By on July 11, 2018

Depending on who you ask, the 718 Cayman is the best car in Porsche’s lineup. It’s not the fastest or the nicest, and you’ll have to spend a bundle if you want it equipped with luxury features. But it does offer a reasonably entry point into pure driving enjoyment without a lot of gimmicks.

While a bevy of cheaper options exist, the 718 strikes a balance that’s difficult to beat. Most American rivals have the right spirit but not the necessary precision, and competition from Japan doesn’t really exist. We can praise the Mazda MX-5 or Subaru BRZ as an overwhelmingly satisfying experience all day, but neither occupy the same category as the $56,500 Porsche.

The 718 needs a mass-market rival that wears an identical price tag and hosts a similar personality, if only to force it to step up its own game. But there isn’t one — not yet, anyway. Mercedes-Benz is currently working on a successor to the SLC and, while that vehicle isn’t really fit for taking down the Porsche, reports have indicated its replacement just might be.  (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2018

Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.

It’s a question that comes up a lot more often than one would think, particularly in the lifelong molasses-sludge known as “middle-class American existence”: When purchasing a new (insert name of new thing here), should you get a fully-equipped or high-end item from an “everyday” brand, or should you stretch to the stripped-out base model of the prestige brand? I have a lot of admiration for the fellow who buys a Grand Seiko Spring Drive for the price of a plain-Jane Panerai or Rolex Submariner — but on the other hand, I think a plain wool suit from a Savile Row tailor is probably more desirable than the pimped Zegna Trofeo coats that have accompanied me around the world for the past 15 years.

The fashion comparisons are fun (for me, at least) but the majority of buyers are most likely to face this problem when car shopping. Loaded Camry or base Lexus ES? Yukon Denali or no-options Range Rover Sport? Nismo 350Z or Corvette Z51 1LT? Then, of course you have my pal Chuck, who after years of trawling Porsche’s bargain basement wants to try… something that isn’t much better, IMO.

(Read More…)

By on February 16, 2018

I’ve never met filmmaker Spike Lee, and somehow I doubt the two of us would be friends if we did meet. Yet I’ve admired his work since seeing “She’s Gotta Have It” almost 30 years ago. More specifically, I’ve always admired the way Lee holds all of his characters to account for their actions, regardless of their color. In a business that treated African-Americans as alternately evil or magical, Lee gave them the freedom to be real people: flawed, damaged, inspirational.

His fifth film, Jungle Fever, has been politely ignored for the last couple of decades, largely because it asks questions that are no longer permissible to ask in our single-opinion modern media culture. At the time, however, it was intended to be a bold statement both of Lee’s status as a greenlight director and his willingness to use that status to put the audience in some deliberately uncomfortable situations. Part of that statement included having Stevie Wonder write an entire album’s worth of original music to serve as the soundtrack.

That album, too, has vanished into the Orwellian ether, partially because of the cringe-inducing title track, but mostly because the music didn’t meet the standards set by Stevie in the Seventies. There’s one exception: the ballad “Make Sure You’re Sure.” Joshua Redman was the first jazz musician to hop on the train, but he wasn’t the last.

Which brings us to today’s question: When it comes to a trackday, how sure do you want to be?

(Read More…)

By on June 2, 2017

2007 Porsche Cayman S, Image: Porsche

I sure have enjoyed my European adventure, although as usual when I’m overseas, much of what I see makes no sense to my adopted-Midwesterner eyes. Here’s an example: Why is it that I see more Porsches out and about in my home town of Powell, Ohio, than I do when I’m visiting Germany? If I am on an Ohio freeway for 20 minutes, I will see a Porsche; if I am on an Ohio freeway for an hour and it is not snowing, chances are that I will see a real Porsche, meaning something with just two doors and an engine behind the driver. There are a half-dozen 911s garaged within a mile of my house of which I am aware, which means that there are probably a lot more of which I am not aware, because general awareness is not my finest personal quality.

