*Bonneville Images courtesy of the Author*
While we could’ve taken Route 15 through Nevada and Utah straight to Salt Lake City, it’s a boring, lifeless drive compared to the two-lane highways weaving through the state. With Route 93, we would have more opportunity for scenic Ansel Adams landscapes, fewer cops and more speed. The standard-equipped 19-inch wheels had a moderate 55-series front and 50-series rear profile, which allowed for a softer ride and, actually, an ability to travel at a higher rate of speed without being able to judge. The Macan was smooth enough at high speed that while clocking a rate of 150 mph for four to five continuous miles, Harmer sat retouching earlier photos none the wiser, only commenting “Holy shit, we’re flying” once he looked up from the MacBook Pro.
It boils down to the fact that it seems Porsche doesn’t make an SUV to appease a broader audience, but one that adheres to strict guidelines that have been set for decades. Of course, other companies make some great midsize haulers: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, etc. And yes, this is an SUV for a mass market, but none feel as good as this.
Porsche is used to making cars that seem strange, such as the rear-engined 911, but once they’re put against competitors, there’s a strong chance the Porsche comes out on top.
It’s even better than the Cayenne. With the standard electromechanical steering rack—the same type found in the 911—the Macan feels more precise with less on-center float than is associated with its bigger brother. Oftentimes, in any car on a road trip, there are the inevitable “pucker” moments, where you have to take a moment to settle down because you might run out of talent, but we never had that. Feeling comfortable at the helm became primary.
Reaching Bonneville was the reward for almost getting to SLC, and we utilized every possible moment of what we had. Stuffing our feet in leftover grocery bags—apparently one of the driest places ever had just seen major flooding—we got our feet wet, literally, by finding some spots to bring out the potential of the vast, salty landscape. Having never been there, it was quite remarkable, and it’s hard for anyone to take a “bad” photo there.
Flat and dry, usually the salt flats are forgiving, but this time there were concerns over submerging the Macan to depths only a hovercraft would feel comfortable. It was the unknown of what lurked beneath the incredibly reflective water that kept us a little timid at first. We had come this far, and getting stuck wasn’t in the plan. We continued anyway, got muddy and disgusting, and could’ve definitely used some WeatherTech mats.
We had come to love the Macan because of the unexpectedness of it.
What works best about the Macan is how well it can change attitudes. It’s a Porsche Boxster wrapped in an SUV skin. You don’t feel threatened or overburdened by the size. It’s comfortable, but not in the traditional coddled sense. It feels planted, secure and small. Part of it is the stability and steering. Trickling down from the sports cars they make, the Macan is an intermediate mix of everything that’s great about Porsche “feel.”
The trip didn’t end at Bonneville. We made it to Salt Lake City running on very limited sleep and energy. We shot Ken Block’s Hoonicorn in a frenzy from morning to night, and then we repeated the journey back to Los Angeles with an even quicker pace, forgoing the sightseeing and instead chasing the sun back to Venice, enjoying the 700-plus-mile ride in a Porsche that makes up for being an SUV.
2015 Porsche Macan S Specifications
Efficiency: 17/23/19 mpg (city/highway/combined)
0-60 MPH: 5.0 seconds
Top Speed: 156 mph (claimed), 166 mph (as tested)
Horsepower: 340 horsepower @ 5,500-6,500 rpm
Torque: 339 lb.-ft. @ 1,450-5,000 rpm
Cost: $49,900 (base)/$62,230 (as tested)