Photos from Porsche's North American website. Written by Drew Geier.
As some of you may have read elsewhere on the internet, Porsche's GT division's Director of Automotive Projects (loosely translated from German), Andreas Preuninger, has said that he likes to see his cars being used. Presumably, some of this usage will be on race tracks and various people who know stuff about track driving cars have long held that Porsche is one of the best marques to be found on a track. For a long time, I was unsure about what sort of fine engineering could really go into a car, since the numerical figures of the car didn't scream "incredible and beyond compare." The cars had big tires, sure, and good looks, but what was behind the lacklustre numbers? A flagship model shouldn't be around ~450 bhp without some sort of explanation.
Well, it's that you had to dig deeper into the actual experience. I recently had the opportunity, thankfully, to drive a Cayman GTS, Scion FR-S, and Mazda RX-8, while also riding shotgun in other cars like Nissan 350Z, Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8R Track Pack, track-prepped Subaru BRZ, and even a ~500 HP Subaru WRX STi in the same track, in similar weather conditions. In fact, you can read about the RX-8 review here: (https://www.melonsbetterdriving.com/better-drivingmotoring/rotary-revelation-i-drove-an-rx-8)
Each of these cars had some very large differences, of course, but all were more similar than you may expect in terms of the actual characteristics of the car. Each had a 6 speed gearbox, each had roughly equivalent horsepower, except the FR-S (192) and WRX STi (~500) Every other car had between 220 horsepower and 360. They all had sporty engines with high redlines, and were generally small-to-medium-sized sports cars with RWD, again excluding the WRX STi. They all had equivalent tire sizes, around 245mm wide, excluding the Cayman and the Scion FR-S. They all even had roughly neutral weight distribution, at nearly 50/50% for each car, with minor deviations for the Nissan, Hyundai and Porsche.
Numerically, then, they are competitors against each other, to some extent. But, in terms of driver feeling and overall impression, they are polar opposites.
I never understood Porsche, and how they could offer a car with similar performance figures for as much as twice as much as an equivalent rival. I never did, that is, until I drove it. The Porsche Cayman GTS has the best engine I have ever experienced. It's not too powerful, but, it's the most happily responsive, loyal dog or trusty steed of the dinosaur-burning world. It feels like it was built with magic, beyond the realm of human engineering. Entering a corner is no longer a part of a track-driving lap. The revs build instantly, as if the car knew to blip the throttle before your foot had even touched the throttle pedal. It's an art-form. It's an experience. It's an event. It's having ice cream, and sex, while puffing a spliff and listening to Rachmaninov's Vocalise. You didn't know just how great that is, until you had experienced it all at once... Not that I have, since, you know, marijuana's only being legalized here next year. You get the idea, though. It's a cacophony of noise directly behind your ears, swelling in the least time you could ever imagine it. The gears are crisp, and the changes are smooth. It doesn't feel like a gear shifter. It feels like Michelangelo's paint brush. You're creating art for your ears with the smooth-revving flat-6 behind your ears. You're creating a symphony while also gliding a paintbrush around the track, leaving stroke-marks of blackened rubber. The other cars feel dull and soulless in comparison, which has nothing to do with the numbers and nothing to do with the other cars. They're great. But, they're not Porsche-great.
So, why the hell would anyone treat a car like this as a "hedge-fund" investment? The car deserves better treatment than that. The car deserves to be driven. The car deserves to be seen and heard. It's a moving art expo. To buy one, and then promptly sell it without having even driven it is a colossal waste of your greatest opportunity to own a great car. If you're one of the people Andreas Preuninger is talking about, you're missing out. Life's too short to try to profit on a Porsche without driving it first. You can't take the money with you, but the experience of a properly great car will stay with you forever.
If you want to buy a limited edition Porsche, just to resell it for a profit, we will find you, and we will prevent you from ever buying another Porsche again. Good luck.
Riley Mercer is a Canadian funny man with an interest in cars. He drives tow trucks for a living, attends colleges and universities, and hopes to build a Nissan 240SX with an AWD powertrain as an all-around hobby build, doing everything from drag racing to time attack.