Published in the April 2018 issue of “Die Porsche Kassette”

Ⓒ2018 Technolab /

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Happy Porsche'ing,

Can an efficient car evoke emotion?

There are many efficient cars that evoke zero [driving] emotion from its owners.  I’ve test-driven several and all have been blah.  One of the upper-scale full-electrics blew me away with its insane acceleration, but after a few minutes it too became blah.

With the environmental squeeze on, and the requirement of forever-more efficient and silent vehicles, Porsche needs to answer that question before it embarks on its immediate future.  They find themselves again at another crossroad in time and are being forced to make decisions that will drastically impact their production lines in the months to come.

Porsche, the winningest marque at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with 19 overall first places, just ended their involvement in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the IMSA Sports Car Championship, among others, and has announced its entry into Formula-E starting in 2019.

This realignment is derived from the direction set out in: “Porsche Strategy 2025”, which will see Porsche develop a combination of pure GT vehicles and fully electric sports cars, and that strategy is well under way.  Following the launch of the 911 GT3 and the 911 GT2 RS in late 2017, Porsche now also offers the 911 GT3 RS, its third road-approved sports car within a year.

We just saw how the Boxster and Cayman platforms lost their flat-6 power plants in favor of smaller flat-4 turbocharged (2.0L and 2.5L) boxer engines starting with model year 2017 and the new Carreras are now being offered with a similar smaller-than-usual (3.0L) turbo, albeit flat-6 engines.

The Boxster/Cayman decision has been very criticized in most sports car magazines, Internet forums and amongst Porsche enthusiasts, where the main disappointment is the Subaru-ish exhaust note that replaces the intoxicating, screaming Porsche flat-6 that we all grew to love.

Overall Porsche retail sales have continued to rise, but the increase is due to the Panamera and Macan platforms exclusively.

For 2017, Carrera retail sales were flat (0% growth), Panameras were up by 51%, Macans were up by 11%, but Cayenne (-15%), and Boxster/Cayman (-19%) were significantly depressed.  We are now hearing rumors that the Boxster/Cayman platform is in jeopardy and may be nixed altogether for the 2020 model year.

Could it be that our beloved sports car brand has jumped the shark? 

My guess is that it has and I think that many of you also suspect it. 

Only time will tell and I truly wish I’m wrong.

There is a saying:  “Your car will never be worth more than it is worth today”.

Well, that’s not the case anymore if you own a 986 and/or a 996. 

Both of these platforms, which had experienced year-over-year decline in their used sales prices since their respective introductions in 1997 and 1999 respectively, held their own during 2016 and have started to rise in value since early 2017 and that upward trend has carried over into 2018 as well.

I believe that it is because of a combination of two things:

1.- Many owners truly thought that they had ticking time bombs with the IMS issue and were dumping them, hence the lower prices. Now that there are proven fixes to the IMS on the market, the platforms have gained back some trust and renewed interest.

2.- With Porsche’s decision to drop the flat-6 engines in favor of turbo flat-4s (efficient), the desire to hear and feel a flat-6 screaming as it reaches red line is more important than having higher performance numbers with lackluster sound (emotion).

And if Porsche does decide to discontinue the Boxster/Cayman as is rumored, watch the prices of the 996/986 rise just like the 993s did once they became the last of the air-cooled Porsches.

So if you have one of these cars, hold on to them or you could say one day:

“I wish I would have never sold that car”.