Tag Archive | "Porsche"

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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Porsche Panamera Hybrid Heralded A Success

Say what you like about the Porsche Panamera – and people often do – there can be no doubt that it has become a mainstay of the Porsche range. When this car first appeared about four years ago, reviewers rated it ugly. It has received a facelift a while back and, it has to be said that like an affectionate mongrel dog, it grows on you.

Motor Blogger’s editor is particularly smitten with this luxury vehicle and has never understood the resistance to its looks. It is sleek and elegant and is loaded with Porsche’s legendary reliability. What’s not to love? Over 100,000 worldwide car buyers can’t all be wrong.

On May 15th this year a Panamera S E-Hybrid drove off the assembly line at the Porsche plant in Leipzig, Germany, and it set a new technological benchmark as the first plug-in hybrid of the luxury class. In addition to the Panamera S E-Hybrid with its powerful 416 horsepower, two luxurious Executive versions with an extended wheelbase are making their debut.

The new Panamera S E-Hybrid assumes the top position among the individual Panamera models with advancements in both efficiency and sportiness. The ten versions of the Panamera that are offered, each with individual and unique properties, represent a range that is unprecedented in the Gran Turismo segment. What’s more impressive is that the built-in advanced technology has resulted in fuel savings of up to fifty six percent without detracting from the comfort, individuality and fun of driving the vehicle.

To further optimise the experience of driving this car, all models of the new generation offer greater fuel efficiency and – with the exception of the diesel model – more power. The power of the V6 engine in the Panamera and Panamera 4 has been increased by 10hp to 310 hp while fuel consumption in the two versions has been reduced. The power of the sporty GTS with a naturally aspirated V8 engine was also increased by ten horsepower to 440 hp which, it has to be said, is plenty. yet it consumes 0.8 l/100 km less than in the previous model. In addition to the new S E-Hybrid, there is the Panamera Diesel, which is still the long distance specialist.

It goes without saying that Porsche make desirable cars. The changes in design may move with glacial pace but under the skin this is state of the art automotive technology. With the new Hybrid the German company can now claim that green issues are now part of its remit too.

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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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Macan Magic

The Porsche Cayenne is a very desirable vehicle but it is also very big. Now though, Porsche have come up with the answer. The Macan. That’s it in the image and we promise you can get it in colours other than yellow. There has been a trend recently for smaller SUV type vehicles and most manufacturers have something of the sort in their line-ups. The Audi Q5 for example is a scaled down version of the bigger Q7. Now Porsche have followed suit.

The Macan, styled as a sporty off-roader, is due out in time for Spring next year and is rumoured to be priced from around £36,000 which puts it right in the path of the the hugely successful Range Rover Evoque. It will be formally introduced to the automotive world in November at the Los Angeles Motor Show.

This new addition to the Porsche list will be based on the same platform as the above mentioned Q5 but it will be more than just that vehicle in a posh frock. The Macan will make greater use of aluminium components which will make it lighter than the Audi to the tune of 130kilos.

Four-wheel drive is standard and it is expected to be powered, initially at least, by a choice of six-cylinder petrol or diesel engines. It may well be that the new four cylinder Porsche engines will make an appearance later on in the car’s life. As with the other models in the range there will be an S-version and the inevitable hybrid.

Along with the lighter body, the Macan will differ from its Audi sibling by utilising some different chassis parts and suspension tuning unique to Porsche. The cabin will be as well appointed as you would expect from this prestige car maker and will follow the style seen currently in the 911 and Panamera.

Obviously there will be the usual Porsche family resemblance. The tapered rear lights are reminiscent of the 911 but the big grill, bumpers and the butch stance are strictly Cayenne. The company is keen to disassociate the Macan from the idea of car as fashion statement. This may be due to the fact that they are a little late to the small SUV party and are therefore aiming for exclusivity.

The car is to be built at an enlarged factory in Leipzig. This means that there won’t be capacity for another model which may signify that the rumoured Pajun saloon is still some time away. In the meantime they are banking on the Macan which, at some ten thousand pounds cheaper than the base Cayenne, offers a genuine alternative to the big brother.

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Rally Aces To Contest Monaco Porsche Cup

As all F1 fans already know, the Monaco Grand Prix takes place on the weekend of 25/6th May. This legendary race is ably supported by supplementary events including the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup which is not the place you’d usually find WRC Rally drivers, yet it is so.

