Rabu, 15 Juni 2016

Review Car 2017 Porsche Macan GTS

Review Car 2017 Porsche Macan GTS
Porsche adds a performance-oriented GTS trim level to the Macan crossover lineup for 2017. Read the review and see photos at Car and Driver.
2017 Porsche Macan GTS  Racing to the clouds in Porsche's newest baby crossover.
First Drive Review
With the Porsche Macan following in the profit-generating footsteps of the bigger Cayenne SUV, it was only a matter of time before Stuttgart added a hotter GTS variant to the compact crossover’s lineup. In addition to a new base four-cylinder model, the GTS is new for 2017 and slots between the midrange Macan S and the high-test Turbo as a performance-focused option for practical enthusiasts. After spending a long, arduous day driving the GTS in Colorado—including a sprint to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak—we can attest that the newcomer’s heightened reflexes are exactly what the Macan needed.

Indeed, at $68,250 to start, the GTS promises a welcome addition to Porsche’s bottom line, particularly when the brand claims that initial orders have averaged about $88,000 with the Porsche-typical exorbitant array of options. While that’s notably more than the S model’s $55,450 MSRP, it’s not as dear as the $104,440 on the window sticker of the last Macan Turbo we tested (the Turbo version starts at $77,050 for 2017).

More Gusto
For that amount, GTS buyers get the S’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with upgraded internals and revised tuning to produce 360 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque—increases of 20 and 30, respectively, over the S-spec engine. With the Turbo’s 3.6-liter mill developing 400 horses and 406 lb-ft, the GTS should split the difference between the two in the zero-to-60-mph sprint, which we expect to take about 4.4 seconds using the seven-speed PDK automatic transmission’s launch-control function, included with the $1290 Sport Chrono package. The 375-hp 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLA45 should be a touch quicker still, but the Porsche is far more refined.

The GTS is no rocket on the open road. But it does feel stronger than the Macan S, and the standard variable sport exhaust emits a throaty warble when its Sport setting is active; without loud mode engaged, it sounds family-friendly and docile. Despite torque peaking at just 1650 rpm, there’s not much action below 3000 revs unless you are in the middle of a wide-open-throttle dash, and the power tapers near the 6800-rpm redline. Fortunately, the dual-clutch PDK gearbox is there to swap in the optimal ratio with near telepathic acuity—an assistance that became ever more apparent at extreme altitudes where the V-6 would have wheezed otherwise like a pack-a-day smoker in a marathon. The PDK’s excellent programming makes it all too easy to forget about the standard steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Thin air at the lofty elevation of our mountainous drive route surely hampered the full thrust of the upgraded V-6, but we’ll confirm our performance estimates as soon as we can get a GTS to the test track.

One of the Family
The dynamic benefits of the GTS’s chassis tweaks, however, were immediately apparent as we connected the 156 twists and turns of the temporarily closed-to-the-public Pikes Peak International Hill Climb course. The Macan’s optional air springs and PASM (electronically adjusted dampers) are standard on the GTS; this suspension adjusts through different heights and three levels of stiffness, with the overall setup being 0.4 inch lower and about 10 percent firmer than the standard Macan’s. There’s also a slightly stiffer rear anti-roll bar, which, when combined with Porsche’s optional brake-based torque vectoring and locking differential system ($1490), makes the GTS a surprisingly neutral handler. Aided by a greater rearward bias of torque distribution within the Macan’s active all-wheel-drive system, the GTS seemed to pivot around tight hairpins as if we had tossed out an anchor at the apex.

The GTS borrows the Turbo’s larger, 14.2-inch front disc brakes with red six-piston calipers (single-piston 13.0-inchers sit in back). Despite getting noticeably hot and soft in pedal feel on our descent from the mountaintop, the stoppers are generally firm and reassuringly capable of arresting the GTS’s two-plus tons; heartier carbon-ceramic brakes seem a bit silly here, yet they are available for $8150. The power steering also benefits from a new electric assist motor and revised tuning, which Porsche says are aimed at correcting one of our quibbles with previous Macans we’ve driven: the lack of tactility from a Porsche helm. While the steering feel obviously doesn’t mimic that of a 911, there’s now an entertaining dose of feedback for a crossover, and Porsche says it is applying the changes to all 2017 Macans. Pirelli Scorpion all-season tires on 20-inch Y-spoke RS Spyder–like wheels are standard GTS rolling stock; both 19s and 21s are available, though, as are stickier performance tires. While the Pirellis should allow the GTS at least to match the Turbo’s reasonable 0.89 g of adhesion on similar rubber, the updated chassis can quickly overwhelm their available grip when pushed.

