Testing out the new Porsche Macan 4 and Turbo EVs in the South of France

The Stuttgart carmaker is picking up speed on electromobility and doing so superlatively.

The Macan 4 in Provence and Macan Turbo in Ice Grey Metallic (All photos: Porsche)

While cruising down the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, in the heart of the French Riviera, the azure Mediterranean Sea stretched as far as the eye could see. The spring weather, balmy and clement, made it a crime not to slide the windows down. In poured the chatter from the café terraces, the cry of seagulls overhead and the distant murmur of the ocean waves — soaked in without the sonic intrusion of a gravelly engine.

Since its launch 10 years ago, the Porsche Macan is well-loved among SUV enthusiasts, and for good reason. Accounting for about half of the brand’s sales around the world, the Macan clings tightly to the title as the German marque’s top-selling model.

The luxury compact SUV is both beauty and beast, designed to offer everyday practicality in suave style while providing the pure sports car ride Porsche is renowned for. The formula is tried and true, so it made sense to build the second-generation model on that success. And as innovation is the way forward, the challenge (and expectation) of the next Macan was instituting new values while retaining the soul of a quintessential Porsche.

It is part of the reason Porsche is picking up speed on electromobility. Remember: The Stuttgart manufacturer is aiming for more than 80% of its new car deliveries to be fully electric models by 2030. A closer goal: More than half of all new vehicles sold have to be electric — either fully or as plug-in hybrids — by next year. Converting its most commercially successful model is its best bet to achieve this.


The launch colour of the Macan 4, Provence, is a dreamy and alluring muted lavender that softens the overall look of the car

Motorheads loyal to the emotional roar of a traditional internal combustion engine may lament the “loss” of yet another one of their favourites entering the “dark” side, but EVs hold their own unique appeal without sacrificing the essential markers of a good car.

After rolling up the windows and entering the highway, it was a smooth and easy cruise to the glamorous escarpment of Monte Carlo. The new Macan 4 boasts sharper and sportier proportions, including a flat front bonnet, pronounced wings and the classic Porsche flyline. Strong shoulders give the rear — belted with a sculptural 3D light strip — a muscular stance. And with a drag coefficient of 0.25, it is currently one of the most streamlined SUVs on the market.

The launch colour of the Macan 4, Provence, is a dreamy and alluring muted lavender that softens the overall look of the car, bestowing it with an air of refinement that suitably complements the soigné, sumptuous and seriously moneyed scene in Monaco. After meandering around the city’s opulent landmark casino, we enter its famously known street circuit. At the time, preparations were underway for Formula E and Formula One, but about 95% of Circuit de Monaco, with all its tight corners, elevated roads and hairpins, was still unblocked for public use. We were, of course, required to adhere to the speed limit, but solely being on the track itself felt like a successful pilgrimage to a holy place. Several laps were warranted, naturally.

The second-generation Macan is the first model from Porsche to be based on the highly anticipated Premium Platform Electric, or PPE (please try to dispel thoughts of Covid-19 protective gear for now), a purely electric architecture developed jointly with Audi. This platform was built with some flexibility in mind in terms of package and spaciousness, allowing room for modifications in the wheelbase, track width and ground clearance, so it can be used to realise a variety of models, including in different segments.


The Macan Turbo devoured the legendary roads winding up the French alps with explosive performance

Designed for long-lasting sportiness and high efficiency, the PPE comprises an 800-volt architecture that allows an WLTP range of up to 613km; so, running out of juice was the least of our worries. When needed, however, the new Macan has a DC charging power of up to 270kW and can be charged from 10% to 80% in around 20 minutes or 250km in 10 minutes. Not too far behind, the combined WLTP range for the Macan Turbo is up to 591km. While the Macan 4 accelerates from 0 to 100kph in 5.2 seconds, the Turbo does so in just 3.3 seconds. Top speed is 200kph and 260kph respectively while maximum torque is 650Nm and 1,130Nm.

Both have all-wheel drive governed by the selected driving programme and, for the first time, the Macan has optional rear-axle steering. With a maximum angle of 5° and a compact turning circle of 11.1m, this makes manoeuvring easier while simultaneously enabling exceptional driving stability at higher speeds.

On a jaunt to the Col de Turini mountain pass, one of the most renowned stages for racing in the world, the Macan Turbo devoured the legendary roads winding up the French alps with explosive performance. The rear-wheel steering resulted in responsive turns when cornering, tackling tricky (and nausea-inducing) hairpins with flair. After enjoying the view and taking photos of the vast collection of memorabilia from the Monte Carlo Rally at the Hôtel les Trois Vallées, we drove down the rollercoaster hill.

According to Porsche, up to 240kW can be recuperated in the Macan, depending on how much you press the brakes, among other factors. Impressively, up to 98% of the total braking energy can be recovered in everyday use, which further boosts efficiency and range. So, technically, it is safe to say that if the car is used mostly for in-city driving, tracking 700km on a single charge is more than possible.


Special display technology completely conceals the second screen from the driver so there are no unnecessary distractions

Inside the cabin, luxurious trims provide optimal comfort. Modern digital interfaces are featured side-by-side with analogue controls — striking a sweet balance that enhances usability. For the first time, passengers can also view information, adjust infotainment settings, browse media apps and stream video content on their own optional 10.9in screen. And the best part? Special display technology completely conceals this second screen from the driver so there are no unnecessary distractions.

Another first is the head-up display with augmented reality technology. Navigation instructions are projected seamlessly into real-world surroundings with pinpoint accuracy, ensuring you take the correct turn even if the road divides into multiple lanes. In terms of storage, the luggage compartment can increase from 540li to 1,348li with the rear seats folded. And yes, there is a frunk. You get 84li there, sufficient for smaller bags or the charging equipment.

The electrified Macans herald the beginning of several new Porsche innovations that actually add concrete value to the overall driving experience. Fast, sleek, silent, smart and highly practical, it is an incredibly competent all-rounder deserving of the Stuttgart crest.


This article first appeared on May 13, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.

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