Porsche’s drive toward electrification progresses in its plan to electrify half of its fleet by 2025 and make 80% of its offerings fully electric by 2030. For those counting, that’s a mere six and half years away.
The next up to get the electron treatment will be the 2025 Macan. This compact SUV, which has been in the works for years now, will be built on Porsche’s Premium Platform Electric. Developed in conjunction with Audi, this platform allows the manufacturer to easily adjust wheelbase, track width and ground clearance — all with an 800-volt architecture.
TechCrunch got an early preview of the Macan, a crossover I’ve loved even in its base ICE guise. The upshot: I was not disappointed in its driving prowess, with one or two small exceptions (ahem, where is the one-pedal driving option, Porsche?). But first, let’s get some specs out of the way.
Nuts and bolts
Porsche hasn’t released an EPA-estimated range yet, but says the little Macan can travel more than 310 miles on a single charge on the European WLTP cycle. It sports a 12-module, 100 kWh battery capable of charging at speeds up to 270 kW, but on a quick lunch-time charge the Electrify America charger pushed 294 kW for a hot second or two. The 800-volt system can be charged in 400-volt parallel at older charging stations and there is also an 11 kW onboard charger for juicing up at home.
The Macan will feature two electric motors, but much like the Taycan, power output will increase as you move up the trim line. At the tippy top expect more than 600 horsepower and over 735 pound-feet of torque with a 0-62 mile per hour time of under four seconds.
Porsche is mum on pricing, but an internal combustion engine Macan starts at around $61,000 and hits $87,000 or so for the GTS trim.
The test drive
My drive mostly took place on the twisty roads above Malibu. Popular with driving enthusiasts, motorcyclists and bicyclists, it’s a place I’ve been a few times to test vehicles.
I got the chance to sample three as-of-yet unnamed trims — although likely they’ll arrive as the Macan, Macan 4S and Macan Turbo. The joy of driving an EV in the twisties is that the instant electric torque is always there for me when I need it. There’s no waiting for a turbo or downshifting — just ease back onto the throttle mid-corner and the Macan powers out, torque vectoring doing its job to keep everything sorted and agile.
I sample Normal, Sport and Sport+ driving modes and I’m delighted by the noise the latter two make. It’s like a futuristic Jetson sound that gives audible clues as to how quick I’m scooting around the bends. It’s not intrusive though; I’m still able to chat with my passengers or listen to music, and I love it.
However, a few of my fellow journalists on the drive hated it and turned it off right away.
Regardless of manufactured noise coming into the cabin, each mode progressively tightens up steering and throttle response and firms up the dampers for optimal performance. Some may find Sport+ to be a little too firm of a ride, especially over broken or undulating pavement. There are a few sections of this back road that rattle my teeth, but the dynamics here are worth a smidge of harshness.
There are only so many ponies I can exploit in the twisties, and while the base model isn’t quite as explosive in the short straightaways the road gives me, the top trim that can really scoot in a straight line doesn’t necessarily make the corners more enjoyable. I’d definitely stick with the mid-trim here, unless your jam is straight-line speed. If that’s the case, why are you even looking at a Porsche?
With the Active Suspension Management, air suspension and two-valve dampers, the Macan is made to turn. If you want a drag strip car, wait for the all-electric Charger Banshee from Dodge.
This is the first Macan to feature rear-axle steering. At slower speeds, under 50 miles per hour or so, the rear wheels turn up to five degrees opposite the front wheels. From the driver’s seat, I can really feel the car rotating through the turns. It’s like controlled oversteer and I can dig it. I don’t get a chance for any highway driving, but at speeds over 50 miles per hour the rear wheels turn in-phase with the front for more stability.
The only quibble here is with the choice of OEM tires, and frankly we Americans have nobody to blame but ourselves. Instead of selling the Macan with a good set of sticky summer tires, the Macan comes with Continental Cross Contact all-season rubber. Sure, they are staggered at 255/45 in the front and 295/40 in the rear, but all-season tires on a Porsche is a travesty. Porsche says that’s what U.S. buyers want, even though I can feel the lack of grip through the ol’ butt-dyno. If you’re just planning on taking the kids to school and going on Costco runs, they are fine. Real drivers will want to upgrade.
No one-pedal driving
For those wishing for one-pedal driving, forget it.
While the Macan has regenerative braking, the driver has to actually push on the brake pedal. The enthusiast part of me is grateful for this feature. After all, manufacturers have taken away our manual transmissions, now they are taking away our brakes too? What, is driving now just a Disneyland ride like The Autopia?
No, Porsche wants the driver to be engaged, hence the manual brake pedal. Porsche expects the Macan to deliver similar regen capability as the Taycan, anywhere from 265 to 290 kWh of energy recuperation. In fact, 9% of the braking is from regen. Don’t worry, you’re still getting those free electrons.
It’s all fun and games on the back roads, but after spending what feels like 100 years on Pacific Coast Highway in Saturday afternoon traffic, I’m searching for a menu in the infotainment that will turn on one-pedal driving. It doesn’t exist. This is such an easy line of code for Porsche to include with the Macan to give drivers a choice, it seems cruel not to.
At first blush this compact SUV exhibits great driving dynamics, using the instant electric torque for excellent back-road performance, though I’d like the option of one-pedal driving for heavy traffic situations. Look for the little guy in dealerships in 2024.