Month: May, 2015
Originally Porsche released the Cayman to attract new customers to its brand. The cars were a much cheaper entry-level option and they helped create a whole new slew of sales that the company never had before. The Cayman along with the Cayenne pretty much saved the company, and now Porsche is moving beyond that initial entry-level stance of the Cayman toward a more performance-focused variant that can exceed 911 performance levels in some cases. The new Cayman GT4 is a powerhouse in its own right. It benefits from that exceptional well-balanced handling that makes it ideal for track driving, and comes packed with more power than a Cayman ever has before.
The Cayman GT4 relies on the same 3.8 liter flat six that powers the 911 Carrera S, but the way that the engine has to be installed limits airflow which drops the total power figure from 400 HP down to 385 HP. A total of 310 lb.-ft. of torque is available at 4750 RPM. The most impressive thing about this engine, other than its raw power, is the fact that it’s more powerful than what comes in a base 911 Carrera by 35 HP. Porsche has long avoided overpowering the 911 with its mid-engined vehicles until now. The car is expected to accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 4.0 seconds.
Dynamic and Fun Handling
The Cayman is known for exceptional handling thanks to its good solid mid-engine mounting. Now that it has so much power there’s no reason to believe that the GT4 can’t outrun some of the 911 models out on the track. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission, the same that’s used on the Cayman GTS. The car comes with a set of dynamic mounts that suspend the entire powertrain to allow improved control over driving feel. The mounts allow you to switch between a very tight suspension to a looser variation for switching from the track to more gentle driving conditions. The GT4 is also equipped with an adjustable anti-roll bar and a more rigid front strut suspension for improved handling.
Retains its Lightweight Body
Even though the Cayman GT4 is substantially more powerful and more durable than the Cayman S, Porsche claims that the weight of both vehicles is about the same. That means the GT4 should feel considerably faster than the other model, which will make it even more fun to tear up the tracks with. The GT4 could potentially get around a quarter-mile track in just 12.0 seconds with a talented enough driver behind the wheel.
The Cayman GT4 should be faster and more capable on the track than most 911 vehicles unless they are turbo charged or carry the GT modifications themselves. That’s pretty impressive for one of the more lowly mid-engine cars, and will make the Cayman even more desirable to own.
While it makes a lot of sense for brands like Toyota to invest heavily in online marketing and virtual interfaces to show off their vehicles, the same can’t be said for luxury offerings from automakers like Porsche. High-end luxury purchases are more of an emotional experience and you have to really love that new 911 to be willing to pay the exorbitant price tag attached with it. That’s why Porsche is investing heavily in its Experience Center just outside of Atlanta. The Center gives interested customers a chance to truly experience Porsche vehicles, and the automaker hopes that will result in an increased number of buyers overall.
Driver development track
One of the highlights of the experience center is the Driver Development track. This 1.6 mile circuit comes with a variety of challenges to help drivers tackle specific skills that they would like to enhance. The course offers a section to promote improved handling capabilities, another to help deal with low friction turning, one to help with general handling in low-friction situations and an off-road course for more extreme uphill and loose surface situations. Each person that decides to head out onto the track will be paired with a coach that will help them achieve specific goals while on the course. This is to help the driver remain safe and to help them get the most out of the experience.
The cars also come with a camera to give you the opportunity to keep a recording of the whole experience. Porsche is undoubtedly hoping that you’ll be inclined to share your experience with the rest of the world on social media, but either way you’ll have a fund memento from your day on the track.
Take a Look at Some Classics
Porsche maintains a large set of classic vehicles that serve as a sort of Porsche Museum for all the visitors who come in. Whether you want to get a look at one of the early race cars, or even the original Porsche Diesel tractor you’ll enjoy a look into Porsche’s past. The automaker is also making it possible for Porsche owners to display their own vehicles at the facility for a fee.
Enjoy Fine Dining
There is even a fine dining restaurant so you can eat well after a day of fun at the experience center. The 356 Restaurant is a modern looking establishment that’s a mix between a bar and a dining area. It has a casual atmosphere with the quality food of a top restaurant.
Get Evaluated for Racing
The human performance center will evaluate your readiness for actual racing. The dedicated medical personnel will take a look at your vitals and let you know how ready you are to go racing. It’s a fun way to check out your fitness level and it helps make sure that every driver that gets behind the wheel is
Driving Simulator Lab
Climb inside one of the simulated Porsche cockpits and try racing on different tracks around the world. The simulator offers a fun experience and gives you a chance to try out a variety of tracks that you probably wouldn’t get a chance to drive on otherwise.
All of this fun comes together in a memorable experience, and that’s exactly what Porsche is counting on. They expect around 30,000 visitors to make their way through the doors of the center annually, and the organization is hoping that each one will want to recount tales from the experience for years to come to any Porsche fans they meet up with.
While there is something special about a car with a massive amount of power packed under its hood, having a great deal of power doesn’t necessarily improve the driving experience. Many car owners who rave about Porsche vehicles don’t like them because their packed with power, but because they are lightweight and have excellent driving mechanics. It’s pretty cool to be able to say that your car’s packing over 700HP, but let’s be honest, how often are you going to be able to make use of all that power? Just think about this for a moment, in a car with over 700 HP you can reach 60 MPH in first gear. At that speed most drivers aren’t planning on turning the speedometer much farther, and there’s so much untapped potential being wasted.
According to Andreas Preuninger, Porsche’s GT car chief Porsche is going to stop chasing numbers in future iterations of its top vehicles. Sure numbers sell, but they aren’t what make a great car. What makes a great car is excellent driving mechanics and good steering feedback. These are all features that can be achieved with 400 or 500 HP just fine, and there realistically isn’t any reason to go higher than that.
More Power Means More Weight
Another thing to consider is that adding more horsepower to a vehicle means adding more weight as well. A more powerful car needs larger brakes, it needs a bigger engine, a more durable suspension and these are all things that take away from the driving experience and the feeling of power. Unless a car is crafted from very expensive materials such as carbon fiber, you won’t really feel all the added power that it has because it weighs so much more.
It’s likely that future generations of Porsche vehicles will focus on maintaining current horsepower levels, or even dropping back a bit and improving upon what matters most, driving mechanics. Through lighter vehicles, improved suspension systems and bolstered steering setups Porsche vehicles can still lead the industry and show everyone just how meaningless the horsepower rating really is.
Eventually if Porsche is able to pull away from the power war it’s likely that the rest of the industry will follow in the automaker’s wake. This should lead to more accessible vehicles that are more fun to drive around in, and maybe just maybe car weight will start going down again.