I've driven just about every version of the Porsche Macan and have yet to be disappointed. The GTS and Turbo trims are asphalt-assaulting animals, but even the base models drive well. The 2024 Porsche Macan EV is going to represent a major shift in the car's construction, but after a few hot laps riding shotgun, I'm not worried about this thing losing its edge.
The Macan is the closest thing Porsche has to a mass-appeal car, with a relatively accessible price point and practical passenger-friendly body. Modestly proportioned crossovers are universal favorites, so it's no surprise that the Macan is Porsche's best-selling model.
We've been hearing about Porsche's plans to move this car to electric power for years now, but after some small delays (at one point it was supposed to be on sale in 2023) we're now looking at a likely launch in early 2024.
On a recent visit to Porsche's sprawling facilities in Leipzig, Germany, I got to examine some cutaways and a few demonstration models, spectate the spotless assembly process, and finally, take a little ride in some prototypes.
Three things stuck in my mind after returning home: the factory, the vehicle's cockpit design, and the prototype Macan's gut-twisting acceleration.
The factory where Panamera sedans and Macan SUVs are built is simply magnificent. I've been lucky enough to see a few automotive industrial facilities. The organization and cleanliness of the Porsche shop (which employs over 4,000 people) stood out as remarkable and certainly confidence-inspiring. We were not allowed to take photos inside, alas. But it was just as impressive to watch the choreography of assembly equipment as it is to see a skilled driver run laps out on the test track.
That Leipzig factory churns out about 90,000 vehicles every year, all moving briskly through various assembly stations. Each tool is immaculate, and so too are the floors and windows. I mention this because it makes the planned pivot to EVs even more significant—this ain't no side-project or compliance car. Porsche may keep the 911 sports car burning gasoline for "as long as possible," but making its volume-seller electric is a pretty clear indicator of the company's firm commitment to electrification.
As for the Macan EV itself—Porsche's kept the final exterior design under wraps. However, from the camouflaged prototypes you've already seen pictures of, it seems pretty clear that the Macan's look will not deviate much from what we're used to. No complaints about that here, I think the Macan is a solid port of Porsche's signature look into a smallish crossover configuration. The snake-like eyes, squat body, and round hip-looking rear fenders communicate performance, even under ugly pre-production stickers.
The interior, however, we have seen the final version of—at least from one angle (see photo below). The general layout is consistent with Porsche's sporty industrial aesthetic. But beyond that and a Sport Chrono-style clock at the top of the dash, it feels more like you're in an office or the starship Enterprise than a sports car.
A completely digital gauge cluster provides driver readouts, which is of course becoming fairly common in modern highline cars. Another screen in the middle provides less critical vehicle information, and the bank of buttons in the center console will feel more like tapping your phone screen than flicking switches. There'll also be an optional screen in front of the passenger side so your co-pilot can more easily assist with navigation, road trip DJing, or take a break from staring at their phone to be entertained by a different sensory input.
Porsche's people were excited to talk about the elevated full-car connectivity the systems behind these screens would provide. For example, the demo navigation system was quick to calculate routes and suggest charging stops based on the vehicle's usage. It also had impressive voice recognition that didn't seem to struggle with instructions coming from a variety of accents.
If you're an iPad person, you'll be in heaven. I personally don't care for touchscreen controls in cars from a haptic or cosmetic perspective. I'm especially sad to see Porsche pivot away from individual control buttons, as this automaker has made some particularly satisfying switches. I think a few pitchforks will be hurled my way for this, but the interior's going to be a downgrade from earlier Macans, as far as I'm concerned.
It doesn't matter how high-res the screens get, a three-dimensional gauge cluster is always going to be classier.
One new aspect inside the Macan that I loved, however, is its ambient lighting. A range of colors and patterns are displayed from the center of the dashboard all the way out into the doors, and some animations coincide with the car's behavior.
Cueing up launch control, for example, causes a blue pulse to wrap around driver and passenger like you're on a Disney ride. It's a lot of fun and is well-executed.
Speaking of launch control—the Disney ride analogy comes to mind again in the visceral nature of its intensity. I was just on the Aerosmith-themed "Rock 'n Roller Coaster" in Orlando and I'm quite sure my ride with one of Porsche's development drivers in the Macan EV prototype had me way closer to barfing.
A full-send launch from a stop silences all conversations and thoughts in the passenger seats and replaces them with "AHHH." I'm not saying I'd leave every intersection that way. But if you're going to get a Porsche, that's exactly the kind of party trick you want to torment your inlaws with when you take them for a ride, right?
I've gotten somewhat used to the physically uncomfortable acceleration of a hard-charging high-po EV by now, but I was still stunned by the intensity of this thing.
Then there's the at-limit handling. I can't give real feedback impressions without actually driving the thing, but I can share one important insight: The talented Porsche development driver was able to ham it with this car plenty.
That indicates to me that there's personality and playfulness—which isn't a given considering how digitized the car is and how wide its wheels are. Extreme levels of grip and deftly managed power, sure. But the fact that a skilled wheelman was able to hang the back out and turn tires into clouds gives me optimism that this vehicle will be fun as well as fast. Trust, those two factors are not always synced!
As for specifications, the first electric Macans are slated to come with a 100-kWh battery pack (12 modules, prismatic cells) and all-wheel drive (dual motor, one front and one rear). Its peak discharge is rated at 495 kW with a maximum charging power of 270 kW. The battery itself weighs a hair over 1,200 pounds. A single-motor rear-drive variant might enter the lineup to lower the entry price.
Expect to see at least three Macan EV trim levels, with the max-performance Turbo supposedly putting down more than 700 lb-ft of torque. But we can discuss power and specs more when Porsche's committed to final production output claims.
After some hot laps around a track and a tour of the interior and infotainment, I'm optimistic that the Macan EV will be characterful enough to give it the sense of occasion worthy of Porsche money. I hope automakers ultimately realize that automotive electrification doesn't necessarily need to be paired with a phone-style driver interface, but if you are a fan of having multiple screens in your field of view at all times, you'll be in good company.
Still, I don't think Porsche's in any danger of losing its grip on the sporty SUV market as it leans into the EV era. But we'll have to see how it behaves beyond the safety of Porsche's prototyping to get a full review. Stay tuned!
Correction: We initially called the Macan EV a model-year 2025 car, but Porsche has now confirmed with us that it'll be a 2024. Sorry for the error and confusion!