Wednesday’s Words: Purist Bull$hit and the Porsche 718 Cayman S

2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S

Maybe it’s a British thing, maybe it’s a nostalgia thing, perhaps it’s just purist bullshit.

The fact that the new Porsche Boxster and Cayman are arriving with turbo flat fours and no longer naturally aspirated flat sixes has caused a bit of an outrage with the Chairborne Warriors and Blood Purity Tests fanatics.  Their outrage comes not from having driven the vehicles, but from a look at press releases, and spec sheets.

That Porsche have run turbocharged race cars since the 1970’s, that Porsche dare put a turbo on a 911 in the mid 70’s, that Porsche had an inline four cylinder front engine car, then a V8 powered front engine car that offered, wait for the earth to stop spinning, an automatic transmission, and all this long before they decided to print money by building an SUV.,

But now, the latest (false) outrage is that the Cayman and Boxster have turbo fours.  The fact that everyone who has actually driven the latest generation says that they ride better, handle better, steer better, and, wait for it, drive better, is irrelevant to this crowd.

First it was Alex Goy from Carfection/RoadShow going on about the new Cayman, how it was better except for one thing, the noise, and even though this generation of Cayman was better in every way than the old Cayman, he’d not buy the new Cayman, he’d go for the last generation because of, the exhaust note.  Yes, he’d have the worse car because he prefers it’s noise.

Less than a week later Steve Sutcliffe from Auto Express puts out a video, coming to, for all intense purposes, the same exact conclusion!  It’s almost as if they were reading off the same script.

The new Cayman drove better, the turbo four-cylinder had far more torque making it much more drivable, the electric steering was better, the handling was a bit sharper, but, he too would rather have the old generation because the turbo four doesn’t sound as good as the N/A six.

So, let’s put this a different way, you are given two tacos to eat.  One is from a street vendor, the other is from Celebrity Chef Rick Bayliss.  In a blind test you like the street vendor taco just fine, it’s quite good, but the one from Bayliss is just that little bit better.  Now once you find out that the one you like better was the Celebrity Chef and not the street vendor, you declare, I’d not eat the better taco, because it’s “not authentic”

Just how much better is the new Cayman in the semi-reality that is the Nurburgring?  How about 16 seconds faster than the old model Cayman S and within 2 seconds of the Cayman GT4.  If it was 2, 3 or even 4 seconds you could say, driver, tires and or conditions render the difference mute on that long of a track, but 16 seconds is a HUGE difference and for all intense purposes a statistical tie with the GT4.

In daily driving, all reports are that the additional 70+ foot-pounds of torque make for a much better daily driver and back road driver.  It’s not only the increase in torque but the shape of the torque curve that make it much better.

So you have to ask yourself what’s more important to you if you are dropping $65,000-$90,000 on a Boxster/Cayman, it’s it a better all around car, or is it noise.  Now maybe if the Cayman/Boxster is your fourth to seventh car in your fleet, and you have the luxury of being ultra finicky, then OK, I can see the test case where you would choose the lesser car because it has more perceived “character”.  For 98% of the rest of the Cayman/Boxster buyers, this is either their primary or secondary car, and 99.44% of the time I can Gare Un TEE you, they will choose better over “character”.

I was wondering if I was out here on the island of rationality, when none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning auto journalist, in fact, the only auto journo to ever with the Pulitzer, Dan Neil said in the Wall Street Journal, “The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S turbo offers a new, quieter sound. But even purists should note: This version is vastly superior to its showier predecessor.”

For those of you out there who lament the onslaught of turbocharged engines and naturally aspirated rapidly disappearing, get used to it.  Global Governments insist on imposing more restrictive fuel economy and emissions regulations, often times those Governments are voted in by the same journos crying about N/A motors going away (cue the Alanis Morrisette music).

I get that sometimes better isn’t better, but saying the new Cayman and Boxster are brilliant but you wouldn’t have it because of the engine note is past absurd.