We drove an $81,000 Porsche Macan GTS to see if it’s a sports car in an SUV body — here’s the verdict

Our 2018 Porsche Macan GTS test car.

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Our 2018 Porsche Macan GTS test car.
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Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • The Porsche Macan GTS is one of the six versions of the Macan compact SUVs available in the US.
  • The GTS sits in the middle of the Macan line up. It slots in above the Macan, Macan S, and Macan Sport Edition but below the Macan Turbo and Turbo with Performance Package models.
  • The base 2018 Porsche Macan starts at $47,800 while the top-spec Macan Turbo with Performance Package starts at $87,700.
  • The Macan GTS starts at $68,900. With options and fees, the as-tested price came to $81,310.
  • The Macan GTS impressed with us with its traditional Porsche sporty demeanor and solid feature content.

The Porsche Macan is one of the great automotive success stories in recent memory. The Macan is Porsche’s best selling model and accounted for 39% of the German brand’s US sales last year. In fact, the only thing keeping the Macan’s sales growth in check is the pace at which Porsche can churn the SUVs out at its factory in Leipzig, Germany.

At the 2018 Paris Motor Show, Porsche launched an updated version of its hot-selling SUV. However, that car won’t appear in US showrooms until the middle of next year. In addition, the only variant of the “new” Macan we’ve seen is the base model with a turbocharged inline four-cylinder.

As a result, higher performance versions of the current Macan will remain on sale even after the new Macan debuts.

This brings us to the Macan GTS. It sits in the middle of the Macan line up in terms of price and performance.

The Porsche Macan can be had in six different flavors. They range from the relatively tame four-cylinder base Macan to the top of the line Macan Turbo with Performance Package, which boasts a stout 440 horsepower.

In between, there’s the Macan S, Macan Sport Edition, Macan GTS, and Macan Turbo.

Recently, Business Insider had the chance to experience the 2018 Macan GTS first-hand road trip from Jacksonville, Florida to Savannah, Georgia.

The base Porsche Macan starts at $47,800 while the Macan Turbo with Performance Package starts at $87,700. Our Carrera White Metallic 2018 Porsche Macan GTS starts at $68,900. With options and fees, the as-tested price came to $81,310.

Here’s a closer look:


The Macan is one of the most successful compact luxury crossovers on the market. Since its debut for the 2015 model year, the Macan has become Porsche’s most popular model.

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Recently we took a 2018 Porsche Macan GTS on a road trip from Jacksonville, Florida to Savannah, Georgia.

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The road from Jacksonville to Savannah consisted mostly of highway driving. Although there were a few winding country roads to keep things interesting.

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The GTS is a performance-minded, mid-grade model that slots in between the Macan S and…

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… The high-priced Macan Turbo and Turbo with Performance Package models.

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Aesthetically, the Macan carries a strong dose of Porsche styling DNA.

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As with every Porsche, it has to look sort of like a 911.

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Fortunately, the Porsche look shows well on the Macan.

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The compact crossover looks stylish and athletic. Its low-slung, aggressive stance screams dynamic driving machine much more so than a high-priced luxury SUV.

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Again. Undeniably Porsche.

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The Macan’s interior is standard Porsche and one you’ll likely recognize if you’ve set foot in any of the brand’s recent models.

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In the Macan, the cabin is all about business. It’s function over form. There are few frills to be found here.

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As evidenced by the button-laden center console. What may initially feel like an intimidating hodgepodge of switchgear is actually a very intuitively organized control panel.

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The panel is designed so that all of its features are easily accessible and within arm’s reach.

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Overall, the power-adjusted leather and suede seats were comfortable and supportive. However, the seat bolstering proved to bit more aggressive than I would have liked.

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The GTS stitching on the headrests are a nice touch while the panoramic roof flooded the cabin with natural light.

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As with every Porsche, the tachometer is front and center in the gauge cluster.

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To the right of the tachometer, there’s a configurable digital readout.

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The Macan is equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen running the brand’s PCM infotainment system.

