Porsche’s upcoming Macan will be all-electric and all about the in-car tech

We get a look inside next year’s drifting, dirt-plugging, Augmented Reality super SUV

Porsche Macan 2024
(Image credit: Porsche)

There was an audible intake of breath when notoriously 'schporty' brand Porsche announced that its best-selling Macan SUV would be going all-electric for its next big update. But times are changing, and even the company that ensures all of its vehicle’s interiors look eerily like the original 911 has to adapt.

During a recent visit to its plant in Leipzig, Germany, Porsche treated us to a quick passenger ride in early prototype models, where professional drivers made faces melt with the insane 0-62mph sprint time afforded by launch control, 603bhp and over 1,000Nm of torque delivered by the next-gen electric motors and battery packs.

Porsche Macan EV

(Image credit: Porsche)

We then ventured 'off-road' for a bit of light mud-plugging and yes, the Macan will crawl up very steep hills, wade through bodies of water and drift around loose shingle like a rally car. But we always knew the upcoming electric Macan would be good. Porsche couldn’t afford to get it wrong.

But it is inside (an area Porsche has kept under wraps until now) where some of the most interesting changes have occurred, with the German brand adopting a forward-thinking approach to infotainment and in-car tech that is so often ignored by 'legacy' OEMs.

Porsche Macan 2024

(Image credit: Porsche)

Powered by Android

Porsche has opted to implement new Qualcomm processors to underpin the entire infotainment system, which neatly boots up as the owner approaches new Macan with the key. Speed is priority number one and this ensures the infotainment is ready to operate from the get-go.

Drivers are greeted to the same set-up found in upcoming Panamera and current Taycan, which consists of a highly customisable 12.6-inch digital display that takes care of speedometers and vehicle information, as well as a 10.9-inch HD touchscreen for infotainment purposes.

It’s also possible to specify a further 10.9-inch screen for the front passenger, which allows streaming, gaming and web services on-the-move. Said screen packs a special coating that ensures the driver isn’t distracted by the latest episode of Succession or that weird video the passenger is busy uploading to TikTok.

But it is the Android Automotive OS upon which the entire system is based that brings with it the most important wholesale changes. No longer are owners fenced in to a selection of apps curated by Porsche (or the VW Group), but access to the Google Play Store allows things like Beach Buggy Racing, YouTube and DAZN to be accessed whenever the mood takes.

As with your smartphone, apps are constantly added and updated, while the system will also take care of over-the-air updates for the vehicle itself. Porsche says that the system currently offers Cisco WebEx for conference voice calls, but admits it is working on adding an in-cockpit camera for video calls in the future. 

Although not as in-yer-face as Tesla's offering, it is the clostest to Musk's tech-packed, digital-first aporoach we have seen in a long time. 

Porsche Macan 2024

(Image credit: Porsche)

Augmented Reality and rapid routing

To ensure its in-car tech matches the Macan’s super fast-charging abilities, Porsche has ensured everything about infotainment interactions is quick. It neatly demonstrated this with some hypothetical routing options.

Using “Hey Porsche” voice commands, which can now understand more conversational prompts, we were asked to throw around  hypothetical road trips, many of which bordered on the ridiculous. London to Barcelona, or Munich to Lisbon were a few examples.

Every time, the system calculated several route options, factoring in charging breaks on the way, in a matter of seconds. It was impressively fast, delivering a wealth of information without the annoying lag found on many rival systems.

What’s more, it’s possible to search with strict criteria, such as only routing with a certain charging provider in mind. Alternatively, you can route via the accompanying smartphone app and quickly send it to the car.

The advanced hardware incorporated also allows for another Macan innovation - an Augmented Reality head-up display. Porsche says the HUD appears at a distance of 10m and corresponds to the size of an 87-inch display, making it one of the largest currently offered in the market.

Porsche Macan EV

(Image credit: Porsche)

We didn’t get to test it on the open road, but caught sight of a demonstration that revealed navigational arrows that corresponded with the correct lane, digital road markings that adapt with surroundings  and a visual representation of the distance between Macan and the car ahead when using adaptive cruise control.

Its ability to pinpoint exactly where the vehicle is in relation to the road ensures this digital aid neatly blends in with the real-world ahead, offering simple graphical assistance for smoother way finding.

All-in-all, it's a powerful digital offering, with Porsche even dedicating research hours into constantly improving the Apple CarPlay experience - something most automotive manufacturers ditched a long time ago.

In upcoming Macan, iPhone owners will be able to do so much more from inside the Apple CarPlay ecosystem, including interacting with vehicle functionality, changing radio stations and even running Porsche's own app offerings.

If customers can get past the lack of potent internal combustion engine and rasping exhaust notes, Porsche's Macan EV looks set to offer something truly sensational in the EV space - a car the performs like a Porsche, but behaves like your smartphone. 

Leon Poultney

Leon has been writing about automotive and consumer tech for longer than he cares to divulge. When he’s not testing the latest fitness wearable and action camera, he’s out in a shed fawning over his motorcycles or trying not to kill himself on a mountain bike/surfboard/other extreme thing. He's also a man who knows his tools, and he's provided much of T3's drills coverage over the years, all without injuring himself.