Congratulations to @whoosh on the new car and here are his impressions in his own words:
Delivery was on 5/17/14 immediately after our dealer's launch event. We purchased our Macan S out of state and had a two day, 1500 miles road trip with the car to come back home. I'll capture here some impressions from the trip and after a brief blast last night over some familiar back roads here at home.
At idle, the engine revs very quickly, especially given the typical nature of turbo engines. It makes a huge amount of torque between 2k-5.5k, and then it feels as though it's running out of breath. I've experienced this before in new cars, and the upper rev range has sometimes become more willing as the engine continues to run in. I hope that's the case here with this one as well. As the engine starts to feel less willing, calling for an upshift will return right to the meat of the torque band, and the car moves forward with more urgency again.
The car likes to settle in around 90mph on the highway. It's quite difficult to keep it anywhere below that; cruise control will save your bacon if your area is highly monitored for speeders by the authorities. The car feels perfectly fine above that speed as well.
Anywhere above 80mph and the car drinks fuel. We managed about 20 mpg over our trip with cruising at the above mentioned 90mph with some variations during the early run in period.
As is widely reported, the exhaust note is very subdued. It actually sounds nice from outside the vehicle, so I believe this is more a function of the sound isolation in the car than a real shortcoming in the exhaust itself. I appreciate that Porsche didn't introduce any artificial noise for the cabin, but I will look to the aftermarket to improve the soundtrack.
Absolutely wonderful. With the car in D, press the accelerator pedal about 1/2 way, call for a downshift, and the PDK will drop multiple gears to initiate a passing maneuver. After a few seconds the car returns to automatic mode and it's back to comfortable cruising.
The car is pretty docile in standard mode, and livens up a bit in Sport mode. Leaving from a light takes a little getting used to. If you are timid with the gas, the car feels a little reluctant to get moving. It's a very close feeling to driving a normal manual transmission car, and feathering the clutch pedal based on accelerator input. Definitely different than the sensation from a normal torque converter automatic trans.
I haven't driven a car with the steel suspension, so it's difficult to tell where PASM ends and where any benefit of Air Suspension comes in to play. However, with the car in Sport Plus (see below), which automatically lowers the car down and enables the most firm PASM settings, the car feels on rails. It is going to take some time to adapt to the higher vehicle position in this car when compared to a Cayman. However, on familiar back road driving last night, I was taking turns in the Macan at the same speeds I would take them in my 987 Cayman S. No it is not a sports car, but within the bounds of borderline safe driving on public roads, this car is certainly as capable as a sports car.
Out on the highway, standard mode gives a compliant ride that sometimes gets a little floaty going over moderate surface changes. We traveled within the Baton Rouge / New Orleans area on a lot of the elevated highways. The car was very comfortable over the endless expansion joints on I-10 in that area. Putting PASM into it's stiffest setting would give a much more controlled ride, but got tiring after a bit. It's definitely nice to have the option to change the car's characteristics based on road conditions.
We live at the end of two miles of dirt / gravel / washboard roads. In my Cayman S, I would never take the car greater than 20mph over these roads. The Macan flies over these same roads at nearly 40mph with nary a shake thanks to the air suspension. I only slow down out of fear of rock chips along the sides of the car.
We do have Sport Chrono on our car, and the difference in shifts is noticeable in Sport Plus. Passing is even more rapid in SP mode due to the quicker and more aggressive throttle response and faster gear changes.
I haven't been to the track yet, so can't comment on the lap timer feature. The center clock is very elegant, and lights up at night with backlighting for the numerals as well as a soft ring light from around the bezel.
Launch Control... I have launched AWD turbo cars in the past, and am familiar with the sensation of your stomach getting sucked in to the seat as the car builds torque and pulls away from the line. Using LC in the Macan gives the most ridiculous version of that sensation of any car that I've driven. As good as it is, I'm sure it's nothing compared to a GT-R or a 911 turbo S, but this is an SUV and it's very impressive given that market segment. No, it's not something that I will use every day, but it is one way to avoid the pensive shift characteristics I noted above in the PDK section when taking off from a stop.
Overall I'm happy with the base audio package with a few exceptions:
- Audio quality is good until the lower bass ranges. Bass is a bit bloated and not well controlled.
- CDR+ will read a USB thumb drive and allow you to play songs in the supported formats. Browsing the catalog on the drive is painful, and the interface is slow compared to some aftermarket units I've used.
- I haven't figured out yet how to adjust the playback order of MP3 files loaded from the USB device. Right now it plays in alphabetical order, instead of using the MP3 metadata to determine the order. This can be remedied by pre-pending the tracks with track numbers, but I hate doing that. I will report back here if I find a solution to this.
Bluetooth audio from my Nexus 5 works flawlessly, including transfer of track metadata to the car display. Pandora streaming is rock solid, and also has track metadata shown on the display. While streaming audio from the phone, Google Maps voice prompts interrupt Pandora and are clearly heard over the car speakers. Call quality using the in-car mic and speakers is excellent, even for passengers talking from the back seat.
- Base interior (i.e. no leather package) has nice soft-touch materials in the places where that counts. I'm not disappointed at all in this aspect.
- Aluminum trim option definitely helps to break up the otherwise black interior
- 18-way seats: My wife said that the only way the seats could be better is if they came with a massage. I had no problems doing 4+ hours of driving stints and feeling completely comfortable in the seats. Very happy with this selection.
- Rear seat space is a little tight, but still better than our E91 3 Series sportwagon. I had no issues at all sitting behind my wife while she was driving. I'm 6'2" and long in the legs, and she's 5'3". She also had no issues sitting behind me with the seat set perfectly for my driving position.
- Plenty of rear headroom without the panoramic roof.
- Rear cargo area isn't huge, but was ample for luggage for three people without any stacking of items, along with some bags picked up along the course of our trip.
Steering and PDLS
It's electric steering, but I can't really find a fault with it. You definitely don't feel every pebble in the road like you might with a hydraulic, but in a car in this segment I'm not sure that's really a top requirement. The steering is very light in low speed settings like parking, which is nice for maneuvering the car around. Out on the highway and in spirited driving, the steering firms up and feels perfectly natural.
PDLS is money well spent if you drive over dark windy roads. We had BMW's active lighting, but that system seemed to lag a little in spirited driving settings. The Porsche system is leagues ahead. Looking into turns, the light is right where you expect it to be, no matter how quickly you move the steering wheel.
I haven't done any full-on panic stop tests yet, but on the highway and in rural road settings, the car gets stopped plenty fast. Pedal feel is good. Hard stops do give some nose dive, even with the dampers set to full stiff. Even Porsche can't completely defeat the laws of physics.
The car definitely isn't perfect, but no car ever is. The criteria we had for the car when we ordered it -- a fast, comfortable and stylish vehicle that can also tear up a country back road and handle winter conditions and rough dirt roads -- are certainly surpassed. Well, we can't yet confirm the winter conditions part, but we'll start to be able to answer this one in 5 months' time. We had a first gen LCI X3 and traded in for the E91 in order to get some improvements in handling and styling. We then sold the E91 to make room for the Macan S. If you need a small people / stuff hauler but not a full-blown SUV, and you want the car to have a sporting characteristic, the Macan may be the ideal choice for you. As a long time fan of wagons and hot hatchbacks, I'm very happy with the product that Porsche has created here.