Tag Archive | "911"

Is the Porsche Cayman Better Than the 911?

Routinely, The Porsche 911 will always have more power than the Cayman and Porsche won’t have it any other way because, in their world, the Cayman is an entry level car and it can’t be allowed to top its fire-breathing bigger brother and that’s that. Or is it?

The problem is, as anyone who has driven the 2014 Cayman S along a twisting country road will tell you, the story isn’t that simple. What it lacks in power it makes up with really truly fantastic mid-engine road holding and on UK roads that can make a difference when the jaw-dropping, shrieking performance of a 911 simply can’t be exercised.

CAY4 Is the Porsche Cayman Better Than the 911?The Porsche 911 is a prestige car with a price tag to match. It can be a bit of a status symbol. Certainly, there is a core group of enthusiasts who drive the 911 the way it was meant to be driven. But a high percentage of 911s will see more duty trundling in traffic than hurtling about on a track.

In some ways the 2014 Porsche Cayman sounds better than the 911. The Cayman’s mid-engine platform puts that wailing, high-revving 3.4L flat-6 directly behind your head, whereas the 911’s engine is right at the back, muffled by extra bodywork and the very small rear seats. Believe the hype; the sound of a Porsche is mesmerizing. And it’s that much better when the engine is literally inches from your ears. You can even specify the optional sport exhaust if you want an even more ear-assaulting soundtrack.

Porsche placed the Cayman’s engine in the correct location. With a 46/54 front/rear weight distribution, the Cayman is, at least in theory, a superior sports car platform. Not that there aren’t benefits to the 911’s rear-biased 39/61 setup. Astonishing straight-line traction, for one thing, which can be augmented by selecting the four-wheel drive option.

Early Porsche 911s were known for scary lift-throttle over-steer. It wasn’t uncommon for enthusiastic owners to find themselves travelling very quickly backward into a ditch. Over the years though Porsche have engineered away most of the 911’s evil tendencies, while still retaining its other abilities, which helps it turn in with a powerfully effective bit of rear rotation.

With the six-speed manual, the base Porsche Cayman is 69 kilos lighter than the base 911 with its seven-speed manual transmission. There aren’t gigantic differences, but as legendary Lotus boss, the late Colin Chapman, once said, “First add lightness”. That’s as true now as it has ever been. You can feel the difference and it also means you’ll spend less money on wear item like tyres, brake pads and clutches.

CAY3 Is the Porsche Cayman Better Than the 911?Both cars have their pros and cons, it’s just that, arguably, there are more cons with the 911. As we’ve seen, Porsche have no intention of letting the Cayman eclipse the 911 but, on the other hand, the Cayman is way cheaper to buy. That’s probably, on UK roads at least, the reason that the Cayman is the winner on points.

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911 is 50

The legendary Porsche 911 is fifty years old this year and to celebrate the company is building a limited edition version for our delight. The trouble is, the average age of anyone who can afford a Porsche is also probably fifty, but if you are in possession of a spare £92k plus then get in quick because only 1963 will be built for worldwide distribution. As if it wasn’t immediately obvious, 1963 is the year the legend began.

Porsche will be parading no less than 911 versions of this great car at the Silverstone Classic at the end of July. The Company were concerned that they would struggle to get that number of old and new Porsches to attend but they underestimated the doughty members of the Porsche Club of Great Britain who rose to the challenge with a will and now the parade is oversubscribed.

The Special Edition will be formally announced at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September at which point the car will go on sale although it is expected to be sold out on the order book long before that.

The anniversary model is based on the 911 Carrera S with rear-wheel drive and 395bhp from the flat-six engine. The car will have the wider body that features on the four-wheel drive version. Dynamic cornering lights, specially tuned PASM suspension and a ‘music to the ears’ sports exhaust are all standard.

With the manual gearbox the lucky owners can expect to do the traffic light sprint to 62mph in a sprightly 4.5 seconds. Specify the PDK auto and that drops to 4.3 seconds. Economy should be around 29mpg for the former and 32mpg for the latter.

Special 20-inch wheels are a visual tribute to the legendary “Fuchs” wheels and are finished in matte black paint with machine-polished centres. Chrome trim embellishes the front air inlets, the fins of the engine compartment grille and the panel between the rear lights to emphasize the distinctive appearance of this edition.old 911 911 is 50

Also standard on the 50 year Special are a limited-slip diff with torque vectoring, bi-xenon headlights and electrically adjustable seats amongst other delights. Inside there’s detailing that pays homage to those early days. The seat fabric will remind older Porsche enthusiasts of the original tartan design and – a nice touch – the dials are finished in green with white needles.

It’s amazing that Porsche manages to squeeze so many alternatives and changes into a car where the updates and modifications move at a glacial pace. Nevertheless it is so and the automotive world is the better for it.

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Porsche 911 At Fifty

The Porsche 911 has been an object of desire for car enthusiasts from the moment the first one rolled off the production line fifty years ago. It remains so today. There are many desirable sports cars around but few are as useable as this iconic German export. It truly is a supercar that can be used every day.

For five decades the 911 (successor to the glorious 356) has been the heart and soul of the brand. To the layman, the car has hardly changed at all and even to the expert eye the changes have been incrementally subtle and rarely dramatic. Call it a process of refinement through its seven incarnations. The entire modern range of Porsche cars all reference back to the original air-cooled prototype first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963.

Originally called the 901, it was renamed 911 when the car went on general sale for 1964. The six-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine delivered 128hp and an impressive top speed of 131. Since then over 820,000 have been lovingly built making it the clear winner as the most popular sports car in the world. Its reputation has been enhanced by impressive build quality and bomb proof reliability. None of those Italian fragilities here.

