Behind the wheel there’s a new generation of head-up display that uses augmented reality to seemingly project arrows onto the environment ahead of you. This takes some getting used to, since its scale is designed to resemble an 87-inch TV placed 10 meters away. Sometimes it offers more distraction than direction.

There’s a new voice assistant, summoned by saying “Hey, Porsche”. It works OK, and is better than some others we’ve tried recently. It determines who has spoken to it, so when the passenger asks it to turn their heated seat on, it knows which one to activate. It’s fairly quick at answering simple questions and delivering the weather forecast, but has no form of memory and can’t chain queries. So if you ask about the weather in London tomorrow, then follow up with a simple “Will it rain?”, it’ll instead deliver the local, present forecast. This is some way off from the ChatGPT car assistants we saw at CES in January.

Shun the Turbo, Go for the 4

Time to hit the road and, we’re happy to report, the Macan lives up to its billing. It feels and drives like a Porsche. The drivetrain responds much like that of the Taycan, and it also sounds similar if your the kind of EV driver that enables the optional Porsche Electric Sport Sound.

It doesn’t take long to spot the typical Porsche trait of the control weights being perfectly matched. The resistance of the pedals and steering are all nicely judged, and, again like the Taycan (but unlike almost every other EV), there’s very little regenerative braking when you lift the accelerator.

Porsche takes this approach to make its EVs feel more like gas-powered cars, and it works. This means that Electric Macan owners will miss out on the joy that comes from perfectly judging a stop without touching the brake pedal. So they’ll instead see how the Macan can be driven in a more conventional manner. Keener owners will also recognize the benefits of how weight transfer is easier to manage, since the car doesn’t brake and dive the moment you come off the power. Rear-wheel steering is also available as an option, improving both low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability.

Both the 4 and Turbo feel fast at any legal speed. Each is equipped with huge reserves of torque (a massive 1,130 Nm or 738 lb-ft in the latter), ready to slingshot you out of corners, past slower traffic, or down a highway on ramp.

If the higher cost and slightly lower range aren’t a concern to you, then plump for the Turbo. It’s incredibly quick and comes with larger wheels, air suspension with more sophisticated dampers (the 4 sits on springs as standard), and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, which shuffles power between the rear wheels depending on which has the most grip.

However, most drivers should stick with the 4. It feels like reasonable value at just under $80,000, and is as entertaining to drive as it is practical. There’s a lot of weight here, to the tune of almost 5,300 pounds (2,400 kg), but it’s hidden well thanks to precise, responsive steering and an ability to remain flat and composed through corners. Only when braking downhill does the mass really make itself known, and while mostly comfortable, the 4 on its conventional springs rides slightly firmer than we’d like.

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