Stuttgart’s baby SUV hits the gym and takes all the supplements

“GT3 RS” is a unique series letters that carries a whole lotta weight when it comes to the Stuttgart faithful. This is the label used for Porsche’s homologation efforts, harkening back to 911’s of old where speed potential and track readiness were maximized for the ultimate in mean-machine German street offerings. Less weight through extensive use of composite materials and plastic windows, bigger, purposeful aerodynamic enhancements, wider, grippier tires, and of course, an extra splash of power are all expected when those five little letters are in play. Whether it’s prowling the highways or attacking the Karussell at the Nurburgring, the GT3 RS is not to be trifled with. Which makes it a strange thing to see when it’s plastered on a tall-bodied SUV, no? How could such a thing exist without diluting the nameplate for future hardcore models?

That’s a difficult question to answer, but Porsche certainly isn’t afraid to ask it. After all, this is the same company that brought us the Cayenne, considered to be one of the first in a wave of performance SUVs to hit the U.S. in the past decade and a half. What’s more, the competition has caught scent as well. Consider such outrageous creations as the Range Rover Sport SVR, Mercedes-AMG GLE63, and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. In company like this, why not make a hell-bent, track-ready, monster Macan?

Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche Macan GT3 RS.

Exterior

2020 Porsche Macan GT3 RS Exclusive Renderings Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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The Macan GT3 RS gets the same standard aesthetic you’d expect from a product from Stuttgart, plus a host of performance-inspired extras.

At this point, the Porsche aesthetic is pretty well established across the lineup. Take the swoopiness and rounded nose of the 911, then apply a wide stance and tons of rubber, and boom – you have your standard Porsche look.

The Macan GT3 RS is no different, bearing the same standard aesthetic you’d expect from a product from Stuttgart. The headlight housings are reminiscent of the standard Macan, using a teardrop shape and black projector housings. LED’s provide the illumination, while the Porsche Dynamic Lighting System directs the light beam around corners. Sinewy hood lines draw the eye rearwards, while the roofline tapers off towards the rear to give the profile a forward-leaning rake. The fenders flair out to house plus-sized rubber, while the rear end draws copious horizontal lines to maximize visual width.

To this solid foundation, the Macan GT3 RS adds a host of performance-inspired extras. The aerodynamics are much bolder, much bigger, and more aggressive, starting in front where the fascia is revamped with a new bumper that looks similar to the 911 GT3 RS thanks to larger intakes in the corners and horizontal dividing slates to help direct the air to where it needs to be. A large central intake offers that traditional 911 “grin,” while a fine black mesh covering helps ward off loose bits of tarmac kicked up in front of you. Higher up, we find the hood cover terminating in an additional crescent-shaped vent, once again giving a nod to the 911 version of the nameplate. Along the lower edge of the bumper is a black splitter to add extra grip to the front end, plus corner-mounted fog lights for added illumination.

As yet another nod to the 911, the fender vents will really help the Macan GT3 RS get noticed, cementing the car’s status as a bona-fide performance machine.

Moving to the side, one of the most eye-catching features is a set of black louvers placed high on the front fenders. As yet another nod to the 911, these little vents will really help the Macan GT3 RS get noticed, cementing the car’s status as a bona-fide performance machine. Below, we find large 20-inch wheels copying even more of the 911’s style. Optional sizing up to 21 or even 22 inches wouldn’t be out of the question for a vehicle like this. Along the lower edge is a black indentation finished in a matte coloring, complementing the black side skirts and aero, not to mention the black window surrounds and lower section of the side-view mirror housings.

Moving to the rear, we’d expect to see the same wide, rounded appearance as the standard Macan, but up top will be a sizable duckbill spoil protruding off the roof. A more pronounced diffuser element underneath the bumper will once again continue the aero’s matte black coloring, while a quartet of rounded, polished exhaust pipes spit some noise out back. The rear also provides a nice view of the ultra-wide footprint of the tires.

Interior

2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package
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Note: Porsche Macan Turbo with Turbo Interior Package pictured here.

Go for the optional Sport Chrono Package (and yes, you’re gonna want to for it), and Porsche will add a Track Precision app.