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PCM is also tasked with controlling the Macan’s 14-speaker, 665-watt Bose Surround Sound system.

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For the most part, PCM, or Porsche Communication Management, is a solid infotainment system. Its overall layout, although a bit dull in design, is logically organized and easy to learn.

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Our test car came equipped with a built-in navigation system. It’s a $1,780 option. The system was easy to use and gave clear concise directions. However, the graphics felt a bit low quality.

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In addition, the Macan is equipped with Apple CarPlay integration. With Google Maps now in play, the built-in navigation option feels redundant.

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The rear cabin offers sufficient room for two adults. I didn’t have any issues, but those taller than six feet may find headroom to be a tad tight.

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Open up the rear hatch …

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… and you’ll find 17.7 cubic feet of cargo room. With the second row of seats folded down, cargo capacity expands to 53 cubic feet.

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On the way, we stopped for some boiled peanuts. It’s a southern delicacy we’ve had to do without living in New Jersey.

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There are so many of them!

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We completed the 140-mile drive in a brisk two-hours. The Macan GTS and its twin-turbo V6 symphony certainly made things more interesting.

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Under the clamshell hood, lies a 3.0 liter, twin-turbocharged V6. It’s the same engine found in the Macan S but with 20 additional ponies that push horsepower output to 360.

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The base Macan and Macan Sport Edition are powered by a VW Group-sourced 2.0-liter, 252 horsepower, turbocharged inline-four-cylinder engine. Step up a tier to the Macan S and you get 340 horsepower.

In the Macan Turbo, you’ll find a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V6 that puts out a stout 400 horsepower. With the Performance Package, Porsche ups the output 10% to 440 ponies.


All versions of the Macan are equipped with a seven-speed Porsche double-clutch or PDK transmission feeding power to all four wheels.

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The Macan cruised comfortably around Savannah’s tree-lined streets.

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Here’s a look at the Porsche in the Garden of Good and Evil.

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According to Porsche, the Macan GTS can hit 0-60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 159 mph.

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What’s it like to drive?

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The 2018 Macan Turbo with Performance Package we reviewed earlier this year is the best driving crossover SUV we’ve ever tested. But Macan GTS isn’t far off.

The decidedly flat coastal terrain wasn’t quite as exciting of a setting as rural New Jersey, but there were enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.

In our review of the Macan Turbo, we said:

“To drive, the Macan can best be described as confidence inspiring. While most SUVs do their best to “handle” the corners, the Macan prefers to attack them aggressively. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you are in a 4,200-pound SUV and not a two-seat sports car.”

The same goes for the GTS.

In addition, the Macan is one of the few SUVs where you can get the rear end to step out in a controlled manner. Its active all-wheel-drive system is rear-biased and normally sends 95% of the power to the back wheels.


The verdict.

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The Porsche Macan GTS is a happy medium between everyday usefulness and track-focused performance.

Earlier this year, we got the chance to check the top-of-the-line Macan Turbo with Performance Package. The Turbo was an absolute beast of an SUV with a top speed of 169 mph. However, at more than $96,000, we found it to be quite a pricey proposition.

Traditionally, our Macan variant of choice is the more tame Macan S. With 340 horsepower on tap from a 3.0 liter, turbo six-cylinder, the Macan S delivers a slightly watered down version of the Performance Package experience, but for $30,000 less.

Here’s where the Macan GTS enters the fray. In Porsche’s lineup, the GTS variant of every model is traditionally a “performance value package” of sorts. It’s no different here.

The Macan GTS is based on the Macan S but with a slew of styling and performance extras such as a sports exhaust, air suspension, RS Spyder wheels, the Sport Design Package, and the Leather Package with Alcantara all included as standard. Altogether, the GTS package saves the buyer nearly $4,000 when compared to the cost of adding these features a la carte on a Macan S. And then there’s the 20 extra horsepower.

The 2018 Porsche Macan GTS reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. If the Macan Turbo is too pricey and the Macan S just doesn’t have enough go-fast goodies, then the Macan GTS is the happy place right in the middle.