LA Auto Show: Porsche Finally Kills the 911

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

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?”

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  • 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.

  • Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
  • Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
  • Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
  • Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.
  • Inside Looking Out I did not notice, did they mention climate change? How they are going to fight climate change, racism and gender discrimination. I mean collective Big 3.