Thursday, February 9, 2017

fancying for a porsche - part 3

Obsessing for a Porsche. That should now be the title. Must be the assault of the worst winter we have here in the Pacific Northwest this year that causes me to be obsessing for a Porsche. As with all major purchases I have been doing a lot of deliberations with all options considered. There are technical, financial, emotional, and practical considerations. I try not to limit myself on just the Cayman. I should reiterate that what rekindle my recent passion for owning a Porsche was watching how Porsche manufacture their cars, and a video about 911R. This post consists of my recent thought ramblings and the research that I have done that will eventually help me decide which car to get. The last thing I want is to regret my purchase. Very few cars would work out to be an investment and I have no disillusion. My goal is the best ownership experience versus financial expense.

The problems with cars is they always get better, but you also lose something dear in the process. Most of the time you have to make concessions with each new generation compared to the old. All brands are downsizing their engines and this includes all the German brands and this is the facts of life. Even F1 GP have been downsizing from V8 to V6 hybrid. A strange world indeed for those resist change.

I am seriously considering a 6-speed despite the Porsche's PDK is one decent dual clutch transmission in the sea of dual clutch paddle shift posers. I have read complaints of the 6-speed being too tall but with the increased mid range torque the new turbo engine seems to me has partly redeem itself. I suspect most of the complaints of the tall gear ratio are people feels that they can achieve 0-60 mph time faster. For me this is so misplaced if you ever take your car to the track instead of doing drag racing from the red lights, or just cannot get this not so meaningful number off you head. The new Caymans both have improved roll-on accelerations which are important for road use.

I put my name down for a GT4 and I am in 13 spot. I don't think the odds are good that Porsche just switched to the B4/B6 engines for 911 and Cayman/Boxster that they will have a GT4 this year (Geneva Auto Show). Also should they did, few lucky ones in the head of the queue on the waiting list would opt not to buy it. Being 13th place in the Oregon queue the odd is not good. I think GT4 would be about $95k mark, which is about $20k over a new modestly optioned Cayman S that I would spec. I did some research for low mile 2015/16 Cayman S, GTS, and GT4 and the prices are very discouraging. Problem is with a lot of Porsche sports cars the owners think they have a collectible, especially now that the company just killed off the flat-6 for new 718s. When Porsche transitioned from air cooled to water cooled these people complained. Don't even get me started with the ridiculous prices of the air-cooled 911s.

Also buying a low mileage used requires making a lot of concessions. Color choice, and optional equipment that are negative in my book. The worst is the inflated prices right now until people begins to see that the new cars are better when all are considered. That will take time like all things tech. People can bitch and moan that the new delivers short, but over a long time horizon and look back one would see the incredible progress of technology.

revised chassis and suspensions
firmer springs and dampers
revised more direct steering ratios
wider torque curve
higher PS/torque
better roll-on acceleration
better brakes
1/2" wider rear tires
I can spec one exactly the way I want
I can take delivery in Germany
Optional PASM Sports that can lower the ride height by 20mm
improved interior styling (air vents, flush-mount central display)
improved exterior styling and lights

loss of razor sharp NA engine's throttle response
loss of the nostalgic flat-six engine and exhaust sound

My current thought of of option configuration is:
GT silver metallic paint
leather sport seats plus, black
20" Carrera S wheels
rear wiper
manual transmission (standard)
PASM sport suspension (20mm lower)
Porsche torque vectoring (this give you mechanical controlled diff lock)
GT sport steering wheel
Sport chrono package - I am undecided on this one
Factory (pickup) delivery

This modest options keeps the total price at about $75,000 from the $67,350 base.

with 20" Carrera wheels
 optional GT sport steering wheel - about 13 1/2" diameter

I have driven some 80s NA 911s as well as the explosive 930 turbo. The 930 was viciously explosive and dangerous with its untamed power and a relatively primitive chassis.

If only this is early 2016, I would likely pick a Cayman GTS among the purchase options, and knowing the 4-cylinder engines are on their way. Only if we can rewind the time machine. On the other hand, I am a history and tech buff and the significance of compress charged engines performance at high altitude never escape me. Engineering is always about reaching the proper compromise, all things considered. Porsche gives some and takes some away.

