance, burbling away up front while at a cruise. 

The small-diameter steering wheel is nicely weighted and the lines of communication between the road and driver are crystal clear. You get plenty of feedback through both the steering and seat of your pants, meaning it’s easy to carry lots of speed through tight corners, simply because you’ve got a great sense of your grip at road level. 

Every model I have been able to drive during these couple of days has handled exceptionally well, with little body roll and tons of grip. In fact, most of the vehicles in this class have cornering grip that would have done the best sports sedans proud not that many years ago. The Macan Turbo is overridingly grippy, skirting into natural understeer if you’re lazy with your throttle and steering inputs. Go in search of it, however, and a rear-bias can be unearthed. Transmit the right signals through your feet and hands, and the all-wheel-drive system allows for a bit of slip at the rear.

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