When that happens, retuned PTM (traction management) stability controls allow some yaw before stepping in, and the system can be completely deactivated. Actuating the GTS’s standard Sport mode sharpens the responses for the throttle, steering, suspension, and transmission. But the Sport Plus setting of Sport Chrono–equipped models turns everything up another notch and adds an intermediate Sport ESC mode, which is available only on the GTS and allows a bit more slip-angle leeway before intervening.

Practical Performance
None of the changes however, take away from the Macan’s drivability in the real world. Ride quality remains taut, but the adaptive dampers’ adjustability lets the GTS shake off most pavement imperfections with little of the harshness we’ve experienced from other Macans on big wheels. Throughout our all-day trek—which took us from Colorado Springs to Denver, along the Platte River, and up both Pikes Peak and Mount Evans—the GTS stayed comfortable and composed. The slightly elevated driving position is pretty much spot-on, and the standard eight-way power sport seats, which include faux-suede inserts and thicker side bolsters, offer excellent support. Cushier 14- and 18-way adjustable thrones are available, too. Other interior highlights include brushed-aluminum trim and an optional GTS interior package ($4790), which, as on other GTS models, brings a Carmine Red tachometer, garish red seatbelts, and red contrast stitching on the seats and dash. Porsche’s latest PCM (communication management) infotainment system works great and now has Apple CarPlay integration; adding the optional navigation module ($1730) and Porsche Connect Plus ($1300) tacks on an LTE modem for Wi-Fi connectivity.

Although the examples we drove were wrapped in vibrant liveries commemorating Porsche’s past Pikes Peak racers, the standard GTS treatment is tastefully subdued with painted lower body sections, black wheels, and numerous gloss- and matte-black accents. Porsche, of course, will let you customize countless interior and exterior details to your liking—for a price. Yet the base GTS’s starting price is a few grand below that of a similarly equipped Macan S, and even then you can’t get the former’s specific performance upgrades.

The Macan GTS still seems awfully expensive for a lifted hatchback that’s a bit tight on space for cargo and four adults and not as exciting to drive as a hot sports sedan with more room inside. The criticisms of compromise inherent with any Porsche SUV still apply here. But with the GTS treatment, the Macan now drives even more like a proper Porsche.

Review Car 2017 Jaguar F-type SVR

2017 Jaguar F-type SVR Jaguar stretches its F-type coupe and convertible to their (il)logical conclusion.

First Drive Review
With the excellent new XE sedan establishing Jaguar’s claim in the entry-luxury sedan class and the equally excellent new F-Pace giving the brand its own crossover, Jaguar has most of the basic luxury-brand bases covered. (Sister company Land Rover covers the rest.) Now all it needs is customers, so Jaguar is seeking visibility the way one does in America: celebrity tie-ups. In just over two weeks this past spring, Jaguar announced collaborations with Prince Harry, WWE superstar John Cena, and Fast and Furious actress Michelle Rodriguez. The trio is an apt summation of the new range-topping, 575-hp F-type SVR: prestige, muscle, and beauty.

As a Jaguar—a beautiful one, available in either sultry convertible or sexpot coupe body styles—the SVR carries a powerful monarchical prestige that affects people in peculiar ways. A personal anecdote: Once, as your author was driving home in our long-term F-type, I was stopped at a red light when a car pulled up next to me. The passenger opened her window to ask what the car was. I must have been pondering what the exhaust system’s delightfully improper pops and cracks would sound like with a British accent, because my answer came out, “It’s a Jag-you-are F-type.” The proper syllabification surprised me as much as it did the inquirer, to the point that my brow furrowed and my face contorted in revulsion as I spoke, and my sentence ended in a question mark. Confused and embarrassed, I turned back to face the light and sped away in relief when it turned green seconds later.

It’s the muscle that makes this F-type an SVR. It’s the first Jaguar to wear the SVR badge, in fact, following only the Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR in the rollout of products from the firm’s Special Vehicle Operations office. This one borrows the engine calibration from the limited-edition Project 7, its 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 cranking out 575 horsepower at 6500 rpm and making 516 lb-ft of torque at 3500, increases of 25 hp and 14 lb-ft over the F-type R. We clocked an F-type R from zero to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds; figure on this one doing the deed in 3.3 or so with the extra ponies making a bigger difference in the quarter-mile. It uses the same eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive powertrain as the R. (If you want a clutch pedal in your U.S.–market F-type, you’re looking at the 380-hp V-6 and rear-wheel drive.)

