Gold Coast Road Trip: 2022 Porsche Macan Is Sporting In Every Sense Of The Word
Brisbane and the Gold Coast are popular destinations for Singaporean families.
Natural proving grounds for a Porsche it is not.
However, Porsche kindly offered me to have a go in the Macan over a couple of days, and it is as good a Porsche as any to tackle the day-to-day needs of driving on this sun-kissed coast. After all, urban driving really is the main remit for the car in Singapore, hardly even seeing the hint of a gravel road except for the proverbial grassy parking at football practice.
I arranged to pick up the car in Brisbane city, having planned to be in Brisbane for a couple of days. But top tip, you may quickly realise that it is far, far nicer to be based in the Gold Coast. Brisbane, I think, lacks a little soul to me, and the locals seem to echo the same sentiment when I bring it up. Its mind-boggling underpasses and motorway exits were also nerve-wrecking while I tried to find my way to Porsche Centre Brisbane.
Once acquainted with the lovely Porsches on display while waiting for the Macan, I finally collected the keys and was about to begin my journey. However, knowing the strict rules in Australia about mobile phone use, I wanted to get my phone connected, pronto. It’s no hardship to do it wirelessly on the infotainment system (5th gen PCM), first introduced to the Panamera and then filtered down to other models. However, it’s a stretch to call it a cinch too. There are many menus and little buttons that hint of German obsessive attention to detail, but I am sure it would appeal to a certain type of customer that would be drawn to Porsche, anyway. As of writing, I tried the 6th gen PCM in Europe and it worked far better. Kudos, Porsche.
Connecting via wire is a little more complicated though. All good if you have a genuine USB-C cable. But if you’ve got the old USB style cables and try to use an adaptor, it simply won’t read or even charge your phone. The only thing that works is an actual direct USB-C cable, so make sure you got this if you know you’re getting a car with USB-C ports.
I didn’t have the suitable cables, so I resorted to finding the cigarette lighter port. However, it was nowhere to be found! I had to rely on Google which then revealed the answer from a Porsche forum that the port is hidden below a small rubber mat in the centre console. I certainly never found another car that concealed its cigarette lighter port quite so well.
Once I got navigation sorted, it was time to really get close and comfortable with the Macan. The test car has a familiar 2.0-litre I4 petrol engine, good for 245 hp and 370 Nm. It has more low-end torque than I last recalled and surprisingly good efficiency on our drive (more on that later). It is an engine free of any vices but also could do more with having more character. For the purposes of this drive though, the engine is more than capable.
It was my son’s first time in Australia, and I’m really glad he experienced the Gold Coast as his first taste of the country. We lined up many family-friendly activities like visiting Sea World, Currumbin Wildlife Park and The Workshops Rail Museum. Although going to these places meant a lot of start-stop traffic and strict (& low) speed limits, the Macan took all of these in its stride. In fact, it excelled, other than rear passengers wishing for more legroom and shoulder room because 2 adults and a child (with his huge child seat) had to compete for space at the back.
I made sure to squeeze in some time for a longer spirited drive. While the wife went to do her hair, I had 3 hours to play with. Well, what else to do than to head up Mount Tamborine? Time wasn’t on my side as it was getting dark but I took the chance anyway. As I climbed higher and higher, traffic thinned and I was able to drive the Macan more spiritedly.
Damping was spot on - firm enough for driver thrills, but compliant enough that the family doesn’t raise an eyebrow. As a result, handling is superb and this was made even more apparent jumping into another SUV next. The Macan handles like a much lower slung car.
The PDK gearbox also hardly put a foot wrong. It knew how to handle the urban grind, yet could handle the urgent shifts without drama. The perfect gearbox really, just like in its 2-door sports car cousins.
On the 2nd last day, we took a motorway drive down to Byron Bay and it helped consolidate my thoughts about the Macan. It’s not the first time I’ve driven the Macan, having sampled both the base car and the Macan S in Singapore albeit for a shorter time. This longer loan made me realise how easy the Macan is to live with, while being far, far sharper than other SUVs behind the wheel.
For a chassis that has been in the market for a couple of years now, the Macan continues to impress. Also, it achieved 8.3 L/100 km on the whole road trip of some 1000 km. That’s really good for a sporting SUV.
If you need more soul and poke, I think the Macan S would be a better pick, especially since it now has the stellar 2.9-litre V6. But if your commute is mostly urban, the base Macan works just fine. Pretty fine, actually.
Credits: Text and Photos by James Wong