It seems as if every other week brings a new Porsche—because it very nearly does, at least in 2021. Fresh off introductions of the Taycan Sport Turismo, the 911 GT3, and the Cayenne Turbo GT, the German brand is keeping the pressure on with the release of 2022 Macan, which is noteworthy not just for its new refinements, but for the shake-up at the top of its model range: The previous Turbo model is dead, replaced by a highly compelling, fortified Macan GTS.
Providing the heat in the GTS is the same engine that powered last year’s Turbo model, a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 rated for 434 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque, which amount to increases of 59 horses and 22 lb-ft over the previous GTS. All Macans also come standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, which combine to push the GTS into the “genuinely fun” category of athleticism and should help it mimic the Turbo’s 3.5-second sprint to 60 mph.
Being a Porsche, however, the Macan is not all about going quickly in a straight line, and that’s especially true for models wearing the GTS badge. When we drove the previous iteration of the Macan GTS, we noted that its “responsive and accurate steering seems to have been plucked right from a 718 GTS.” While that’s generally still the case—the helm remains nicely weighted and highly direct—the Macan does feel a bit shorter on feedback than we remember, as its contact patches load and unload in corners. This quibble aside, the GTS remains an impressively responsive and engaging performer, crossover or otherwise.
Opting for the $12,010 GTS Sport package also brings launch control provided by the Sport Chrono package, an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, 18-way adaptive sport seats, and blacked-out exterior details. But even the regular 2022 Macan has plenty to brag about, including retuned adaptive dampers and air springs, the latter of which situate the GTS 0.4 inch lower than lesser versions. While Porsche’s enhanced tungsten-carbide-coated brake rotors are standard on GTS models sold in the U.S., the Europe-market car we sampled in Los Angeles was equipped with the surprisingly smooth carbon-ceramic brake option that Porsche cut from the Macan’s U.S. options list for 2021 because so few people splurged for them.
But the GTS’s standard stoppers are plenty strong and match the hustle this crossover shows in corners. Far from feeling like a top-heavy SUV tuned to understeer at the first hint of lateral loads, the GTS drives like a high-riding hot hatchback. Its adaptive dampers and air springs are now 10 percent firmer in front and 15 percent firmer at the rear, helping to imbue it with impressively neutral handling.
Speaking of stiffer suspension settings, it’s fair to wonder whether the Macan GTS goes too far in this area, compromising comfort in the pursuit of chassis performance that buyers will likely never exploit. Thankfully, it doesn’t. As we learned in transitioning from the relatively smooth asphalt of Angeles Crest Highway onto the rougher, chunkier pavement of Angeles Forest Highway and Big Tujunga Canyon Road, the GTS’s drive modes have a meaningful impact on its character. There’s a noticeable difference between its Sport and Sport Plus settings, with the latter significantly enhancing the responses of the drivetrain yet allowing a bit too many road imperfections to be transmitted into the cabin. On rougher surfaces, the dampers’ softer Sport mode is definitely the way to go.
When we drove a prototype of the 2022 Porsche Macan GTS, we noted that its exterior and interior updates were rather mild. That’s still true for the production version, but the handful of revisions that have been made are effective in keeping the Macan’s look fresh. Inside, the digital instrument panel and the touch-sensitive center-console controls are now on par with Porsche’s contemporary lineup. And GTS models get additional welcome interior upgrades, including the GT sport steering wheel from the latest 911 plus Alcantara-trimmed sport seats. Three GTS Sport package–specific exterior colors (Python Green, Gentian Blue Metallic, and Papaya Metallic) ensure you’ll turn heads. As with the rest of the 2022 Macan range, the GTS benefits from technology and infotainment updates, such as a 10.9-inch touchscreen and standard wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, as well as upgrades to its Bose and Burmester audio systems. Unsurprisingly, the GTS updates result in a healthy price increase—the $81,250 base ask is $7800 more than last year’s version—but the 2022 model is still several thousand dollars cheaper than the outgoing Turbo.
Compare the behind-the-wheel vibe of the 2022 Macan GTS with that of its key competitors, the BMW X3 M and the Mercedes-AMG GLC63, and you realize it’s not really competing with them at all—the BMW and the AMG are competing with each other, while the Porsche is in a different class of driver involvement and handling precision. Factor in the updated model’s additional power and that none of its enhancements compromise its core mission as a practical compact crossover, and the new GTS is the best Macan yet.
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