When at the Citroen Works Rally team, the now semi-retired Sébastien Loeb was often at odds with his younger team-mate and namesake, Sébastien Ogier, the current championship leader. Loeb still drives the occasional WRC event for Citroen but Ogier jumped ship and is now successfully campaigning the mighty VW Polo.

More often than not it was the younger Ogier who threw all his toys out of the pram whilst simultaneously taking the ball home because of the bias he felt was given to his legendary compatriot. Now the rivalry is being renewed but not on the WRC tour. Both drivers will be guest piloting Porsches in the support race at the Grand Prix. So instead of spikes there will be slicks; instead of the Col de Turini substitute Casino. This is the first time both drivers have gone head-to-head on a race circuit.

Loeb of course has previous form in race cars and has been expanding his driving career into endurance racing with a Le Mans win being his main objective after achieving a second place in 2006 in a Pescarolo-Judd. The legend has it that Loeb practices for the race on a Playstation 2. Ogier, on the other hand, is new to this and he has had only a couple of weeks to get used to the high-powered Porsche and its unpredictable handling.

No doubt more experienced hands are making sure he doesn’t attempt the Scandinavian Flick or handbrake turns at La Rascasse or Mirabeau and remembers that there will be a whole bunch of other cars at close quarters to contend with.

The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup has been the only GT racing series to be held at Formula One weekends since 1993 during which time the cars have developed immensely. This years version is the new 911 GT3 Cup developing 460 bhp from the 3.8L Boxer engine. This car is something of a handful and it remains to be seen how Ogier will fare amongst the much more experienced field. So if you see a car overtaking on verges and pavements then you’ll know who it is.

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Porsche Panamera Gets Greener

Once known as the brand that supped from the cup of the yuppie culture a couple of decades back, the Porsche name has managed to get well past all that nonsense to enter a new phase of popularity. The latest 911 is a state-of-the-art masterpiece (if you can get beyond the divisive electric steering) and the Cayman is simply one of the best drives that money can buy. The Cayenne is hugely popular with customers worldwide but it is the Panamera that is the big surprise.

On first impressions the car is not a looker – at least that’s what the reviewers at the time of launch thought – but it is clear from sales that customers don’t agree. In the USA it is a best seller and is sought after elsewhere around the world. Various styling tweaks have since made the car more appealing and the latest version should finally silence the critics.

As with other manufacturers in the prestige car sector, Porsche have been working with hybrid technology and it was first introduced into the Panamera in 2011. Now there is going to be a new version – the S E-Hybrid -which will be formally announced at the Shanghai Motor Show later in April. The original was good, this new one (pictured) should be even better.

The S E-Hybrid is the first plug-in Porsche. The plug is in the front grill and the lithium-ion battery can charge from a domestic point in about four hours, less from a fast charger. A full charge will give twenty two miles on electric power alone. The battery is topped up in use via a regenerative braking system.

The 4.8L V8 has gone and is replaced by a three litre V6 bi-turbo which on its own will produce around 320bhp. Add in a further 95 from the electric motor and the car will whisk the person with the requisite £90k (est) to 62 miles per hour in a sparkling 5.5 seconds and on to 168mph in fairly short order.

The most amazing aspect of this – remember this is a Porsche – is that the company are claiming 91mpg! Owners won’t get this in the real world of course but even a more modest figure of, say, about 70mpg is a bit of a triumph in a car like this. Even more impressive is the road tax and congestion charge busting 71g/km.

All the usual goodies are there including bi-Xenon lights, climate, parking sensors and so on plus the added security benefit of the Porsche Vehicle Tracking System approved to Thatcham’s category 5 level. Buyers will even get a complimentary driving experience at  Silverstone to learn more about their car. If the funds are available this has got to be the premier eco-drive available. All the joy of Porsche ownership with pleasure of knowing that the very best green credentials are on show.

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The Fall And Rise Of The Super Car

Over the past couple of years motoring writers have been hinting at the demise of the hypercar and indeed high powered sports cars generally. They have been saying that we must all look forward to a brave new world of economy, twin-air engines and the noiseless advance of alternative technologies. Endless streams of bureaucracy seem to support this.

