The 2022 Porsche Macan GTS Is a Jack of All Trades

It's an SUV that's also practically a sports car.

porsche macan gts
Will Sabel Courtney

Odds are good you'd never heard the term "macan" before 2014 or so. Before Porsche chose the term to be the name of its second, smaller SUV, it was the sort of term unlikely for most of us to come across; after all, the Malay name for "tiger" probably doesn't come up too often, unless you live in Indonesia or have family from there who was obsessed with Joe Exotic and wouldn't shut up about him during those early 2020 Zoom sessions.

In the last eight years, however, Macan has become a familiar term in well-off neighborhoods around America. It's become Porsche's best seller here by a country mile, moving, on average, around 20,000 units per year. Part of that is, well, it's the most affordable way to buy a new car with a Porsche badge on the hood; part of it is also that it's an approachable luxury crossover SUV in a world that can't seem to get enough of approachable luxury crossover SUVs.

And while the next-generation Macan is due to be the next step in Porsche's slow-and-steady climb to an all-electric future, the gang in Zuffenhausen hasn't given up on the existing gas-powered model yet. For the 2022 model year, the Macan line received a subtle yet comprehensive refresh, one that brought a new variant to the top of the tree: the Macan GTS.

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The Macan GTS hits the sweet spot of performance
porsche macan gts
Will Sabel Courtney

The Macan may no longer boast a Turbo version amongst its ranks— that version was axed as part of the latest refresh — but the GTS certainly doesn't disappoint as the top performer of the lineup. Its 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 spits out 434 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque, all of which is shunted to all four wheels through a dual-clutch gearbox that changes gears all but instantaneously on its way to all four wheels. Compared with, say, a 911 Turbo S, that may not seem like a lot, but again, this isn't a sports car; it's a vehicle the size and shape of a Honda CR-V.

(Also, for what it's worth, the Macan GTS is the most affordable way to score more than 400 horsepower in a new Porsche. Make of that what you will.)

porsche macan gts
Will Sabel Courtney

To truly unlock everything the Macan GTS has to offer, you'll want to dial up Sport mode. With the suspension locked into its stiffest setting and the gearbox taking a vested interest in keeping the revs close to the peak of the powerband, it reacts...well, if not like a 718, then at least like a killer hot hatch or sport sedan.

Thanks to its razor-sharp reflexes — the quickness of the steering, the immediacy of the twin-turbo V6 when it's on the boil, the bite of the brakes as you hit them hard to bleed off speed for a corner, what feels like a preternatural lack of body roll when you dive through said corner — the Macan GTS really does drive with an enthusiasm not found in most cars, let alone SUVs. It may share pieces of its skeleton with the likes of the old Audi Q5, but this Porsche does indeed drive like a Porsche in all the best ways.

Inside, this Porsche is very Porsche
porsche macan gts
Will Sabel Courtney

Porsche's interiors never stray far from one another, in terms of design; no matter which car you choose today, you can expect a big centrally-mounted tachometer with other gauges on either side, a three-pronged steering wheel, a crisp, colorful touchscreen display above a bunch of buttons and an ignition switch on the left-hand side of the wheel.

Even after its latest revamp, the Macan's guts remain the least-modernized of the current Porsche lineup, the 992-generation 911 and the Taycan seem a half-gen further in the future than this car. And admittedly, some of the changes seem less like improvements and more like cost-saving measures; the haptic glass touch panel of "buttons" surrounding the shifter is a usability step backwards from the old hard buttons, which were easier to use without peeking.

Still, there's no complaining about the tightness and quality of the interior; as with all new Porsches, everything feels well-made in the way an expensive car should feel. And there are still plenty of details to appreciate; it may seem excessive to efficiency-minded German engineers who would argue that a tiny toggle is all you need to manipulate an electronically-controlled gearbox, but there's just something satisfying about the handfeel of the shift lever between the seats.

Of course, the Macan GTS's capabilities don't come cheap
porsche macan gts
Will Sabel Courtney

Porsches are expensive; in other news, water is wet, more at 11. But it's one thing to see a lofty price on a sports car; it's another altogether to see an SUV the size of a Ford Escape with a price closing in on six figures. For all its capability, the Macan GTS is equal to the likes of any other compact crossover in regards to the daily tasks of life.

That said, it will make those tasks far more fun. Sure, you could have a basic Boxster and a Toyota RAV4 for the same money, but then you're paying more for insurance, more for maintenance, and so forth. You could spend the same chunk of dough on a GMC Yukon Denali or Lincoln Navigator and have far more usable space — but you'd be driving a truck, and have the fuel bills to match.

If you have the cash to park the Macan GTS in your garage, but only one space in there, and a need for a high-riding crossover over the likes of, say, a Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing or a base Panamera — I'd say it's worth it.

2022 Porsche Macan GTS
porsche macan gts
Will Sabel Courtney

Base Price / Price as Tested: $81,250 / $95,180

Powertrain: 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6; seven-speed dual-clutch automatic; all-wheel-drive

Horsepower: 434

Torque: 405 lb-ft

EPA Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway

Seats: Four comfortably, five in a pinch

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