The updated Porsche Macan S has become more powerful and agile
Porsche Macan S: Satisfyingly sporty SUV The updated Porsche Macan S sports the full-width tail lamps that are now common across the entire Porsche range. PHOTOS: PORSCHE

Porsche has given its Macan sport utility vehicle (SUV) an extensive update. But looking at it from the front, you might find it hard to tell if it is the new model or the old one, despite the redesigned grille, intake apertures and headlamps, which are now LED units.

It is far easier to tell them apart from the rear. The latest model sports the full-width tail lamps that are now common across the entire Porsche range.

Inside, the biggest change is the new, larger 10.9-inch infotainment display. The optional Sports steering wheel, with the sport response dial that is part of the Sport Chrono Package, is new for the Macan range.

Other improvements are related to the connectivity for the Porsche Communication Management system. For instance, there is online navigation that provides real-time traffic updates.

There is a raft of driver-assistance functions, such as adaptive cruise control with autonomous braking. At speeds of up to 65kmh, there is a semi-autonomous steering function that helps the driver stay in his lane.

The Macan has also become an even better driving instrument.

Its behaviour on the serpentine roads of Mallorca was fabulous despite its taller stance, compared with actual sports cars.

I felt the agility of the previous Macan Turbo has been conferred on the new Macan S.

Responsible for the enhanced dynamics of the new Macan S are the bigger wheels and tyres, as well as the lighter and stronger suspension components.

It is powered by a turbocharged 3-litre V6 that delivers 349hp and 480Nm, or 14hp and 20Nm more than the previous model.

Power is sent to all four wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The benchmark zero to 100kmh time is now 5.1 seconds, or 0.1 second faster than before.

This does not sound like much on paper, but it is hard to come back from driving it without a smile on your face. It delivers that sporty feel that has not only eluded the rest of the SUV pack, but also some of the sports cars out there.

That is why the Macan is the most successful Porsche model to date. In the four years since it was launched, more than 350,000 units have been sold.