An Inconel and titanium exhaust system shaves 35 of the 55 pounds Jaguar claims to have pared from the all-wheel-drive F-type R’s curb weight. For those willing to spend more to get less mass, optional carbon-ceramic brake rotors, a carbon-fiber roof panel, and a carbon-fiber trim package can bring that total weight loss to 110 pounds. Through the new exhaust, the F-type’s signature scream develops a slightly sharper edge. It’s not as dramatic a change as was suggested by Jaguar’s stunt of having us drive an SVR through a New York tunnel, but it does sound like an angry King Kong thumping his chest at several thousand beats per minute. It’s an appropriate soundtrack for Jaguar’s fastest-ever production car.

The company claims a top speed of 200 mph for the SVR coupe and 195 for the convertible, the former of which it validated with Ms. Rodriguez at the wheel. (She reached an indicated 201, which, due to wind, speedometer error, and a favorable celebrity-to-horsepower conversion, could be inaccurate by one mph. Or two.) Helping the SVR stick to the ground at that speed is a new front fascia, a narrow rear diffuser, and a large rear wing. The fascia is wider at the bottom to mask more of the tires, and it incorporates larger intakes to aid in cooling (the vents in the hood also help). Openings in the wheel wells direct air through the pronounced fender vents, reducing front-axle lift. The diffuser cuts rear lift, aided by the wing. The latter is fixed in the sense that it can’t be retracted into the bodywork, but it does rise and extend rearward. This happens at 60 mph in the convertible and 70 mph in the coupe, or any time the driver engages the car’s Dynamic mode. When it’s down, Jaguar says, the wing works with the other aero measures to reduce drag by a combined 7.5 percent and to cut lift by 15 percent. With it extended, there’s still 2.5 percent less drag than in the F-type R and a big 45 percent reduction in lift.

All-Wheel Drifter
High-performance chassis bits include a sturdier rear-suspension wheel-hub carrier, a thinner front anti-roll bar, a thicker rear anti-roll bar, and revised valving for the adaptive dampers. Pirelli P Zero tires, sized 265/35R-20 in front and 305/30R-20 in the rear, are 20 millimeters wider than the R’s and tweaked by Pirelli exclusively for the F-type. The result is an F-type that turns in more quickly than the one-step-down R, while the all-wheel-drive system and the electronically controlled rear differential make it far more stable than the rear-drive V-8 F-type was initially.

In spite of all four wheels being driven, this much power means it remains possible to steer the F-type with the throttle—it’s just less frightening and more stable while doing so. Goose it, and the tail still flicks out, but as the driver countersteers and holds the throttle, torque that the rear tires can’t use gets shuttled to the front axle, pulling the car back into line. It’s predictable and fun, if less lurid. The standard brakes are the same as the F-type R’s, with 15.0-inch rotors up front and 14.8-inch units in the rear, while optional ($12,000) carbon-ceramic discs measure 15.7 and 15.0 inches. All of the cars Jaguar provided at its press launch had these carbon brakes, the better to manage heat from repeated 170-plus-mph braking events on Spain’s Motorland Arag√≥n racetrack. They held up to this abuse, but after a few laps the pedal started to soften, which is awfully unnerving at such speeds. The ultraquick steering demands a deliberate steady hand for smoothness. It also feels rather light; we wished for more weight to help stabilize the car. In regular driving, the ride is firm but controlled, although large bumps toss occupants enough that once, our (admittedly oversize) driver smacked his head on the headliner. Hard.

Inside, things are largely the same as they are in lesser F-types, which is to say they’re lovely, if a little snug. (See heads and headliners, above.) The SVR’s seats are the same as those in the R but finished with SVR-specific “lozenge” stitching and piping, and the shift paddles are larger than on other F-types and now are made of aluminum. Perhaps we could resist the embarrassment of saying “al-you-mini-um” if a bystander asked. Perhaps.

An English accent turns out to be a less costly affectation than a German one, at least at time of purchase. A similarly powerful Porsche 911 Turbo S (580 horsepower) stickers for $189,150, and we expect the amped-up Mercedes-AMG GT R will command an even higher price. The F-type SVR offers wild styling, unparalleled vocals, and everyday comfort at $126,945 for a coupe or $129,795 for a convertible. We don’t need John Cena to bully us into seeing that for what it is: something of a bargain.