Porsche’s mini-SUV Macan is very good – just don’t mistake it for a sports car

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Porsche’s first baby SUV is very good – but just don’t mistake it for a full-blown sports car. Most buyers will choose the 254bhp diesel but even our range-topping Turbo S with 400bhp doesn’t quite serve up the thrills of a standard issue 911, or a Boxster for that matter.

Part of the problem stems from the fact the Macan weighs almost two tons. It will amaze you with its cornering abilities but just misses out on the major fun factor that Porsche buyers expect.

We wave auf wiedersehen to the Macan today, knowing demand for the car is so strong that Porsche simply can’t make enough. Which is another reason why premium brand rivals like Bentley are urgently preparing to join the market with their own upmarket SUVs.

It’ll be interesting to see who holds the ultimate SUV crown this time next year. For now, the Macan Turbo is just about the best sports utility vehicle a huge amount of money can buy…

The Porsche Macan Turbo may look an aggressive beast but it’s easy to live with on a daily basis too

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Motoring writers don’t like to admit it but there comes a time towards the end of a test that you start to be more conscious about conserving fuel. That’s because each car comes with  full tank and (a) you are too mean to want to top up or (b) you live where I am and filling stations are few and far between.

I’ve known some ‘hackers’ who run the tank down to empty, which seems especially mean on the poor chap who has to collect the car and drive it back to HQ.

I still have two bars left in the Macan’s tank but living miles from a fuel pump, I’ve just returned from Bourton-on-the-Water driving the Porsche in ‘sensible’ mode. And for all the roar of the four tailpipes, the whopping wheels and 400bhp of grunt, the Macan can be a docile beast when required.

In fact, it feel more comfortable used as an everyday tool than a sporting machine across country. I’m surprised – I thought this Turbo model would demand to be driven hard all day, every day. I’m also hugely impressed. The Macan Turbo may not be as frugal as the diesel version but it’s just as easy to live with…

Nissan set to join Porsche in the high performance SUV market with a Juke Nismo RS

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Are we about to experience a rash of high performance mini SUVs? Nissan today revealed details of the new Juke Nismo RS at Geneva Motor Show – a budget busting rival for this week’s test car, the Porsche Macan.

Now, I can’t say many Porsche buyers would opt for the Nissan badge over Stuttgart’s finest but today’s announcement does suggest other manufacturers might follow suit.

There are already offerings from premium brands like Audi, BMW and Land Rover but Nissan’s move will bring serious performance to a whole new sector.

The rise of the mini SUV seems set to continue then, with our Macan Turbo S being the holy grail of utility cars. The devil in me wants to take it across a ploughed field to see how it can actually perform in the rough stuff but I’m not sure Porsche would be happy!

The Porsche Macan mini SUV isn’t pretty but it had few rivals on a twisty A-road

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It’s all about versatility these days and if you want lots of it, with bags of performance too, then the Macan Turbo has few rivals.

The Range Rover Sport and BMW X6 M are the obvious options but the Land Rover is too bulky to compete on a twisty A-road – and the Beemer remains plain ugly.

That’s not to say the Porsche is pretty as a picture. It isn’t. Like the bigger Cayenne, the trademark Porsche curves just don’t work that well on an SUV.

That said, there’s a lengthy list for the Macan and, consequently, aesthetic beauty obviously doesn’t com into it for many buyers. It must be something about the badge on the bonnet then…

Porsche’s baby SUV Macan is a total flying machine – 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds never felt so slick…

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There’s something very removed about the driving experience in the Macan. I can’t quite put my finger on it but the car is so smooth and refined you just don’t get the usual Porsche ‘experience’.

Maybe that’s what buyers of an SUV are looking for – I was expecting something more similar to the 911. It’s faultless and powerful but not as engaging as I had hoped.

In ‘sport’ mode things improve dramatically, with extra burble and spit from the four tailpipes. The revs pick up and you suddenly find yourself hammering down a country lane at remarkable speeds.

O-60mph in 4.8 seconds has never felt so slick. The changes from the seven-speed auto gearbox are seamless – it’s a total flying machine. Strange then that the brakes aren’t as good as I anticipated…