Wednesday’s Words: Purist Bull$hit and the Porsche 718 Cayman S

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S

Maybe it’s a British thing, maybe it’s a nostalgia thing, perhaps it’s just purist bullshit.

The fact that the new Porsche Boxster and Cayman are arriving with turbo flat fours and no longer naturally aspirated flat sixes has caused a bit of an outrage with the Chairborne Warriors and Blood Purity Tests fanatics.  Their outrage comes not from having driven the vehicles, but from a look at press releases, and spec sheets.

That Porsche have run turbocharged race cars since the 1970’s, that Porsche dare put a turbo on a 911 in the mid 70’s, that Porsche had an inline four cylinder front engine car, then a V8 powered front engine car that offered, wait for the earth to stop spinning, an automatic transmission, and all this long before they decided to print money by building an SUV.,

But now, the latest (false) outrage is that the Cayman and Boxster have turbo fours.  The fact that everyone who has actually driven the latest generation says that they ride better, handle better, steer better, and, wait for it, drive better, is irrelevant to this crowd.

First it was Alex Goy from Carfection/RoadShow going on about the new Cayman, how it was better except for one thing, the noise, and even though this generation of Cayman was better in every way than the old Cayman, he’d not buy the new Cayman, he’d go for the last generation because of, the exhaust note.  Yes, he’d have the worse car because he prefers it’s noise.

Less than a week later Steve Sutcliffe from Auto Express puts out a video, coming to, for all intense purposes, the same exact conclusion!  It’s almost as if they were reading off the same script.

The new Cayman drove better, the turbo four-cylinder had far more torque making it much more drivable, the electric steering was better, the handling was a bit sharper, but, he too would rather have the old generation because the turbo four doesn’t sound as good as the N/A six.

So, let’s put this a different way, you are given two tacos to eat.  One is from a street vendor, the other is from Celebrity Chef Rick Bayliss.  In a blind test you like the street vendor taco just fine, it’s quite good, but the one from Bayliss is just that little bit better.  Now once you find out that the one you like better was the Celebrity Chef and not the street vendor, you declare, I’d not eat the better taco, because it’s “not authentic”

Just how much better is the new Cayman in the semi-reality that is the Nurburgring?  How about 16 seconds faster than the old model Cayman S and within 2 seconds of the Cayman GT4.  If it was 2, 3 or even 4 seconds you could say, driver, tires and or conditions render the difference mute on that long of a track, but 16 seconds is a HUGE difference and for all intense purposes a statistical tie with the GT4.

In daily driving, all reports are that the additional 70+ foot pounds of torque make for a much better daily driver and back road driver.  It’s not only the increase in torque but the shape of the torque curve that make it much better.

So you have to ask yourself what’s more important to you if you are dropping $65,000-$90,000 on a Boxster/Cayman, it’s it a better all around car, or is it noise.  Now maybe if the Cayman/Boxster is your fourth to seventh car in your fleet, and you have the luxury of being ultra finicky, then OK, I can see the test case where you would choose the lesser car because it has more perceived “character”.  For 98% of the rest of the Cayman/Boxster buyers, this is either their primary or secondary car, and 99.44% of the time I can Gare Un TEE you, they will choose better over “character”.

I was wondering if I was out here on the island of rationality, when none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning auto journalist, in fact, the only auto journo to ever with the Pulitzer, Dan Neil said in the Wall Street Journal, “The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S turbo offers a new, quieter sound. But even purists should note: This version is vastly superior to its showier predecessor.”

For those of you out there who lament the onslaught of turbocharged engines and naturally aspirated rapidly disappearing, get used to it.  Global Governments insist on imposing more restrictive fuel economy and emissions regulations, often times those Governments are voted in by the same journos crying about N/A motors going away (cue the Alanis Morrisette music).

I get that sometimes better isn’t better, but saying the new Cayman and Boxster are brilliant but you wouldn’t have it because of the engine note is past absurd.

RoundAboutShow #38 The “Scraping By” Episode

Whether you’ve washed your hair with soap because you ran out of shampoo, built a canoe out of drywall or even resorted to eating haggis, we’ve all had to make do at one point or another.  Join the RoundAbout gang this week as they barely scrape by in the 38th installment of the show.  If you’ve ever wanted to own a thoroughbred sports car but just don’t have the means, listen in to learn about a pedal-powered Porsche replica that’s built out of crap you’re guaranteed to have lying around the house.  Talk about making do with what you’ve got!  In similar fashion, a group of Chinese students built a replica Bugatti Veyron out of … wait for it … cigarette packs!  Learn about the hilarious vanity license plate that one tree-loving arborist wanted to snag for his ride.  Too bad the Michigan Secretary of State said “no plate for you!”  Now he has to make do with something else.  Enjoy all that and a whole lot … well, some more on this week’s awe-inspiring episode of RoundAbout, #38, the “Scraping By” episode.

Play RoundAbout Episode 38

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Featuring: Zach BowmanJeffrey RossMichelle NaranjoCraig Cole and Ben Sanders

RoundAbout records LIVE on Fridays at 6PM ET/3PM PT. Visit RoundAboutShow.comand click Watch Live to watch our webcast and look in on all the antics.

Steve McQueen

Over the last four or five years there has been renaissance of Steve McQueen imagery.  It could have been Ford resurrecting the some of the shots of Bullet when it launched the 2005 Mustang, but I thinkit started just before that.

McQueen was not only one of the great actors of his era, he was an iconic fashion image and a HUGE fan of all motorsports, two wheeled or four.  While the phrase might not have been coined for him, he epitomized it, “Men want to be him and women wanted to be with him”

There are many iconic images of “The King Of Cool” this happens to be one of my favorite, it comes from the end of the movie LeMans.  Today would have been Steve’s 80th birthday.


RoundAboutShow #25 The “Gold Medal” Episode

It’s the moment you wait for every four years: the RoundAbout Winter Games in which news stories compete for the coveted RoAb Gold Medal. A GM worker takes the medal in Road Warriorism as he racks up more daily miles than any of the competition. Meanwhile, a driver of a Silverado takes the award in Near Misses as he narrowly averts an unorthodox vasectomy. In the highly-competitive Stupidity category, a Bugatti owner (well, former owner) once again takes the prize. Plus Zach, Jeffrey and even Joey all have cars (and planes) In the Garage, and we have an Alaska edition of Meet Your Roadmates! 

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Porsche Experience TV

It’s amazing what you can find when you click through a few links.  THIS is pure GOLD.  Now, I’m no Porsche-phile, though I do like early 911’s, LUST after the 550 Spyder and really want a Boxster S, but in just watching a couple of these videos I really like what they are doing, these are well shot and well produced. 

This video is for one of THE MOST desireable 911’s the 1973 2.7 RS, 2150lbs!! and 210 horsepower will make for a great car almost any day.  You can find more of these videos here

Porsche On IFC

One of the things I miss in not having DirecTV is the IFC channel.  Jon Faverau’s Table For 5 was always a lot of fun to watch and I always wished it was longer than half an hour.

Porsche is celebrating their 60 years of history with this show on IFC, and they have put some really good clips of the show on their web site.  I really liked the way the musician related music to the driving experience.