LA Auto Show: Porsche Finally Kills the 911

OK, that headline’s a bit, uh, controversial. But the new Cayman/Boxster revealed at the LA Auto Show is the beginning of the end of the 911. And why not? The “entry level” Boxster is, fundamentally, a better car than the 911. Well duh: mid-engined vs. ass engined. Porsche realized this, uh, discrepancy from the beginning, and hamstrung the Boxster’s powerplant– until the introduction of the “Why the Hell is this More Expensive than the Convertible?” Cayman. By slotting in a 3.4-liter six amidships. the Sultans of Stuttgart finally pumped-up the volume on both the Boxster AND the Cayman. And now, amazingly, they’ve done the right thing. TTAC commentator and new contributor 993C4S reports that “Porsche’s 911 Carrera can hit zero to sixty in under 5 seconds. Well guess what, so can it’s baby brother, the new Cayman S (so long as it’s equipped with PDK and optional Sports Chrono Package). Here’s the skinny…

The new Boxster and Cayman gained slightly modified sheetmetal and power over their predecessors, to the tune of 10 and 20 horsepower respectively. Porsche’s “basic” Boxster now develops 255hp. It’s more expensive sibling, the Cayman, puts out 265hp. S-wise, the Boxster S ascends to 310hp, while the Cayman S gets 320hp (up by 15 and 25 bhp respectively). Porsche attributes the increased performance to the new Direct Fuel Injection system, standard on both S models.

Coupled with Porsche’s Doppelkupplungsgetriebe or PDK (that’s double-clutch to you and me), both new models reduce fuel consumption by more than 11 percent and as much as 16 percent. The Cayman S now delivers 26mpg (Cayman S). A new suspension, bigger wheels and better braking, from the latest generation of the Porsche Stability Management, complete the mechanical upgrades.

In case you missed it, here’s the most important part of the story: Porsche now offers a mid-level, mid-engined model whose performance numbers match those of the marques flagship 911 (even it is only the base model Carrera). Who knows what the unleashed engineers could develop next? How about a Cayman Turbo?”

Join the conversation
2 of 15 comments
  • JEC JEC on Nov 21, 2008

    Sure sure, and wasn't the 928 supposed to kill the 911 in the 80s? Just like the BMW four cylinder bikes were supposed to kill the ancient airhead boxer twins, but CUSTOMER DEMANDS overrode the ideas of the factory. People were simply unwilling to give up the old stuff. In BMW's case, it was a clear-cut victory for the four - liquid cooled, overhead cam, fuel injected, making 90hp from 1000cc at launch, a (gentleman's limited) 100 hp when they switched to four valve heads. The airhead of the period made about 65 hp tops in the 1000s, and was air cooled, pushrod, agricultural and had a direct link to the engines that were being produced in the 1930s (look at a Wehrmacht R75 and compare it to a 1970s R bike). The four cyl was a winner on paper, but people liked the rugged simplicity of the ancient twin. And guess what, BMW STILL makes the boxers as the meat of their lineup, albeit in a modernized form. How do I know all this? I owned one of the first four cyl BMWs, a 1985 K100RS, while my dad has one of the old boxers, a 1973 R75/5.

  • NoSubstitute NoSubstitute on Nov 21, 2008

    The Cayman S is the first and only great sports car Porsche has come up with since the introduction of the 911. It's a fantabulous driver, a bargain compared to its big brother, and just all around wonderful. That said, I don't want one. But I always want a 911. It's just cooler looking. It's roomy and practical; those "useless" backseats are used endlessly by everyone who owns one (try putting your dog in the back of a Cayman). Most of all, there's the intoxicating weirdness of driving a backassed pendulum. If you haven't driven the cars, do. Better isn't better. Fun is better.

  • Islander800 That is the best 20-year-on update of the Honda Element that I've ever seen. Strip out the extraneous modern electronic crap that adds tens of thousands to the price and the completely unnecessary 400 pd/ft torque and horse power, and you have a 2022 Honda Element - right down to the neoprene interior "elements" of the Element - minus the very useful rear-hinged rear doors. The proportions and dimensions are identical.Call me biased, but I still drive my west coast 2004 Element, at 65K miles. Properly maintained, it will last another 20 years....Great job, Range Rover!
  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Corey. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.