You would think the place where they actually build Porsches (some of them anyway) would have a lot more of them than Ohio does, the same way that Ohio has a lot more Honda Accords per capita than you’d find in, say, New Mexico. It is not so. Unless you are in the immediate vicinity of the Nurburgring, Porsches are virtually non-existent on the roads of the Fatherland. Maybe they know something we don’t, or maybe they’re just not buying Caymans and Cayennes at the moment because they are spending all their money on subsidizing all those nice young fellows arriving from parts unknown.

Speaking of Porsches, it’s time for Part Two (Electric Boogaloo!) of Ask Jack: Stuttgart Edition.

(Read More…)

By on January 1, 2016

Crapwagon Collage

A new year has arrived, and with it the “celebration” of eight months with The Truth About Cars. As is custom, I’m looking back over the most popular pieces of the last year for easy clicks on a hangover day.

(Read More…)

By on December 10, 2015

2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder 01

Porsche announced Wednesday that it would change the model names for 2016 of its Boxster and Cayman models to “718 Boxster” and “718 Cayman” because there was once a race car in the 1950s and 1960s that had four cylinders and competed in a bunch of races, I guess. Either that, or Porsche is really into the Queens area code.

Oh yeah, and the company confirmed what we heard in September: the mid-engined Stuttgart machines will get a turbo fours instead of flat sixes from here on out. (Maybe GT4 models will retain the 3.8-liter six. Maybe.)

The name change seems, well, odd. Despite the loose association with a 60-year-old car, the switch to 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman seems to add a level of unnecessary naming convention for a German company that counts the ounces of its seatbelts for chrissakes.

(Read More…)

By on April 23, 2013

I used to work for Porsche. You already know this because I mention it in most of my stories, hopeful that you will go tell your friends “TTAC has a guy who used to work for Porsche!” to which they will reply: “Used to? Road & Track has fifty people who still do.”

Just kidding. The cars get good reviews because they’re damn good. I know this because when I worked at Porsche I had several 911 company cars, and the ones I didn’t crash drove tremendously. This sentiment was not echoed by my rear seat passengers, who often said things like: “This is really cramped!” or “You want to give this up to be a blogger?”

When I worked there, I had two main questions on my mind at all times. Traditionally popular in the morning, the first one was: “Can I get away with a two-hour lunch today?” But when I got back from lunch around 2:30, the rest of the day was spent pondering the second one: “What the hell competes with the 911?”

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2012

A couple of Instagram photos blew the cover of the next-generation Porsche Cayman. Yes, it looks like the Boxster, and under the skin it will probably be the same as well. More photos below.

By on June 4, 2012

And my reviews is unbelivable like flying saucers

/no more iron horses cuz I’m drivin Porsches

With apologies to Lamont “Big L” Coleman, but I’ve been waiting to use the hackneyed version of his famous punchline for some time. The only problem is that TTAC and Porsche are frenemies at best, adversaries at worst, ever since one of our resident Porsche owners said unkind things about the Panamera.

(Read More…)

By on March 19, 2012

Volkswagen will begin producing Porsche Boxsters at an old Karmann plant in Osnabruck, Germany starting this fall. The Boxster will be built alongside the Volkswagen Golf Cabrio.

(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2012

The newest Porsche Boxster is here, with lots more aluminum, some new engines and styling cues derived from the 991-chassis Porsche 911 that has just launched in North America.

(Read More…)

By on November 26, 2009

2012 Boxster spyshot. Clandestine picture courtesy carmagazine.co.uk

Last year, Porsche gave Magna an eight-year contract to build the Cayman and Boxster models from 2012 on. Magna engineers immediately went to work and toiled with tricky tasks, such as the stiffening of the Boxter’s body. Which they say wasn’t, well, stiff enough. Then Porsche went to Volkswagen. Then Opel came and went. Finally, Volkswagen bought parts of bankrupt Karmann and needed to use the capacity. Cayman and Boxster will be built in Osnabrück, Instead of the Boxster body, Magna was stiffed and asked to pound sand.
(Read More…)

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