Want a premium compact SUV? Like driving? The Macan GTS is the one for you.
The rhythm of modern life: another Star Wars movie, another iPhone, another Porsche model with a GTS trim. This time it’s a GTS version of the Macan, Porsche’s compact SUV—a substantially refreshed version of which was launched in North America last year. And yes, the 2020 Macan GTS follows Porsche’s tried and true GTS formula, offering a carefully considered mix of performance extras at an enticing price.
It starts with the engine. The Macan GTS gets the same 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 as the range-topping Macan Turbo, but here it’s detuned slightly to deliver 375 hp and 383 lb-ft. Those outputs neatly split the difference between the 434 hp and 405 lb-ft of the Turbo’s engine and the 348 hp and 354 lb-ft of the Macan S powered by Porsche’s entry-level 3.0-liter single-turbo V-6. More important, 2020 Macan GTS buyers can feel comforted by the fact that their new car has 15 hp and 14 lb-ft more than its predecessor.
The extra grunt of course translates to extra performance. Porsche claims the 2020 Macan GTS is 0.3 second quicker to 60 mph than the old model and 3 mph (5 km/h) faster overall. And compared with the 2020 Macan S and Turbo models, the GTS’ quoted performance numbers read like they’ve been written by someone in Porsche’s marketing department.
The claimed 0–60 acceleration times of 4.7 and 4.5 seconds (with the optional Sport Chrono package) are exactly 0.4 second quicker than those quoted for the S and exactly 0.4 second slower than those quoted for the Turbo. The GTS’ 162-mph (260-km/h) top speed bests that of the S by exactly 5 mph (8 km/h) and is exactly 5 mph (8 km/h) slower than that of the Turbo.
Whatever the real numbers—and we’ll find out when we get our hands on one Stateside for a full test—the key question is whether the GTS really is the sport-focused, value-priced Macan that Porsche wants you to believe it is. The short answer is … yes.
Unsurprisingly, the 2.9-liter V-6 the GTS shares with the Macan Turbo feels more responsive than the 3.0-liter V-6 of the Macan S. That’s largely because the smaller engine has its two turbochargers mounted in the vee between the cylinder banks, dramatically reducing the distance the exhaust gasses need to travel to spool up the impellors.
Subjectively, on real-world roads, the GTS doesn’t feel that much slower than the Turbo. The Turbo’s 22 lb-ft of extra torque—across the same 1,750–5,000-rpm rev range as the GTS—helps get the top-of-the-range Macan out of corners a little more briskly, but its full 59-hp power advantage isn’t available until 5,700 rpm, well into license-busting territory.
But what really helps the Macan GTS punch above its weight against the Turbo is the chassis. In addition to Porsche’s sport exhaust and black-finished 20-inch RS Spyder Design wheels, the GTS comes standard with recalibrated dampers and air suspension that drops the ride height an inch. Lower to the ground and with better roll control, this Macan corners with more precision than any other in the lineup. Including the Turbo.
Yet despite the tauter suspension tune, the ride quality of the GTS is still very good, with impressively low levels of impact harshness and head toss evident on the indifferent back roads we encountered on the test loop in Portugal, and little tire noise, even on the optional 21-inch wheels.
Engine, exhaust, suspension, and wheels and tires: This combination of hardware is what makes the GTS the sportiest of the Macans. The rest is window dressing. As with other Porsche GTS models, the Macan GTS visuals rely heavily on black accents—the standard wheel color, the badging, the quad exhaust tips, the detailing on the front and fascias, the darkened rear light bar and black housing for the LED headlights. It’s not all gothic, however: The GTS brake calipers are painted red rather than the black found on the four-cylinder Macan and the V-6 Macan S.
Inside, the GTS comes standard with eight-way sports seats with memory function and Alcantara fabric trim on the center panel. There’s also Alcantara on the center console and door panels, and black brushed aluminum trim is also standard. A GTS-specific interior option package includes a centrally located tach painted carmine red or gray; red or gray contrast stitching on the dash, door trims and seats; the GTS logo embroidered in red or gray on the headrests; and red or gray seat belts.
The 2020 Macan GTS is expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships this summer, priced from $72,650 USD. And for the money it’s the pick of the Macan lineup. We dinged the Macan Turbo in our first drive review because it cost 40 percent more than the Macan S and was—on paper—only 20 percent quicker. The GTS confronts the same conundrum; it’s 8 percent quicker to 60 mph than the S but costs 19 percent more.
But here’s what that math doesn’t tell you: On the road the GTS sounds more exciting and feels more alert than either the mainstream Macan S or the luxury-oriented Macan Turbo. And in the context of Porsche’s pricey options list, it’s actually good value—you’d need to spend almost $80,000 USD to get an S with similar levels of standard equipment, and even then you wouldn’t get the more powerful engine, the sporty damping, and the lowered ride height that’s core to the GTS’s appeal.
More rounded and more accomplished than any of its BMW M-spec or Mercedes-AMG rivals, the 2020 Porsche Macan GTS—quick and confidently sporty, with precise steering, concise handling, and decent ride comfort—is the driver’s choice among today’s premium compact SUVs.
|2020 Porsche Macan GTS|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||2.9L/375-hp/383-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V6|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,244 lbs|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||184.5 x 76.2 x 63.0 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.5-4.7 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||Not yet tested|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||Summer 2020|