Porsche Macan 2.0 PDK: Porsche’s little junior

When the Porsche Macan was first launched, few could anticipate that the German marque would release a baby version of it. After all, the variants of the Turbo, the S, and the S Diesel all had plants that were more than 3 litres under its hood.

That is why the Macan 2.0 PDK raised eyebrows when it first debuted last year. Yes, the design possibly wins it the most appealing in its luxury and sports compact SUV category, but does it drive and handle as well as its higher-performance siblings?

The team at Revvvolution took a drive in the 2.0 PDK and find out.

Exterior

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Designed to resemble a baby Cayenne, the Macan does pack a striking resemblance to the German automobile’s flagship SUV. For the uninformed, we wouldn’t fault you for mistaking the Macan (especially a white one) as a Cayenne, unless you park them both side by side.

The 2.0 PDK looks exactly the same as its higher performance siblings, less the rear facade where you get presented with twin exhaust pipes rather than quad ones found on the Turbo and the S. The front air scoop adds on to the aggressiveness of the Macan, complimented with four strong point LED daytime running lights, first available on the 918 Spyder.

Measuring over 4.6 metres in length and 1.6 metres tall, the Macan presents a reasonable profile for the ordinary family man seeking the extraordinary. It’s not too tall to climb on board, neither is it too long to manoeuvre the car around in tight parking lots.

Aesthetically wise, it stands out in its class as we mentioned earlier, beating all the other conventional designs of its competitors such as the Audi Q3 and the BMW X3. Some say the Evoque looks more appealing, but for a team who loves profile curves, we dare say the Macan won our hearts among all the other line-ups. Not to mention you get a Porsche badge smacked right in front of your hood.

Interior

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Despite the 2.0 PDK being a base model in the Porsche family, it was equipped surprisingly well, befitting enough to feel like any other of its siblings. Slide in and you are greeted with an interior wrapped over with cow-hide, complimented with aluminium trimmings that provide a reasonable contrast.

Up front, Porsche presents you with the all-familiar centre console, housing a 7” Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen infotainment system, allowing you the fun of Bluetooth connectivity, audio and media controls, satellite navigation, as well as your reverse camera.

If there’s one grouse we have about Porsche, it’s the myriad of small buttons the marque provides for different functions in the car. Above the gear level, you find an array of close to 20 buttons controlling the climate settings, extremely unnecessary but yet adds to the complex setting of a supercar.

The aircraft-panel lookalike centre console (in our opinion) also houses buttons for different functions such the electronic parking brake, Sport mode driving, dynamic stability control, as well as an interesting Off-Road button.

Seats in the Macan also prove to be more comfortable than we expected, with the driver closer to the ground compared to other SUVs in its class. Doesn’t really feel like an off-roader in that position, we thought, but no complains given the familiarity of this height similar to other sedans on the road.

At the rear, passengers are treated to their own climate control and air-conditioning vents. No digital temperature gauges for you to meddle with, but rather, a knob that allows you to select the temperature settings based on colour coding. More blue stripes for colder temperatures, and red for the opposite if you’re shivering.

Over at the boot, the Macan provides a reasonable 500 litre worth of boot space despite its compact size as an SUV. To us, it was the perfect size for a family man with his work briefcase, baby bags, and a stroller in tow. If you need more space, knock down the rear seats and the Macan presents you with up to 1,500 litres of luggage capacity.

The Drive

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A notable point for the 2.0 PDK is the fact that the car shares the same plant under its hood as the Volkswagen Golf R. Yes, it’s slightly detuned, and it’s not as roaring or aggressive as the R. But it still puts out 237 bhp and gives you 350 Nm of torque, sufficient enough to propel you off from the lights way ahead of most cars.

Mated to a seven-speed PDK transmission gearbox, the ride on the 2.0 PDK feels almost as smooth as that you would expect in any mid-range luxury sedan. The steering feels sharp and responsive, and the fixed dampers cushioned off any major bumps that we encountered during our drive.

Notwithstanding minor unevenness on the roads, the 2.0 PDK’s firm suspension meant that there was minimal body roll even when pushing the car hard around the bends. Weighing 1.7 tonnes, it still is lighter than some of its competitors, thus the more sprinty and responsive ride.

Compared to its more powerful siblings (the Turbo and the S), the 2.0 PDK definitely lags behind in terms of power and acceleration. Its century sprint of 6.9 seconds is a whole 2.1 seconds slower than the Turbo variant, and 1.5 slower than its S sibling, but it still is remarkable for a car that weighs close to 1.7 tonnes.

Conclusion

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So with the above in mind, the next question would be: if it’s that responsive and has the handling ability of its siblings, why would you consider the Turbo or the S when you can get this at a much cheaper price?

Less the enhanced performance and handling ability, we thought that the 2.0 PDK makes a wonderful ride for those who are easily contended. It stands on par with its higher-end siblings in terms of looks, provides almost the same features as them, and handles almost as well as what you’d get on both the Turbo and the S variants.

But if you’re still seeking for that adrenaline rush, or have no tolerance for split-second lags and sluggishness, perhaps the S variant (the more popular one locally) might be a better choice for you.

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