Month: January, 2015
Since Porsche first launched the Cayman back in 2006 there has been a steady level of controversy around the vehicle with car fans stating that it would be a better vehicle than the renowned 911 if it were given enough power. Now that it’s been juiced up with the release of the beefier Cayman GTS fans will have a chance to see if those claims are true, or just a bunch of hot air.
Mid-Engine is Superior
Most fans mark the Cayman as the better vehicle because it has mid-car mounted engine, while the Porsche 911 has a rear-mounted engine. This theoretically provides more balanced handling to the Cayman and would let it travel around corners more effectively than the 911. Motor Trend decided to put this theory to the test, and they put together a test to compare the Cayman GTS to 911 models to see how it stacks up.
The Cayman GTS is one impressive specimen with its 3.4 liter 24 valve engine that produces 340 HP and 280 lb.-ft. of torque. The car takes off at a blistering pace when handled properly and can hit 60 MPH in just 4.4 seconds. The mid-mounted engine helps with the acceleration, but so does the lightweight body. At just 3,083 lbs. the Cayman is hundreds of pounds lighter than any of the 911 models while only having 10 less HP than the 911 Carrera. All of this can be had for a base price of $76,195. Not too shabby when you consider that the base 911 Carrera comes in at $84,300.
Toppling the Giant
During testing the Cayman completed the quarter mile in just 12.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 180 MPH while doing it. The really impressive feat completed by the Cayman GTS was the sprint around the Motor Trend figure eight track in just 32.8 seconds. That’s a faster time than any Porsche 911 was able to obtain other than the turbo models as well as the GT3. That means that when it comes to those curvy sections of road the Cayman outmatches all of the standard 911 Porsche models. That’s pretty impressive for a model that’s more affordable than any of the 911’s and considered second class compared to the flagship model.
What the GTS Tag Really Gets You?
Other than the 15 HP power increase and the 7 lb.-ft. torque increase over the Cayman S, there are a few additional upgrades that paying for the GTS will provide you with. The car comes with frosted headlights and taillights that give it an edgy look. It also has blacked out exhaust tips and a pair of blacked out front air intakes that are quite a bit larger in size. There is also the GTS badging all around the vehicle, and some minor interior refinements to enjoy, but overall the Cayman GTS is quite similar to the Cayman S.
If you’re a 911 enthusiast you might not like hearing that the Cayman GTS is better at anything, but it clearly beat out most of the 911 lineup at highly curvy tracks. Sure the 911 is faster on the straightaways, and it can take the Cayman on some of the more subtly curved courses, but when it’s time to bob and weave the Cayman GTS is a blast to drive and it really holds its own.
911 and convertible fans were collectively dribbling all over their television sets and computer screens when the Porsche 911 Targa was released just a year ago, and now they are upping the ante with a more brutal machine residing in that same attractive exterior. The 911 Targa 4 GTS offers more performance capability for an even more exciting experience for drivers looking to push the limits.
At the Detroit Auto Show this week Porsche showed off the next generation of their 911 Targa. It comes packed with a 3.8 liter boxer engine that puts out around 430 horsepower overall. The full power isn’t available until the vehicle climbs up to 7,500 RPMs, but revving that deep throaty engine is half the fun of driving it. It’s also said to have sharper handling features that give the car a sportier feel when driving it around than the base model.
The GTS comes with a seven speed manual transmission as standard, but you can opt for the PDK automatic double-clutch instead to improve acceleration times slightly and make driving the car easier. It climbs from 0 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds with the manual tranny and manages it in just 4.1 seconds when you slap in the PDK. Either way it’s one fast convertible.
One downside to the vehicle’s engine layout is that you only get about 4.4 cubic feet of trunk space in the car. You’ll have space for just a bag or two which will restrict how far you can go and what activities you can complete in the vehicle, but that doesn’t take away from how much fun it is to drive around.
It Comes at a Price
Neither the Targa 4 or its GTS variant are very cheap with both priced in the six figures, but the Targa is available from $101,600 while switching to the GTS version bumps the price up to $132,800. The not so subtle price difference does offer more than just a performance boost however. The car comes with enhanced features within, and many of the improvements are addons that you would have paid extra for in the base Targa.
There is no information released about what the fuel efficiency figures will be for this little powerhouse, but they should be worse than the not-so-stellar 18/26 on the base Targa, and that’s if you drive the vehicle conservatively, so prepare yourself to fuel up before you go cruising.
For a luxury sports car manufacturer such as Porsche SUVs are tricky things to sell. The maker has to do a balancing act between the off-road capability that everyone expects out of an SUV while maintaining that on-road performance aspect that people expect from an automaker such as Porsche. They’ve managed to do this quite well with the Macan and that’s probably why they take every opportunity that they can to show off how well it handles and how well-built this vehicle is. A recent video by Porsche highlights some of the most exciting performance features and capabilities into the Macan. It’s one of many out there about the little performance SUV today, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive.
Porsche Traction Management
Porsche has released a few different videos showing the off-road capabilities of the Macan, but let’s be honest, how many people are really going to bring this low-riding SUV through rough muddy and off-road courses? This video does a good job summarizing all the different suspension and handling features had by the Macan, but the most impressive portion shows the vehicle gliding capably across smooth pavement that’s covered with a pretty thick layer of water.
The Macan is a very capable SUV that can handle adverse road conditions better than the average vehicle. Not only is it a beautiful luxury SUV with enough power to make for an exciting ride out on the track, but all of the traction control features and careful engineering makes it a very safe vehicle to operate. You can count on it to get you where you’re going, and with a good pair of snow tires I have no doubt that it would be a pretty capable winter driver as well, if buyers decide they want to bring it out of the garage in those cooler months.
If you’re looking for a more exciting family vehicle with a very luxurious look and feel, the 2015 Macan’s a pretty tantalizing option. It’s certainly not a pure sports vehicle like most of the cars sold by Porsche, it’s actually something more. It’s a great little performance SUV that can burn rubber on the tracks and handle some pretty nasty road conditions, and Porsche will continue to show off those capabilities as they work to persuade buyers that the Macan is worth every penny that they are charging.
A short time ago Porsche was considering introducing an even more affordable entry-level vehicle than the Cayman, but has since decided to scrap that project crushing the hopes and dreams of some Porsche enthusiasts hoping for a more forgiving point of entry. Although they decided not to offer a more affordable model, that doesn’t mean that Porsche’s cost of entry is going to remain the same, and it’s likely buyers will be able to grab more affordable Porsches in the future through more low cost 718 variations of existing models.
The 718 Project
The more affordable vehicle was dubbed the 718 project after the renowned vehicle that carried Stirling Moss to victory in many different distance races back in the 50’s and 60’s. Even though Porsche decided that they wanted to ditch the product, they still wanted to keep the 718 name and make use of it in some of their vehicles to try and preserve that piece of history. That’s where they got the idea to offer new entry level models of the Porsche 911.
Say Goodbye to the Boxster and Cayman
It’s likely that Porsche is going to do away with both the Boxster and the Cayman name tags in favor of additional 911 variations instead. Porsche will simply add in a range of 718 models to its flagship 911 vehicle and offer a range of different powered vehicles in the process. They have been developing a flat-four engine for these more affordable variations and it’s believed that they still intend to make use of them in the 718 variations. There are two different displacements expected in the engine and three different power outputs. It’s expected that the new engine will produce 285 HP, 360 HP or 400 HP depending on the model variation that it’s in.
While none of this information is currently official and it could still change, Porsche is expected to release some new variations in 2016 and 2017 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 718 variation available at that time, at a more reasonable price than even the Cayman is today.