The latest version is a masterpiece of engineering and technology although some say that the new electric steering has lost the ‘feel’ of the earlier cars. Frankly, Porsche have done this because it is cheaper and easier than fitting an hydraulic pump. Purists are outraged but the modern driver probably won’t notice, so don’t tell him.

The current 911 may be the pinnacle so far but it is the model internally designated as the 993 that has a firm grip on the heartstrings of aficionados. It’s the one that has a rear spoiler the size of a table. Built between 1993 and 1998 it was the last of the air-cooled versions. It was the first Porsche to have an aluminium chassis which made the car light and agile and is highly prized today.

Porsche intend to celebrate this fifty year milestone with anniversary events all around the world, starting with the ‘Retro-Classics’ auto show at Stuttgart. An authentic 1967 model will be doing the rounds of exclusive shows in California, China and – it goes without saying – Goodwood, as well as other international fairs and historical rallies.

Fortunately now free of the dreaded ‘yuppie’ reputation the car unfairly gained from the antics of city types in the 1980s, the Porsche 911 continues to enjoy great success. For some ownership is a pleasure that lasts for years for others this car is something enthusiasts aspire to. Supercars come and supercars go but the 911 remains constant.

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Porsche Appreciation

One of the joys of buying a new car is when the time comes to pick up your prize purchase. A good dealer will make you feel just a bit special when the time comes to hand over the keys and this agreeable experience doesn’t often get much better than at a Porsche Centre.

In a recent survey with comments from nearly forty thousand respondents, Porsche was rated number one for their peerless customer service.  Anyone who has bought either a new or used Porsche will know this to be true. Your car is not just there, it is presented. The sales person remains attentive and describes your car in great and careful detail which is great, but slightly frustrating as all you really want to do is get in and drive! Nevertheless, those surveyed rated the Porsche dealer network to be the best in the UK.

There is no doubt that the German company make special cars. In the survey the mid-engined Cayman was voted a best buy. This comes as no surprise. Although it has to be said that Porsche’s are expensive to buy there can be no question that the Cayman is value for money. If ever a car could be described as scintillating, it is this one. Owners will talk of its legendary handling and poise at almost any speed. Couple that with great looks and a bomb-proof build quality and the discerning buyer can’t really go wrong. The old saying that ‘ people only buy a Cayman because they can’t afford a Carrera’ is arrogant nonsense.

The survey goes on to rather pointlessly suggest that anyone intending to buy a sports car should ‘choose one with good reliability’. You don’t say. Meanwhile, in the good old US of A, the mighty J.D.Power organisation rated Porsche to be the most popular brand.

In the used car market the Cayman’s sibling, the convertible Boxster, was judged to be the tops for driving enjoyment and warranted an almost perfect score from satisfied owners. The satisfaction quotient for the Porsche Centres wasn’t much less, coming in at 85%. Not entirely perfect then, but still streets ahead of most of the competition.

Given all the above, it will come as no surprise to find out that in the American survey customers voted the 911 to be the best of the premium sports cars. Similarly, the Cayenne – the new shape being a great improvement on the original vehicle – was also lauded in its sector.

Despite their prestige image and indeed their prestige prices it is good to know that one day a Porsche may come within reach and when that day comes it is going to be special.

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Sports Car Shoot-out

Do Aston Martin make the most desirable, useable, sports cars in the world? The answer, inevitably, is – yes and no. Certainly, their design is unquestionably beautiful but that ’s not really the be all and end all.

AM have just updated the smallest car in the range – the V8 Vantage. Most drivers would probably settle for an old one; it’s only hardened motoring journalists who nitpick about issues that ordinary folk wouldn’t notice but first reviews show that the car has definitely benefited from the changes, notably to its handling. The old car seemed to have a mind of its own on a winding, twisting road but now, thanks to faster steering, better tyres and improved pedal feel, the new car actually lets the driver be in control. The Sportshift transmission has been changed from 6 to 7 speed or there’s still a manual for the purist. So far so good, but there’s still issues regarding the interior layout and the overall driving experience, which is where Porsche come in.

The 911 has been with us for years with only the occasional updating and is a familiar sight on our roads. Because of its ‘yuppie’ history from the 1980s from which it has had a hard time escaping, the 911 hasn’t really had the exclusivity of the Aston, although prices are roughly the same. The Carrera has now been updated and is, as always, the same but different.

It still looks like the old car but this time the curves are more pronounced. It is at last a good looking motor. First reports say that it drives better than any of its predecessors. This may be because the engine has moved from right at the very back and crept inboard a bit to ensure the handling is top notch. Purists have decried the new electric steering as being without feel but, in truth, you’d have to be a serious grouch to really notice any difference and, in any event, if you’ve never previously owned a 911 then it won’t matter anyway. There’s even some concession to green politics with ‘stop-start’ and lower emissions.

Then there’s a third option – the Jaguar XKR. Like the Vantage, this sports car has a V8 engine, great looks and awesome performance. It is very refined on the road but has a small boot and rather poor rear visibility – but these are minor issues for what is a great car with an historic name.

These three cars all offer something special. They are all in the same ball park on price (around 80k or so!), have similar performance and beautiful design so the choice is down to individual preference and a fat wallet. The important thing is that they all make a great noise – the bark of the V8s and the howl of the flat six in the Porsche – and if this isn’t music to your ears then you can’t be a true petrol head and therefore wouldn’t be allowed one anyway.

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