Figuring this one out is a little tricky. I’ll explain – while the regular Macan is a comfortable, luxurious affair, the 911 GT3 RS tends to be a bit more spartan. Sure, in the 911 you still get nice stuff like leather and Alcantara for the upholstery, brushed metal surrounds for the trim, red contrast stitching, and a good deal of tasty carbon fiber (let’s face it folks, at this point, carbon fiber trim should be considered a luxury item). However, compared to the SUV, the 911 is definitely much more down-to-business. The seats are stiff buckets with minimal padding, amenities are at a minimum, and there’s even a roll bar bolted in behind the seats.

2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS High Resolution Interior
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Note: Porsche 911 GT3 RS steering wheel pictured here.

So how do you mesh all that track stuff with a luxury SUV platform?

Let’s start with the basics. Kicking it off is a new steering wheel, something like the split three-spoke, Alcantara-clad, 918 Spyder-inspired unit mounted inside the 911 GT3 RS, complete with a bright top center mark. The seats in front will get larger side bolsters to keep passengers in place while utilizing the vehicle’s massive amounts of grip. More carbon fiber and brushed aluminum will be added wherever possible, while five rounded gauges behind the steering wheel provide the necessary info. A touchscreen will remain in the center dash as the primary user interface for the various onboard performance systems and infotainment.

Go for the optional Sport Chrono Package (and yes, you’re gonna want to for it), and Porsche will add a Track Precision app to help you relive your lap times and track day experience via your smartphone, possibly even providing a little insight into what you need to clip off a few tenths from your pace. The Porsche Communication System will also stay onboard.

Now we’re gonna get a little weird with it. How about an optional Club Sport Package that replaces the rear bench seat with a roll cage and adds six-point harnesses to the front seats, plus a fire extinguisher and all the other stuff needed to pass tech inspection at a hardcore track event? Then strip out some of the sound insulation, delete most of the infotainment, and rip out any heavy upholstery unnecessary for the purpose of going fast. Oh, and did I mention it would cost extra money as well?

Call us crazy, but hey – you know people would still buy it.

Drivetrain

2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package
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Note: Porsche Macan Turbo pictured here.

The more interesting option would be to source that naturally aspirated 4.0-liter six-cylinder from the 911 GT3 RS, which just so happens to make as much as 500 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque, plus a fantastic sound at wide open throttle.

Go for the top-trim Macan Turbo with the optional Performance Package, and you’ll get as much as 440 horsepower on tap from a front-mounted 3.6-liter V-6 engine. It’s a solid bit of kit, enabling the heavy SUV to rocket through the 60-mph mark in less than four seconds. Top speed is just shy of 170 mph.

Impressive stuff for sure, but for a GT3 RS iteration, we’re gonna need more – about 60 horses more, to be exact, giving us a nice round figure of 500 horsepower. Finding that extra muscle isn’t out of the question when it comes to Porsche’s engineers digging into the Macan’s boosted 3.6-liter six-cylinder. Just turn up the wick on the turbos, right?

However, the more interesting option would be to source that naturally aspirated 4.0-liter six-cylinder from the 911 GT3 RS, which just so happens to make as much as 500 horsepower and 338 pound-feet of torque, plus a fantastic sound at wide open throttle. A bit of a pipe dream, to be sure, but I think we should all encourage Porsche to put that screamer of a powerplant into as many applications as humanly possible.

A manual would be nice, but in an application like this, the PDK would likely be way to go.

Either way, a PDK transmission is the obvious fit in terms of gearboxes. A manual would be nice, but in an application like this, the faster, user-friendlier automatic would likely be way to go. If you prefer a more pure driving experience, then may we suggest the six-speed Cayman GT4?

In terms of acceleration, we’d like to see a 0-to-60 mph sprint in the low-3-second range, something around 3.3 seconds. The quarter mile would be dispatched in the low 11-second range, while top speed would look like 180 mph.

Suspension And Chassis

2020 Porsche Macan GT3 RS Exclusive Renderings Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Think lots of advanced electronics working in concert to keep all those nasty pounds from interfering with the fun.

While more power is certainly appreciated, the ability to apply that power in an effective manner is just as important. As such, the Macan GT3 RS would get the same handling enhancements that Porsche applied to the 911 GT3 RS variant, starting with a reduction to the curb weight. At well over two tons in its most basic form, the Macan could certainly use a bit of a diet, so Porsche would most likely apply oodles of expensive material tech to slim it down a little. Carbon fiber is the most obvious way to go, as is additional aluminum wherever appropriate, but we also wouldn’t mind seeing some magnesium, such as on the roof like the 911 GT3 RS. A tip of the scales around 4,150 pounds should work.

