It isn’t just people who suffer from middle child syndrome – cars, too, suffer from it (so goes popular opinion).
According to that logic, cars in the middle of the model hierarchy are neither as powerful as their range-topping siblings, nor are they as affordable as their entry-level brethren.
The reality, though, is that the “middle child” car usually offers better value for money, and with the advent of the modern turbocharged engine, gives little away in terms of performance.
One such car is the 3-litre Porsche Macan S, which sits between the entry-level 2-litre Macan and the range-topping 3.6-litre Macan Turbo.
Priced at $333,277, the Macan S costs $40,000 more than the base Macan variant, but delivers nearly 100bhp more.
Against the top-shelf Macan Turbo, the Macan S costs almost $100,000 less, yet it gives up just 60bhp. And while the “lesser” Macan is 0.6 of a second slower to 100km/h (5.4 seconds), this is a deficit you’d be hard-pressed to discern in the real world.
And thanks to the healthy amount of torque the Macan S develops (460Nm), paired with Porsche’s superlative 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, it’s still rapid enough for stop-light sprints or in-gear surges.
All this is coupled with the taut chassis we love so much about the Macan family. Heck, it’s so good, even the SUV-hating members of the Torque team had to grudgingly admit the Macan is a “true” Porsche.
Models in the Macan range are universally sharp handlers, but the best one (by a slim margin) has to be the Macan S. Yes, it does without the trick adaptive damper system (though you can specify it as a cost-option) that comes as standard on the Macan Turbo, but it rides just as beautifully and corners with a smidge more confidence, thanks to the Macan S weighing 60kg less.
And it’s the prowess the Macan S has around the twisty bits, plus its (slightly) more palatable price tag that makes this “middle child” the pick of the litter.
ENGINE 2997cc, 24-valves, V6, turbocharged
MAX POWER 340bhp at 5500-6500rpm
MAX TORQUE 460Nm at 1450-5000rpm
GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select
0-100KM/H 5.4 seconds
TOP SPEED 254km/h
CONSUMPTION 11.1km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 212g/km
PRICE INCL. COE
$333,277 (after $5k CEVS surcharge)