Well, it turns out that car makers haven’t been listening and it appears that rumours of the death of the supercar have been greatly exaggerated. Following the Geneva Motor Show it is clear that many manufacturers see an on-going market for these great and powerful machines for those who can afford it.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black is a case in point. It has gull-wing doors, gulps fuel and causes cracks in the time-space continuum under acceleration and is, on the face of it, completely daft. So why do M-B insist on making it and why do we really, really want one – even if it means paying a quarter of a million pounds?

Porsche’s eminently useable 911 is fine but the company believes that what drivers truly want is a racing car for the road, which is why the 911 GT3 continues to be available in all its awesome awesomeness. In the same vein, Jaguar have been content – until now – to rest its sports car history on the E-Type from years ago so why, in these times of financial woe, would they even consider building and selling the new F-Type V8 S (pictured)? For around a reasonable £80k enthusiasts can buy this future classic which in its way is as good looking as the ancestor.

The Italians of course do not concern themselves with trivialities like global warming and the like; they much prefer to ogle the girls on the Via Veneto and drive cars from Lamborghini. There’s the new Veneno – a snip at £3.1 million – or for those less flush with Euros, the Aventador. It is also why Ferrari’s idea of a family hatchback is the FF and for a million quid will sell you LaFerrari, the replacement for the legendary Enzo.

The list goes on. Rolls Royce have raised the bar with the truly magnificent Wraith and Bentley are producing the GT Speed. If you don’t like two doors then the Bentley Flying Spur is the answer which has the same W12 engine and offers similar performance.

All this hot metal suggests that the furore surrounding climate issues and the need for eco-cars is settling down as manufacturers choose to give their customers cars that they want as well as cars that they should have. Great strides have been made in engine technology, so much so that the above mentioned SLS only produces 321g/km of the nasty stuff. Obviously that’s quite a lot but is way superior to what it would have been just a few short years ago.

If you still believe in alternative power sources but want an SLS they can do you a fully electric version for only one hundred thousand pounds more. It has a battery the size of a house coupled to four electric motors but thanks to something called the ‘SLS eSound’, makes noises like a proper car. The trouble is, most of us like meat with our potatoes. Which is why the true supercar will live on for a while yet.

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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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The Power of the Message

In the 1950’s and 60’s, so I’m told – plus what I’ve gleaned from Mad Men – smoking was not only harmless, it was good for you. Smoking made men smooth and urbane and women alluring and kinda sexy. This is, we all now know, a crock of poo and the truth is somewhat different. Such is the power of advertising and the public opinion generated from it.

Advertising is everywhere and most walks of life now come replete with commercial messages. We don’t even have to think for ourselves. All we have to do is sit on our comfy backsides – stuffing our faces with something we saw on the telly – and be told how to live our lives. From how to dress and what to put on our hair to what our homes should look like and what should be on our drives, practically every facet of our lives is taken care of. Such is the power of advertising as Aleksandr Orlov will be pleased to tell you.

Is it the product we like or would aspire to owning or is it the way in which it is advertised? The snarling TV advertisement for the Skoda Fabia VRS is a case in point. This writer has driven the car extensively and whilst it is a good car and a hoot to drive it will not, as the ad suggests, frighten off opposition from a Porsche, for example. It simply isn’t, as an American might say and if you’ll excuse me, bad-ass enough, despite its promoted image.

Fortunately, advertising is now monitored for taste, decency and accuracy – unlike the old days – and, to a certain extent children are protected from the worst of it but it is a major force in our lives. Car manufacturers know this and succeed with their campaigns because they are, in the broadest sense, truthful. They understand that no advertisement may encourage or condone dangerous, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving. This does not prevent flamboyant driving in scenes which are clearly fantasy or ‘theatrical’ so that the action is distanced from reality, though. They will appeal to our vanity, our common sense and our lifestyles. They will treat men and women differently, which is probably just as well.

So, is it the case that your choices are not your own, despite what you think? Is your mind made up before you even think about it? Are our lives governed by actions that have preceded us? Phew, after a while all this metaphysical stuff pecks at your head doesn’t it; but the fact remains we are sold cars for their perceived qualities and it is up to you, the customer, to make the right decision based on the facts. One thing’s for sure, the power of the message notwithstanding, we do get some great cars these days – and they don’t make your clothes smell.

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