GTS will hit 100km/h in 5.0 seconds with Sport Chrono package (5.2 without)

GTS will hit 100km/h in 5.0 seconds with Sport Chrono package (5.2 without)

The F-PACE is now Jaguar's best seller, a new Audi Q5 will soon be in showrooms and Alfa Romeo has just revealed the Stelvio with claims that it has better handling than Porsche's smallest SUV. Can the Macan maintain its segment leadership?

As the quality of the competition ratchets up, Porsche has been doing what it always does: adding variants to an in-demand model's line-up, the idea being to make the car even more desirable. Has it worked? Well, worldwide deliveries of what has to be XL-margin vehicle numbered 71,086 during the first three quarters of CY2016, so I'd say that's a yes.

As of February, the Macan will have been in production for three years so in theory, build should peak in 2017. Yet the way SUVs of this size are selling worldwide, this could become one of those vehicles which just keeps on ratcheting up and up, in the way that the now eight-year old XC60 did until 2016. Porsche certainly wouldn't make the big mistake of extending a model's lifecycle into a ninth year as Volvo has done. Instead, it would keep adding and replacing derivatives year in, year out, and bring the next generation model to market after seven years.

There have been all manner of additional Macans announced over the last thirty or so months. One of the more recent of those is the GTS. It was a world premiere at the Tokyo motor show in October 2015, going on sale immediately afterwards. 

The GTS isn't the top-spec Macan - but it does come with a version of the Turbo's 2,997cc V6. Priced from GBP55,188, it sits in the range above the GBP43,553 base version and the S/S Diesel (each priced at a few quid below forty six thousand pounds). The Turbo costs GB62,540 or with the Performance Pack, this becomes GBP68,073.

It won't quite send you into Warp Speed, but for most of us, the GTS' 265kW/360hp biturbo V6 offers more than enough of a shove in the back at take-off. Especially when you see that torque is 500Nm. 

The twin-turbocharged engine is the same as the one in the S but has had modifications to release an additional 20 horsepower. These consist of a reworked air intake tract, reduced exhaust system back-pressure and the lifting of turbocharger boost to 1.2 bar (+0.2 bar). The additional 40Nm of torque is delivered between 1,650 and 4,000rpm.

Zero to 62mph takes an official 5.2 seconds and top speed is 159mph. CO2 isn't too bad either, at 207-215g/km depending on what size wheels and tyres your car has. Don't worry about stopping power. The GTS has the same 360mm front and 330mm rear brake discs as those on the Turbo. These are VERY effective.

The EC's testers reckon the GTS will average between 30.7 and 32.1mpg on the Combined cycle. I don't think they were enjoying themselves that day as the best I got was in the mid-twenties. You could see mid-thirties but really, that's missing the point of this car, unless you spend a lot of time on motorways, in which case, low 30s is realistic. 

So, what's to love? Well, it sounds sounds fantastic and I wouldn't call it overly pricey either, given how fast and seldom seen it is. The car lent to me had a suede steering wheel cover which felt very cosy. There were also grippy alcantara and leather covered seats and a headliner made from neoprene - all very cool and expensive looking.

Right in front of the driver sits a big red rev counter containing the letters GTS and reading to 175mph. There are multiple buttons flanking the gear selector lever and though I counted 24, there were still 5 blanks. To that total, add a further seven press-switches for the HVAC controls in front of the gear lever, plus the hazards switch is there too.

Porsche really likes abbreviations so here's one that's been around for a while, but there's news regarding it. The GTS is the first Macan to be fitted with the latest generation of PCM, which stands for Porsche Communication Management. Say what? It's the infotainment system.

The top of the dashboard in the Guards Red press car was covered in leather and trimmed with red double stitching. There was also the contrast of what looked like glossy carbonfibre panelling on the dash and across the tops of the doors, as well as red seat belts and the same shade of stitching on the seats and flip-up centre console box's lid. It might sound a bit much but I didn't think so. Not even the GTS in red thread on all four of the five head restraints.

In the back seats it's roomy but, unforgivably, knees won't like the hard plastic they will be in contact with. Worse still, your friends' or family members' eyes will go immediately to the snap-on plastic covers on the backs of the head restraints. These are where the optional screens would be. Yes, Porsche sometimes rubs your nose in the fact that you said no thanks to certain options or accessories.

Some cool touches include the ability to raise or lower the optional pneumatic suspension via switches inside the boot, while the tailgate can be opened and closed via one of three ways: a switch on the driver's door, one on the key fob or a hidden one on the base of the screen wiper.

I didn't get the opportunity to take the Macan into mud but if that's something you might want to do, rest assured it's going to be as good as if not better than an Evoque on all manner of slippery surfaces. Just remember to press the OFF ROAD button on the centre console first. It's close to the one marked SPORT, which firms up the suspension. 

Compared to the Macan, Macan S and Macan S Diesel, the GTS sits 15mm closer to the road. This is part of PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), a standard feature. Settings it offers Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus. Even SP, which keen drivers will want to use as often as possible, didn't give too harsh a ride. And that was also on 20" rims. 

The only transmission for the GTS is Porsche's own twin-clutch seven-speed automatic gearbox (PDK). You can use either the gear selector or paddles behind the steering wheel. Drive to the axles is sent after millisecond consultations with PTM (Porsche Traction Management). This electronically controlled multi-plate clutch systems sends torque primarily to the rear wheels, with the split to the front axle calculated via a range of parameters. That OFF ROAD button I mentioned before will switch all relevant systems to a mode which ensures traction is paramount.

The red car I tried out looked perfect to my eyes, especially with the big Spyder wheels. Yes, these do look a lot like the alloys from the 918 Spyder and somehow they suit the Macan even better than they did that hypercar. The GTS has the Sport Design package as standard, but with some details finished in matte black, while the trim parts above the car's waistline are gloss black.

For this writer, there is no contest between the GTS and its would-be rivals, particularly when you see how fairly - for a Porsche - the pricing is. The lighweight doors somehow thunk like those on a 1980s German saloon, and things such as the glovebox close as though they have been designed to align properly for 50 years or more. What's more, there is none of that shiny pretend-chrome which you find covering the plastic interior door handles of allegedly premium models such as the Volvo XC60. The XC90 isn't any better either. These. Things. Matter.

As mentioned in my recent model-by-model deep dive into the Porsche range, including a piercing peer into the future, this company needs only to take Dory's advice. Just keep swimming. It's already going to smash its goal of 200,000 vehicle deliveries fully two years ahead of schedule in five weeks' time. The only problem the firm really has will be making sure that it doesn't become tempted to cheapen the engineering of its vehicles as it heads towards the inevitable and eventual annual build of 500,000 vehicles in the 2020s.

What's ahead?

A facelifted range is due out in 2017, probably during the second or third quarters. There should also be some changes to the engine line-up, including more power, and a four-cylinder petrol PHEV powertrain will likely become available.

The second generation Macan is expected to be introduced in early 2021. As is the case with the current model, all build should be at the Leipzig plant in eastern Germany. Expect a fully electric version of this car.