Helping to keep the shiny side up will be an upgraded air suspension system, tuned for greater performance over the standard set-up. Added to this will be a rear-axle steering system (yep, it’s a thing even with AWD) to help keep the turn-in nice and nippy, while the Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system would make the most of the available grip. Think lots of advanced electronics working in concert to keep all those nasty pounds from interfering with the fun.

Hauling it down will be positively mammoth brakes, with 15-inch rotors and six-piston calipers at all four corners. With 500 horsepower to push around, you’re not gonna wanna skimp of the slowers. Some optional Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes will ensure fade-free stops all day, every day. Finally, wider tires and wheels combine to offer more rubber, and as a result, more grip as well.

And while Porsche has touted the Macan’s off-road worthiness in the past, we’d expect the Macan GT3 RS to focus solely on going fast on paved surfaces, specifically the track. Loose surfaces are okay, but the various onboard systems will be tuned specifically for handling the tarmac, so stay away from the rock crawling terrain. Furthermore, we wouldn’t be surprised if Stuttgart decided to put the Macan GT3 RS around the Nurburgring in pursuit of some lap record. Because of course.

Prices

2020 Porsche Macan GT3 RS Exclusive Renderings Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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For the moment, the Porsche Macan starts at $47,500 for the base model, and ranges up to $86,445 for the Turbo model with the optional Performance Package. Pricing with just a few of the boxes ticked on the options list can easily reach the $100,000 mark.

So what about the GT3 RS?

All told, we’d expect it to start at about $120,000 to $130,000, reaching as high as $140,000 when going for basics like the Sport Chrono Package and ceramic brakes. Not cheap, but hey – that’s the Porsche tradition.

Competition

Range Rover Sport SVR

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
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2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
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What’s that? You want more than 500 horsepower in an SUV, plus a sumptuous interior filled to the brim with luxury and quintessential British style? Then Land Rover has the answer with its SVR-tuned Range Rover Sport. Under the hood is a thumping supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 good for 550 ponies, all of which is routed to the ground by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission and active performance AWD system. Meanwhile, the interior is all leather and aluminum, with plenty of room to move around, not to mention loads of options for the equipment.

Read our speculative review on the Range Rover Sport SVR.

Jeep Trackhawk

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Is Big And Dumb And Pointless And I Really Want To Drive It High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Is Big And Dumb And Pointless And I Really Want To Drive It High Resolution Exterior
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What do you get when you combine the world-eating supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 from the Dodge Charger Hellcat with the body of the Jeep Grand Cherokee? Say hello to the Trackhawk, an outrageously over-the-top SUV that promises to break the laws of physics thanks to 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque. The 60 mph sprint takes about 3.5 seconds in this monster, while top speed is around 180 mph – both figures that would match a Macan GT3 RS blow for blow. And at around $85,000, the Jeep is much cheaper as well.

Read our full review on the Jeep Trackhawk.

Conclusion

2020 Porsche Macan GT3 RS Exclusive Renderings Exterior Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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I always found performance SUVs to be a bit… let’s go with odd. You see, my reasoning is that if you want something fast, you should buy something that was designed to be fast from the outset – you know, like a sports car. If you want something practical, then get something that was built to be practical from the outset – you know, like an SUV. Combine the two, and you’ll inevitably have to compromise somewhere down the line.

Riding that fine line has both its benefits and drawbacks, but as far as Porsche is concerned, it folks buy it, it was a good idea.

But hey, that’s no big deal. Some people really want that “best of both worlds” sort of approach in their vehicle, and if SUV style and sports car speed is what you’re after, a Macan GT3 RS will surely fit the bill.

Of course, riding that fine line has both its benefits and drawbacks, but as far as Porsche is concerned, it folks buy it, it was a good idea.

What do you think?

  • Leave it
    • * Ludicrously expensive
    • * If you really wanna go that fast, why not just get a 911?
    • * Square peg in a round hole syndrome
    • * Could dilute the GT3 RS nameplate

References

Porsche Macan

2018 Porsche Macan Spyshots Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the next Porsche Macan.

Porsche Macan Turbo

2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance Package
- image 686975

Read our full speculative review on the next Porsche Macan Turbo.

Porsche 911 GT3 RS

2018 Porsche 911 GT3 RS Exterior Spyshots
- image 711720

Read our speculative review on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

What do you think?
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