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2013 Cayman Test Drive
Is it a better car than mine? Does the electric steering ruin it? Do I want one?
Probably, not really and sort of, are the answers. My expectations from reading up on it were that it would be quicker, grippier, less tactile and more of a GT. Which mostly hits the nail on the head. There has been a definite shift upmarket even in the bog standard 2.7 I drove.
To the point that the cabin looks every bit as good as the new 911's. In the flesh it just feels expensive, luxurious and oozes quality. Ergonomically, it's a Porsche, there's nothing new here other than it feels a little larger than the old car. What is new are the new electronic bits and bobs. The handbrake being the first thing I'm not keen on. Ok I'd get used to it being electronic, it's more where it is. Which is nestled under the dash under the ignition. It's awkward enough to discourage you from using it at the lights. There's plenty of space on the centre console, what was wrong with there?
Also, I don't know if this is just me as this seems to be a common thing with most new cars I'm driving, but the brakes felt slightly over servoed yet again. Which from Porsche is dissapointing as they're usually very good at this. Again it's not a big issue and you'd adjust to it. Much like you do the electric power steering. Yep the thing that everyone was worried about isn't a big issue at all. Sure there's a loss in feel versus the old hydraulic system. But there's no loss in accuracy and, in all honesty, after I'd regestered that it wasn't as nice, I forgot about it.
The big win for me is ride. The new car on it's standard 18 inch wheels rides way better than mine on it's 17s. See, it CAN be done! The poise of the car is unchanged and though I didn't get any opportunity to thrapp it, the balance felt right. But man, you really need to experience how shit our roads are now to understand why I bang on about ride. I drove mine today and it was bloody horrible. It's the roads, don't get me wrong, but they're what we've got to drive on.
In summary, it's a better car for use every day. It's more comfortable, more grown up, more of a GT. It's been tweaked and honed. What it's lost is some of that raw edge the old car had that made it a sports car. As an only car, I'd recommend it. Likewise if there's only two of you I honestly can't think of a reason why you'd buy a 911 instead of it. I really don't. However for driving, I'd grab an earlier 2.9 or 2.7. These are still a proper sports car and offer more thrills for the enthusiast. Not to mention they're a bloody bargain at the moment.
Update: 2013 Boxster S PDK Test Drive
With the lid up it's as quiet, if not more quiet than my Cayman. It rides a hell of a lot better also, I'd even go as far as to say that the ride/handling balance is nigh on perfect. Again the electric PAS is absolutely fine and the brakes are a little sharp compared to what we're used to with Porsche.
PDK is damned impressive in auto mode. Probably the best auto box I've ever encountered. Ultra smooth and fast responding. But it detaches you from the process of driving, which in a sports car is not what I personally want. It means the car needs the 3.4 engine to feel exciting. Whereas with the manual box, I'd have just as much fun with the 2.7 as you're much more involved in the process.
I know it's the future, and I'm probably a neanderthal, but I played with the buttons for a bit and then just turned it into an auto. I could see me doing that with a PDK once the novelty wore off as it's so fast in auto mode, they're redundant.
Ultimately, the Boxster and the Cayman are now so close to a 911 in terms of being sports GT's now that the 911 is really only an option if you want four seats. The sad part is that they've lost some of the raw sports car edge they had. Which is a shame. But as an only car, now I'd have a boggo manual Boxster, even over the Cayman.
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