Porsches should have their own separate Fun-O-Meter scale, because in the greater automotive landscape all Porsches would always rate a 10. If I was only rating Porsches, though, I'd preserve the sanctity of the Perfect 10 for the mightiest of the machines from Stuttgart, Germany — the ferocious 918 Spyder; the thrilling 911 Turbos, GT2s and GT3s; and maybe even the immensely satisfying Cayman S.
So here comes the new 2015 Porsche Macan Turbo, a compact crossover that just wallops the performance competition from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz with its twin-turbocharged 400-horsepower V-6; its utter gorgeousness; and its all-day, thrill-a-minute, 164-mph-top-speed personality, a.k.a. its utter Porscheness. All that, and the Macan Turbo holds a dog crate in the back. I'd give it somewhere north of an 8 among Porsches, suddenly making it that much harder for other cars to achieve a 10. (Don't ever stop trying.)
Let me try to explain. Fun is one thing, one thing I dearly love in a car, to be sure. But even I quaked at the price of our test car. A so-called "base" Macan S starts at $50,895. It, too, has a twin-turbo V-6, but it's a smaller 3.0-liter version with "only" 340 horsepower. Its performance is blistering, too, but it pales in comparison to the bigger engine. EPA fuel economy is rated at 17 city/23 highway for both, so your choice won't be about fuel economy. The base price of the Macan Turbo? $73,295. Sharp intake of breath. (Did I say it held a dog kennel?)
What you don't get for that eye-watering price is a rearview camera (it comes with the $1,460 park assist option) or a leather interior ($1,730). You also do not get another 27 options that were so lovingly piled onto our test car, taking its as-delivered price to a staggering $97,065. Insert your own dog kennel here.
Reel it back a notch and consider these options:
— Air suspension ($1,385). Both Macans come with standard all-wheel drive, which is designed to put all that power on the pavement. The Macan Turbo also comes with active suspension management, an option on the Macan S, that permanently, actively and continuously keeps the Macan's suspension steady even when you're chewing up pavement or bombing around in the dirt. The air suspension is icing on that cake.
— Torque Vectoring Plus ($1,490). Here is a direct quote from Porsche's Macan brochure: "Sports-car makers adore corners. With our technologies, we are forever fanning the flames of the relationship." That technology, friends, is what torque vectoring is all about. It's brilliant engineering that helps the Macan rotate cleanly and quickly through turns, making you feel brilliant at the wheel.
— Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus ($580), which throws a high, wide tunnel of light in front of you. When a car approaches, the Macan's brights dip until the oncoming car passes. It's your best friend on dark nights.
So what kind of a crossover is the Macan? It's not one that is especially friendly to adult-sized back-seat passengers. If you're broad of beam, the narrow, high-bolstered front seats won't like you, either. But the hatch opening is wide and tall, making it accommodating for large and oddly shaped objects. You can dial up nine inches of ground clearance via the air suspension and the off-road console button.
You may find it difficult to find that button among the dozens that line the fighter-pilot-like cockpit. Then you'll notice that most of those little buttons are controlling seats and vents. You get used to it in a flash, and they look really cool at night.
This is not a crossover for people who go antiquing. The Macan Turbo is a crossover for your midlife crisis. First, no one will realize you're having a midlife crisis. Second, by then, you may have enough money to afford one. The Macan goes like a beast unchained, its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shifts — bang, bang, bang, bang — faster than you can keep track of it, it handles like a sports car, and it stops like you hit a brick wall. You'll forget you're inside a crossover.
The only thing I didn't do was take the Macan off road. It's mud season in Michigan and I couldn't bear to see its gleaming white exterior sullied.
If I owned it, though, I'd be off like a shot into the back forty to look for spring peepers in the marsh and to scout the morel locations. But just as it's a couple months too soon for either, it's also a tad too soon for my midlife crisis.
Clearly, I need those extra months to bolster the old savings account.
Price Range: $50,895 (Macan S), $73,295-$97,065 (Macan Turbo) (prices include destination charges)
Engine: Twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6, 400 horsepower
EPA Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway
2015 Audi SQ5 $53,625
2015 BMW X3 xDrive 35i M Sport $51,350
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG $49,225
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jean Jennings is a veteran automotive journalist with three decades of experience sharing her zany take on the world of cars. She is the former editor in chief of Automobile Magazine and is a frequent on-air commentator. Visit her website at www.jeanknowscars.com.
©2015 Jean Knows Cars, LLC; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC