Life in the middle isn’t easy, just ask any child with older and younger siblings. While the others get all the parental attention, living in the middle can feel like you’re overlooked. In the middle of the 2022 Porsche Macan lineup, sandwiched between the 434-hp GTS and the 261-hp base model is the Macan S. But Porsche hasn’t forgotten about the S—for 2022 the S is getting a very desirable hand-me-down.
The gift from above comes from a shuffling of the Macan lineup. Last year’s Macan S had a 348-hp engine, but for ’22 the S inherits the 375-hp turbo V-6 from the old GTS. In our last test of the 375-hp Macan GTS, it hit 60 mph in a life-affirming 3.9 seconds. If you opt for the Sport Chrono package ($1220) that adds launch control, the new Macan S should be just as quick. Other additions include more standard equipment including adaptive dampers (PASM), the Porsche Dynamic Light System, and 20-inch wheels.
Changes to the exterior design make the Macan look more like the Cayenne. Inside, the button-filled center console has been swapped out for a new flush, haptic panel that requires a firm touch. Though not as tactile as its predecessor’s metallic switches and toggles, the surface does help simplify the interior. However, the plastic panel will inevitably be smudged with fingerprints—bring wipes.
The view from the driver’s seat is classic Porsche, with a large, centrally positioned analog tachometer with a speedometer next to it, just like you’d find in a 50-year-old 911. In the center console, there’s Porsche’s latest 10.9-inch multimedia touchscreen equipped with now-standard wireless Apple CarPlay.
There’s virtually nothing dull about how the Macan S drives. The steering enjoys an intuitive connection between the driver’s palms and the road surface below. Acceleration from the twin-turbo V-6 is brisk, turbo lag is minimal, and it snarls pleasingly. A strong shove is available throughout the rev range, as 383 lb-ft of torque are available from 1850 to 5000 rpm. Dial into Sport mode, and transmission and throttle response become more aggressive and the adaptive dampers stiffen up. Downshifts come sooner, upshifts later, and the buttery smooth gearchanges become a little sharper.
Our Macan S came equipped with the air springs option ($1390) and provided a supple ride that damped most road irregularities but firmed up when hustling through corners. Despite the high seating position and tall roofline, body control is kept in check. The higher-profile SUV height is quickly forgotten. The Macan handles so well that someone trading out of sports car or sports sedan will feel at home. It has ample cornering grip, chest-cavitating acceleration when using launch control, and big brakes to bring it all to a fade-free stop. The GTS might be quicker, but it’s also far more expensive.
A top-of-the-line GTS (it replaces the Turbo for 2022) starts at $81,250, which makes the Macan S’s base price of $66,750 relatively attractive. And, while the new Macan S is $5200 more than last year’s model, don’t forget about the increase in standard equipment and the 27 extra horsepower. The Macan S might be a middle child, but drive one and it’ll get your attention.