I think it looks good, as good as any CUV can anyways. There's certainly nothing about the body styling that can be knocked when comparing its competition.
As for those of you trying to compare it to a GTI. Well, I don't know what to tell you. The Macan simply outclasses it in every way. They aren't anywhere near the same league. Granted I have not driven , and would never consider, the base Macan w/ I4, I've only driven the S with the turbo 6, and I've ridden in a Turbo. Perhaps now with the newest M/AMG versions of the X3 and GLA it has some real competition, but prior to this generation the Macan was firmly head and shoulders above any other CUV in terms of performance. As an aside, does the Stelvio fourcheese have the same problems as the Guila?
A Macan S or Turbo daily with a 718 S or 911 is a variation of a perfect garage.
First, answer to your main question... the exterior design.
Overall I love it, I think it's gorgeous. Probably the best looking current Porsche after the 911. But... the refresh on the rear lights is clearly a compromise. Because they couldn't change the sheet metal they still have the bulges going up at the corners where all new Porsche clean-sheet designs are just one straight line across. At night when it's lit up it's fine. But during the day it gives it this weird 'kayak paddle' look which is not ideal. By contrast, the new rear lights on the new clean-sheet Cayenne are perfect. But this is a mid-life facelift so you get the lights going up at the edges still.
Now on to everything else being discussed in this thread...
I've been toying with buying one of these ever since 2017 when I instead opted for the Golf R. I've test driven it no less than FOUR TIMES! Including when the dealership let me take it for an entire weekend. And I'm always left feeling, "Ahhhhhhh, I want to love it, but not quite. It just doesn't do it for me."
I think it mostly comes down to I'm just not an SUV guy, even the smallest, most awesomest SUV (I had the Macan GTS for the weekend test drive.) But what also really disappointed me, as mentioned by others is the packaging. It is SMALLER inside than my Golf R! I took my rear-facing child seats straight out of the R and could not fit them into the Macan. They simply would not fit. Unless I pulled the front seats so far forward it was impossible to drive. My wife was like, "Are you ****ing kidding me?"
I still really want to get back into a Porsche and not because I'm a badge-whore as some will say, but because I love how Porsches feel and drive more than anything else. I don't get the same feeling from a BMW, MB, Volvo, Land Rover or Audi.
But the Macan just doesn't quite do it.
I almost didn't consider my 982 because of sooo many negative press about how the sound ruins the car. I checked one out anyway while looking at used 911s, and while the 6 definitely sounds better, it's not nearly the crisis one would think from the reviews. As always, best to check out cars in person when possible.
But yes, the rear seat room is an easy deal breaker. If only Porsche made a similar vehicle with a slightly bigger backseat? Or better yet, three? Seriously, if you haven't driven an E3 Cayenne I think you should check it out. Unlike my E2 which is a bit truckish, the E3 IMO drives better than Macan despite the size.
Compared to it's small SUV competitors, I think the Macan is much better looking. But that's accounting for the fact that the design is ultimately compromised to fit the segment they are aiming for (like most cars). And I don't think pictures do it justice, in person it looks low, squat, and mean. The horizontal taillight bar is gorgeous looking too, reminds me of the 996 C4S. The clamshell hood that goes over the lights is also a nice touch, giving the hood and fenders a very clean line. It's subtle, but once you see it, it really stands out.
I disagree with the comments about the entry level builds. I do think the Turbo and higher end builds look better (naturally), but I still think the entry level "lease special" looks great, and way more special than the entry level competitors from Audi, BMW, and.. what else?
I know this thread is about the exterior, but I was just in a brand new 4 cyl model one with some nice interior options, and I was really impressed. It reminds me of how I felt about Audi and VW interiors many years ago. That is, just a cut above the rest. If you think your VW golf interior can hold a candle to this thing you need to stop drinking the VeeDub brand cool aid. It kicks the pants of the golf variant interiors as well as the Audi Q5 and A4 interiors. While those are still very nice places to be, the Macan really feels special. It's a good reminder of how these things can flip flop. The first gen Cayenne interior was cheap feeling and looked haphazard with phalanx of buttons and triangles, and compared to the VW/Audi interiors of the time it was way behind (as was everyone). Now, Audi/VW are still very nice and feel well built (and the golf punches way above it's pay grade), but I think Porsche has leapfrogged it's corporate stablemates in a major way.
My bottom line: I really like it... for a small SUV. It's just that I would never buy a small SUV because I don't see the point. I suppose I would put it this way, if my wife insisted on a small SUV, this would be my choice hands down.
It happens in single car reviews as well; most of time the conclusions are bad things (like the sound of the H4 in 718s), but sometimes they can be good too. In the very same reviews they often call the steering 'telepathic' or 'magical'. I mean, the steering is really good and the car obviously handles well, but calling it telepathic is trite. It's still just a car after all, and aside from a few cases such as too much throttle, trail braking, or adding steering while the car is settled at the limit, it has a normal amount of engineered-in understeer.
I guess what I'm saying is that, the best car reviewers are often also entertainers, and that can pull some objectivity. But they're not writing scientific analysis papers for journals after all.