The new car is nearly every bit better than the old except the engine complaints. It is more refined outside and in when you pay close attentions to the changes.

I have some thoughts on the very common complaints with the engine and exhaust sound of the 4-pot engine. As I watched more videos it dawns on me that some of these people do not realize that their found the new engine's sound disconcerting has more to do with the 33% lower pitch of the 4-pot engine.

I have watched every available video on this car and read every available reviews on it, and there is the consistent complaints - the engine does not sound like the previous flat six and it sounds horrible. The engine and exhaust just sound rough. Here is my take on the common complaint and yet not one automotive journalist mentioned. The crackling when letting off the throttle is likely due to Porsche's engineering to reduce the turbo lag, by keeping the throttle open but restrict the fuel when you lift off the gas paddle. Among the review videos on Youtube, the German ones tends to be more positive than the English speakers. They also tend to be by younger drivers.

a young German owner taking the car to track day

this is the drag race between two 2014 with 6-speed manual and the 7-speed PDK

Cayman S PDK versus Lotus Evora S manual on track

718 Cayman S with PDK's 7.46,70 lap time at the Norscheleife in the hands of Christain Gebhardt

and a GT4 chasing a Lamborghini Aventador SV at the Nordschleife

This is a good video to compare the engine and exhaust notes of the new turbo engine versus the naturally aspirated six-cylinder though you have to factor in the manual gearbox in the GT4.

more GT4 at Nurburgring; he did very well despite missing a gear shift early on

this one with a GT4 is reportedly by Christian Gebhardt 7:42 - much more engaged driving than with a PDK; cannot help but to notice he does not rush the gear shifts like others do, as well as the automatic rev matching

Update: I wanted to be more certain Christian in the above video is indeed using Porsche's electronic controlled rev-matching. I paid attention to the illuminated indicators on the central console where these mode switches are. I had to look for the segments when the indicators are not awashed by the sunlight (at 1:11). I could see that he has the following switches on:
SPORT on - enable rev-matching
Sport Exhaust on - open the exhaust flap for less back pressure
Active Damper off - less stiff better suit Nordschleife circuit
ESC Off on - disable electronic stability control
ESC/TC Off on - disable traction control in addition to ESC

All these settings are consistent with Porsche's press release on the GT4. I also am curious at times when he downshifted 2 gears in one shot (like from 4th to 2nd at 2:30) does the rev-matching works as well.

here is the locations of the control switches in a typical GT4 that I found elsewhere

Walter Röhrl talks about the 718 at the press debut in Sweden

a funny video; if you give someone not car enthusiasts a ride on the track this video captured it well

I have been researching for the market prices of pre-owned low mileage 2015-2016 Cayman S, Cayman GTS, and Cayman GT4 to get some idea of the depreciation. I also gave some thoughts to buying a pre-owned, especially a GT4 which had the MSRP of $84,500. While there were under 1000 produced, I found no less than 25 on sale and nearly all but one are dealers.

As always I want to keep my options open, including a 911 Carrera S. A very modest optioned one would be about $107,170 from the $104,500 base price. That is almost a $30,000 more than the Cayman S.

Here is a great video on Nurbergring of and the Carrera S and the 718 Cayman S  by Christian Gerhardt; both with PDK and same tires (but not exactly the same sizes due to Carrera S' wider tires). One can also compare the engine sound emitted by both being driven to the limit. The new Cayman S tone is a grunt in comparison mainly because of the 33% lower pitch. Please note that the Carrera S is a 2015 with 3.0 twin turbo and the Cayman S is a 2016 with 2.5 single turbo. Lap times are 7:34 and 7:46 respectively. If you want the best performance and willing to forgo the pleasure of more driving engagement the PDK transmission is the choice. To this I am very torn.

sound of 911 Carrera S starts at 0:20; sound of 718 Cayman S starts at 4:18 to end

While there has been a lot of fuss generated by the automotive media about the Cayman going turbo with a loss of 2 cylinders. Not so much fuss on the 2017 Carrera's also going turbo with reduced displacements. The new engines for the base Carrera and Carrera S B6 engines share the modular architecture with the new Cayman B4 engines. Here is a good article of the new turbo Carreras.

these are some of the few videos of the Porsche factory that spurred my wanting one

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