2024 Porsche Macan E review: New electric Porsche driven

We’ve finally driven the long-delayed electric version of the Macan, and it’s better than the popular petrol SUV in many ways – though not all.

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After a nearly two-year delay through persistent software issues, the electric Porsche Macan is close to going on sale.

It will become the most radical variant yet of the popular luxury SUV badge that will be a decade old in 2024, yet is second only to the Cayenne in global Porsche sales.

With Porsche still in the final stages of signing off the electric Macan – and its official badge name yet to be revealed – we drove two mildly camouflaged pre-production cars in Germany: the entry-level 280kW version and the top-of-the-line 456kW Turbo. (Just note that no data is 100 per cent official at this point.)

While the petrol Macan is one of the finest-handling SUVs around, Porsche claims the version we'll dub Macan E for now is an “even sportier CUV [crossover utility vehicle] with shorter overhangs, broader shoulders and a fast-dropping flyline”.

The smaller frontal area and a lot of work in the wind tunnel resulted in a more favourable drag coefficient of 0.24 – crucial for maximising battery range.

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With Porsche still in the final stages of signing off the electric Macan, we drove two mildly camouflaged pre-production cars in Germany

The entry-level model shares the advanced Premium Platform Electric (PPE) with the Audi Q6 E-Tron that will also be available as a sloping-roof ‘coupe’ when it arrives next spring.

Although both cars were developed by a joint project team, maximum differentiation was a key target. As a result, the brands not only opted for different sheet metal and interiors but also for bespoke drivetrains, steering systems and suspension set-ups.

The main uniting factor is the software that keeps troubling all members of the VW group.

Unique to the Macan E are the Turbo’s active rear spoiler, the selectively blocked nasal air intakes, and the stacked headlights comprising upper trademark four-dot DRLs and lower adaptive short- and long-range projectors.

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Starting in the Turbo, the most powerful electric Macan gives the driver access to a total of 477kW (once a ten-second, full-boost 20kW charge is factored in) plus an excess of 1000Nm relayed to all four wheels via ultra-fast on-demand vectoring.

Combining a steel platform with a body made of several different materials, the Macan E is not exactly a featherweight five-seater, but thanks to the massive overflow of power and grunt, the crossover shrinks in size and weight the instant you put the right foot down hard.

In combination with the optional rear-wheel steering, the SUV is even more chuckable through the twisties and every bit as stable through sweeping Autobahn esses at unrestricted speeds.

Although the Macan E is about 250mm shorter than the Taycan, the SUV sits on a longer, 3000mm wheelbase. As a result, it offers more rear legroom and a bigger boot than the lower and wider sedan.

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In combination with the optional rear-wheel steering, the SUV is even more chuckable through the twisties

Customers can tick common Porsche options such as head-up display, Sport Chrono pack, Porsche digital key, Burmester sound, and the Innodrive assistance system, but there’s also a separate passenger-side monitor tailormade for discreet viewing and gaming activities.

The seating position is now 24mm lower and the seat itself is also new; take your pick between a lightweight race-style bucket and a comfort chair.

Flanked by the start-stop button on the left and the small stubby gear selector cum parking brake on the right, the main instrument binnacle houses three round multi-functional dials that relay all the trip- and drivetrain-relevant information you could ask for.

A steadily increasing number of icons and apps is vying for attention in the rectangular centre monitor positioned above the climate-control panel, which contains five physical and thus largely failsafe rocker switches.

A few more buttons and thumbwheels can be found on the steering wheel that also accommodates the circular drive-mode selector but is devoid of shift paddles – and that’s a shame.

After all, they would have come handy for on-demand coasting and fingertip changes between the three regenerative-braking stages.

If there is one thing Porsche does as a rule better than just about everyone else, it’s the calibration of the steering, and the Macan E is another point in case.

At 2.5 turns from lock to lock, the direction finder is even a smidgen quicker than the Taycan’s and on par with a 992 Carrera S. It’s a truly compelling interface, the Macan E’s number one confidence-inspiring factor and a key smiles-per-mile element.

Shod with 295/40ZR21 and 295/35ZR22 Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, the ride experienced in the Turbo was crisp, perhaps even brittle. Surprisingly, Porsche is not willing to add a Comfort setting to the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system.

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Not much to see here, but hey, there's Georg again.

In Sport, the Macan E corners as flat as a Hovercraft, hangs on to the chosen line like a monorail and translates torque into traction like a rack railway on steroids.

Step up the pace and slacken the reins by switching off stability control, and the 48:52percent front-to-rear weight distribution will encourage – at least in the wet – a mild controlled slide kept alive forever by that inexhaustible torque flow.

The so-called rear performance chassis module houses the second e-motor positioned ahead of the locking e-diff, and the extra-cost rear-wheel steering that operates up to 80km/h at an angle of five degrees (a 15 percent increase over the Cayenne).

Both motors are of the liquid-cooled PSM kind featuring higher power density, best-in-class stability and repeatability, and a faster switch frequency thanks to modified pulse inverters.

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Fed by an 800-volt system common to all Premium Platform Electric (PPE) models, the 100kWh CATL battery can be charged with up to 270kW.

Boosting the energy content from five to 80 percent takes about 25 minutes. In case you’re stuck at a less potent 400V charger, the so-called bank charging system saves precious time by splitting the 800V power pack into two 400V cells. Clever.

Due to the absence of the fuel tank, the Macan E can swallow more luggage than the petrol-fed version. The frunk on the other hand is rather small, but the Integrated Power Box (IPB) that accommodates the on-board AC charger, high-voltage heater and DC/DC converter is a welcome space-saving innovation.

While Porsche is still mum about the efficiency, we checked the on-board computer of both hard-charging Turbos on our drive – one returned 31.1kWh/100km, the other averaged 35.7kWh/100km.

Ho-hum figures, so Porsche will no doubt be counting on most Macan E buyers to be impressed by the Turbo’s ability to accelerate from 0-100km/h in less than four seconds.

The base Macan E we also sampled is allegedly barely slower than the soon to be discontinued Macan GTS. The maximum power output is about 280kW, or 298kW on maximum boost.

These numbers are on the conservative side.

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The official driving range between two recharging pit stops is in excess of 505km for the Turbo, placing the zero-emission Macan in the same ballpark as the Tesla Model Y Performance, the Taycan 4S, the BMW iX M60 xDrive, and the upcoming Audi SQ6 e-tron.

The non-turbo version was fitted with 235/55ZR20 and 285/45ZR20 Bridgestone tyres which helped the ride but neither the wet grip nor the steering precision.

Although we did not have the opportunity to try the base steel suspension, there was a choice of standard and carbon-ceramic brakes to be sampled.

Predictably, the compound stoppers were superior in all respects once they had eventually reached their proper working temperature.

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If this first hands-on encounter is anything to go by, the battery-powered Macan has got what it takes to become a winner.

It goes like an express, handles like a dream, and holds the road like a moving magnet. In other words, it’s a proper Porsche through and through.

But is that enough? Does the near-silent driver environment enlightened at times by a synthetic sound generator provide the same emotional experience as the hectic, blat-blat V6?

Does the awesome performance and the sensational chassis really give this model a clear enough edge over ever-improving, constantly emerging Chinese rivals, some of which are even more potent and may be quicker still in a straight line?

At least the electric Macan is at last coming to prompt such questions.

Georg Kacher


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