2022 Porsche Macan and Macan S First Drive Review: Still on ICE

It’s an open secret the Porsche Macan, or something very similar to it but with a different name, will eventually move to an all-electric-powered platform as early as the 2024 model year. But until then, the Macan lineup still runs on internal combustion engine power, and after spending a day burning gasoline in the newly updated 2022 Porsche Macan and its Macan S sibling, we’re happy to see Porsche keeping the EV on ICE (that’s internal combustion engine) for a while longer.

The Macan has been an unqualified success for Porsche, bringing hordes of new customers to the marque. What’s more, in the U.S. more than 35 percent of Macan buyers are female, which is far and away the highest percentage of female buyers for any of Porsche’s vehicles. So as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, make it better. Or something like that. To that end, the 2022 Porsche Macan and 2022 Porsche Macan S are more powerful, slightly more expressive, and more impressive inside than before.

Powertrain Upgrades

We spent most of our recent drive time in the standard 2022 Porsche Macan, powered by an updated version of Porsche’s 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. The reworked engine makes 261 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, improvements of 13 hp and 22 lb-ft, thanks to a new turbocharger, changes to the injection system, and overall friction improvements, among other enhancements. Porsche says the changes shaved 0.3 ticks from the outgoing Macan’s 0-60-mph time, bringing it down to 5.8 seconds with the Sport Chrono package.

This powertrain doesn’t throw you back in your seat, but the 2022 base Macan’s turbo-four, in combination with its standard all-wheel drive and seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission, was impressive enough under hard acceleration. There isn’t a lot of drama here; the Macan delivers its power in linear fashion and with relative authority whenever you decide to step on the throttle. It’s perfectly capable of any task you ask of it, be it on-ramp merging, stop-light alighting, or highway hauling.

Be advised, though: The standard Macan has its limits, so you need to go for the S if you want to truly go faster. We’re specifically talking about the 2022 Porsche Macan S, which gets the 379-hp, 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 from the 2021 Macan GTS as standard equipment, replacing the 3.0-liter V-6 in the 2021 Macan S. (Yes, the 2022 Porsche Macan GTS gets an even more powerful version of the 2.9-liter, but another staffer got a hold of that car, which you can read about here.) After a couple of laps around our test loop in the standard Macan, jumping into the Macan S felt like leaping into hyperdrive. Touching 4.4 seconds to 60 mph, it’s appreciably quicker than the standard Macan—and you feel the difference. But aside from their powerplants, the updated Macan and Macan S share much of the same hardware and can be optioned similarly.

Suspension and Brakes

Both Macans we tested came with the same PASM (adaptive) air suspension, though you now get this system as standard equipment on the S model, and both came with Porsche’s Torque Vectoring Plus technology. While a 19-inch wheel/tire package is now the base Macan’s primary footwear, you can option up to 20s or 21s (our tester came with the 20-inchers). The Macan S rolls on a base 20-inch wheel/tire setup, but you can get 21s as our test model had.

Brakes include 13.6-inch front rotors with four-piston calipers for the standard Macan, and 14.2-inch rotors with six-piston calipers for the Macan S. The same 13.0-inch rotors and single-piston rear calipers are found on each model. Both Macans are available with Porsche’s optional 14.2-inch, six-piston PCSB special-coating design, which reduces brake dust and is not to be confused with the PCCB carbon-ceramic brakes. In fact, the carbon-ceramics are no longer available for any Macan due to a copper brake pad issue that prevents Porsche from selling them in the U.S. (Also, almost no customers chose them as an option on prior Macans.)

We were more than fine with the standard Macan’s brakes. Porsche is arguably the pre-eminent automaker when it comes to hauling vehicles down from speed, and both 2022 Macans were splendid in that department. Brake-pedal feel is easy and progressive in most situations, and the brakes were suitably aggressive when we came in hot approaching the tight hairpins along our route. PSCB, PCCB, whatever they may be, the Macans slow easy and stop hard. In short, you’ll never be caught off guard when you press the whoa pedal.

Ride and Handling

The story was much the same in the ride and handling departments. Whether you’re getting mild or wild, the Macan does it all so well. In their base suspension settings, both the 2022 Macan and Macan S were compliant over rough pavement, with the air suspensions competently smoothing out the road feel. We suspect this is how many Macans will be driven, and at their softest they do a fine job of being not too jarring while maintaining a sense of what’s happening underneath you. The PASM active-suspension system is worth having, as it gives drivers the option to firm up the dampers in Sport or Sport Plus modes (the standard Macan has only a Sport option).

Saw away on the wheel, and the Macan responds with an alacrity, providing plenty of feel that gives you confidence to whip into the next lane on the highway. With the torque-vectoring setup, which also helps when you’re getting after it in a tasty set of twisties, these SUVs are notably enjoyable to drive. You won’t see a whole lot of Macan or Macan S models going bonkers at track-day events, but we’d certainly give the model the best odds of any crossover SUV in its class of finishing first in a lap-time battle.

The Other Bits

The Porsche Macan has won its share of beauty contests since it arrived in the U.S. in 2014, with its exterior style being one of the things buyers mention as a primary purchase influencer, Porsche says. Not too much has changed on the Macan and Macan S for 2022, save mostly for “enhancements” to the front fascia, which we’re not entirely sold on; it looks almost as if it’s adopted a face mask. But the rear spoiler is enlarged and reshaped, and optional rear tailpipes, combined with an updated diffuser, are super impressive. The newish overall look is more of a business up front, party in back type of thing. Porsche also expanded its Macan wheel options for 2022.

The 2022 Macan receives some changes inside, as well, most notably moving from the button-heavy center console to the smooth, haptic setup Porsche employs on some of its other more recent offerings. In addition, the gearshift stalk is chopped down a bit and reworked, the center storage area is a smidge bigger, the steering wheel is upgraded to a more recent Porsche design, and wireless Apple CarPlay is now included in the mix.

What’s all this super-fresh refresh going to set you back? The standard 2022 Porsche Macan starts at $56,250, a $2,800 upcharge over the 2021 model, with the loaded-up model we drove checking in at $85,340. The 2022 Porsche Macan S starts at $66,750, a $5,200 increase; the Macan S we tested rang in at $103,600. We suggest choosing your options wisely and get your gasoline-powered Macan while you can: In the grand scheme, it probably won’t be long before Porsche puts internal-combustion Macans on ice permanently.

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