Monday, March 20, 2017

fancying for a porsche - part 8

Although my GT4 arrived last Thursday only today that I can legally drive it. The dealership in Florida that handle the transaction neglected to ship the car with a temporary license plate though I paid for as well as the processing of Oregon license plates. The temporary license arrived via Fed Ex this morning.

As the vehicle is not yet broken in, I need to remember to be gentle with the drivetrain and not to take too many short drives. Today I went for a drive on the freeway to put some mileage on it before the shower comes. I also programmed the Homelink garage door opening that is built into most new cars.
One thing I have to be honest is other Porsche owner complains about the electric power steering being numb with little feedback. It is very truth, compared to that in the Mini Cooper S. My Mini is one of the earliest cars that transitioned to electric power steering and you would not know it except the whine of the electric motor when you turn the wheel at low speed.  It has much better feedback compared to the GT4. I think this has to do with the Mini being lighter and with narrower tires so there is less power assist, hence more feedback. Additionally the steering wheel in the GT4 requires too little force to turn to my liking, compared to that of the Mini. The grip diameter is slightly larger in the Mini so works better in ungloved hands.

the steering wheel in the Mini has the exact 320mm diameter as the GT4's but with thicker grip that I love

the steering wheel in the GT4 has a skinner grip - for track use which most folks wear driving gloves

Getting in and out of the bucket seat is not hard, providing if you can swing the door wide open. To not to crush and cause wear and tear to the side bolster of the bucket seat the trick is to support one's weight with the steering wheel on one hand and the door sill with the other. The backrest angle takes some time to get used to as I am accustom to slightly more inclined. The back is a bit more curve to my liking but I think I would get use to it. It is quite well padded and I am not bothered by the firmness.

The ceramic composite brakes feels quite different from steel rotors. They have more grab right away and also make this sound like one rubbing two sheets of paper against each other. The rotors are the size of a family pizza - among the biggest brakes around. For me this is the most powerful engine of any cars that I've ever owned. There is so much power that often you can be in too high a gear and not need to gear down if you are too lazy to.

I prefer quiet cars so the exhaust sound adequately sporty most of the time with out the need to turn on the Porsche Sport Exhaust. I am glad Porsche give you this option as on a long drive, switching on the PSE would become very fatiguing for me. Needless to say, at any highway speed this car is incredible stable and give one the confidence that you can do anything with it. There is so much power and so much brake, and with the handling to go with. Acceleration and deceleration are effortless.

Oh. Did I mention there is this new Porsche smell? It is quite pungent and just a passing novelty. It gives me nausea in no time. Now I leave the windows open when parked in the garage to air out the outgassing.

I should mention the ride on roads. It is not harsh at all despite the stiff suspension with very little travel, and low profile tires. The ride is supple. I do leave sufficient space from the vehicle in front so I can react to rough pavement transitions and especially potholes that can do serious damage to the wheels. The gear shift lever is pure joy with it precise and short throws. The steering though is too light to my liking, is extremely quick and precise.

the Mini's white paint appears so creamy in comparison to the Porsche's white

a sunny sky is the worst for photography but the iPhone's HDR mode really helps

I took many photos with my Canon 7D DSLR but they cannot hold a candle to that of the iPhone with HDR. The snow white paint and black wheels just have too much dynamic range for the digital imaging sensor unless HDR multi-exposure composite is used.

the black wheels are very difficult to photograph even with HDR mode; I have to post-process by reducing the contrast so the wheels and tires do not melt into a black glob

this photographer really done an excellent job with his thoughtful location and composition

I took these shots at Fry's parking lot with HDR

One thing that concerned me was the visibility from the cabin's rear view mirror. I feared that the big rear wing would block much of the view (for situation awareness). It turns out it is not bad at all despite the wing bisects the rear window vertically. Have the car came with the Club Sport option which includes a half roll cage, the visibility through the rear window would be mostly blocked.

this photo would be awful without HDR mode


  1. Beautiful car! Are there any options to improve the steering feel?

  2. No option for the GT4. But with the normal Cayman and most Porsche there is a Park Assist Option, which further reduce the effort to turn the wheel at low speed. It is in a 718 Cayman S that I test drove I knew right away when it kicked in. I wonder why anyone would want such horrible thing. I think in time I would just adjust to the light steering feel.

    1. I mistaken the Park Assist. It is called Sport Steering Plus that further reduce the steering effort at low speed.

  3. I still think about my long gone Saab 900 classic which had firm steering, heavy brake and clutch travel, and a solid but smooth shift. I don't get the trend to make cars soft, especially that Porsche has succumbed to it. I guess at the end of the day they still have to sell cars. I think you will adapt to the feel, maybe this is just us old school guys expecting things to be how we are used to!

    1. I was once attracted to the 900 too. My friend in college bought a jet black Saab 900 Turbo and we were all envies. The 900 is endearing in the quirky ways and is so un-BMW that is anti-BMW. Actually as I drove the GT4 more, I notice the steering is not as bad as my initial impression, especially the feedback and counter-force on curves with significant camber. I wonder if the power assist is inverse proportional to the speed. On a lot of car, in order to achieve quick steering, power assist is a necessity. Only extremely light cars like Mazda MX5 or Lotus can do so without power assist.