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Formula Motorsports

Steering Straight

Fourteen short years ago, the world of Porsche was rocked when its fans heard that their beloved sports car purveyor was delving into the fashionable, luxury SUV space. Still in its infancy with only BMW and Mercedes Benz having a piece of i, it was a wisely calculated gamble from our friends in Stuttgart. In years prior, companies like Chrysler and Ford made a killing in the minivan market and SUVs were now the obvious replacement. Fourteen years later, it is safe to say that the executives at Porsche are heroes in both the eyes of shareholders and enthusiasts, alike.

The Start

The Generation 1 2003 Cayenne was equivalent to the Panzer tank, no doubt about it: robust, with an understated silhouette, limited gadgets, and 18’’ wheels that could take the pounding of NYC streets. Sure there were a few inherent issues like coolant line failures, rear trunks that would smack you in that little point on your skull that would knock you border line unconscious, and side marker faulty lights that beep still today, but overall, it was a great package. I myself had to wait 14 years for another Cayenne to come along that tickled my fancy. Generation 2 was, quite frankly, lacking innovation in my eyes. Maybe it needed a touch more interior sophistication that most any Porsche automobile should possess? And then, Generation 3 came along. Ahh, a new beginning! At first glance, there is a lot of glitz and glam. But believe it or not, all of those little buttons and pretty little screens on the dashboard actually do serve a purpose outside of impressing the date your trying to convince that evening.

The new Cayenne is as capable of an off-road SUV as it is a serious performance car. Having had the opportunity to test the Cayenne, S, Hybrid, Turbo, and exclusive Turbo S (MSRP 221K loaded), I can tell you that each of these models is worth its weight in gold. Okay, maybe I am getting a little carried away with myself.

OFF ROAD

Many…scratch that, very, very few us will ever be racing up Pikes Peak or negotiating a 70% decline with our Cayenne. But does that really matter? We would not argue that the 205 mph GT2RS is not a necessity, so the reality is that although the new Cayenne looks pretty and decadent, the technologies it possesses are second to none in the high-end luxury SUV space and provide a rugged off-road purpose. When choosing the off-road mode that best suits the adventure you’re about to embark on, you can choose to fully lock the multi-plate clutch, which from experience, sends the car up whatever (and I do mean, whatever) may lie ahead. Further, the electronically controlled rear differential included in PTV Plus can be fully locked in an additional mode. Brake assisted hill decent, air suspension and a slew of control provide the driver with effortless and limitless possibilities. Outside of a tree taking you out, there’s not much stopping the new Cayenne.

Performance

Wow! The Turbo and Turbo S alike are completely insane on the track. I kid not, the new Cayenne Turbo takes turns like a Cayman, brakes like a 911 and takes off like no other SUV I have ever driven. Gliding around a right-hander at 110 mph is confidence inspiring, and taking brake point 2, although it seems suicidal at first, is child’s play by lap two. PDDC Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control which reduces roll along with Porsche Torque Vectoring which, depending on the steering angle and steering speed, accelerator pedal position, yaw rate and vehicle speed, optimizes steering response and precision by selectively applying brake pressure to the left or right rear wheel. It is an effort to get the car to break away, even on polished payment with 2’’ of ice. Your right foot is wondering why your slamming down the accelerator over and over and I have no doubt that the car is also asking the same question.

Interior Appointments

Porsche exclusive has gone above and beyond in this department. There is a considerable difference in leather quality, as well as all carbon/aluminum/wood. I was fortunate enough to test a fully loaded Cayenne Turbo S that had every possible option: leather dash with deviated stitching; leather air vents and leather wrapped vent slates; two-tone seats; even a leather rear view mirror. It would take up the entirety of my allotted two pages to go through each of them. Let’s just say it gloriously smelled like the Dunhill flagship store on Madison Ave. The 18-way Adaptive space shuttle seats are comfortable enough that if you spent every penny you have on the options, you could still live happily in it with a family of four without a single complaint. The overall environment spews affluence and success. Trump would be the perfect spokesman for the car as it is clearly for a winner. As for me, I would be hard pressed to drop 221K on an SUV, but clearly there is a market for this type of exclusive, handcrafted interior. I could deal with the extended leather package along with 18-way seats and be content.

Overall Impression

Buy one. When deciding on your next SUV, whether coming out of a Range Rover Supercharged, Mercedes Benz AMG or BMW 5.0, ask yourself, ‘What is my driving purpose?’. If your answer is that you’re looking for an exhilarating ride while not compromising on reliability, then the Cayenne is for you. Another added benefit is the residual value on the Cayenne as opposed to all other SUV’s on the market today. Dollar for dollar, you cannot beat it against any other mark.

The New Panamera

WOW! Gone is the Chrysler Crossfire rear end, and so comes the ever graceful circa 1978 928 silhouette. The anticipation of a redesigned Panamera has been flooding social media around the world basically since the Panamera was first launched to criticism many moons ago. Yesterday’s unveiling in Berlin was a carefully orchestrated media event live streamed to millions. Certainly a success, but not without a minor hiccup one week prior. As usual, a Chinese blogger had the stock photo up a few days before, as we have seen with everything from new iPhones to nuclear tests in Korea. One I guess could make the argument Porsche leaked the picture to entice enthusiasts to watch the live stream and post it to Facebook- yes I was one of these people.

The 2017 Panamera is a ground up build with the latest gadgets and luxuries one would expect from a 500 million Euro investment. Buyers can choose initially between a 440 on the Turbo V6 and 550 horsepower Turbo V8 engine coupled with a 16% advantage in fuel economy- owe. Porsche will announce a Diesel to come at a later date- no thanks. Rear wheel steering, LCD screens just about everywhere, new bucket seats, and gear selector that rivals that of the Viking 92’ bow thruster. All of these systems will probably require at least a weekend and a bottle of scotch to learn, but I am sure once they are mastered will provide the driver with an effortless commute on the LIE @ 7am traveling at a blistering 15mph.

Porsche is claiming the new Panamera is the fastest production sedan in the world. Yes we have all seen the video from the Ring by now. For me this is not the selling point. For years I have been saying if you want a sedan buy a MB S550 since @ 100K purchase price you get all the luxuries a sports sedan can offer. NO LONGER. Porsche designers have stepped up their game and gone beyond the wish list of all the enthusiasts and soon to be former 7 series and S class clientele. The arrangement of gauges and driver position in relation to the road is comparable only to the 911. I have no doubt that this will be the best selling Porsche to hit the showroom floor, ever. At a starting price of 100K (yeah right), it is going to crush both BMW and Mercedes from every aspect. If your in the market for a wicked fast luxury sedan and have what I am guessing around 125K in cash burning a hole in your pocket call your Porsche dealer and get on the list now. The 2017 Panamera is sure to be the hottest car on the road this winter.

Rated R

911R -I love you. Typically a phrase reserved for your wife, child, or mother, but today many use it with the 2016 911R in mind. The new 911 R pays homage to the 911R of 1967 of which only 20 examples were produced. The 2016 911R had
production capped at 991 (of course), which makes it one of the rarest modern models from Porsche. Every few years Porsche comes out with some sort of unique 911 with a catchy name like & “Design Edition” “Black Edition” “Millennium”
typically to clear out the model generation chassis/panels to make room for either the facelift or completely new design. Enthusiasts and admirers alike take notice when a badging in particular occurs, such as GT, RS, GTS, and obviously R. For the past 25 years I personally have been waiting for a pure, honest, uncompromising 911 to hit the shelves of my local Porsche dealer. In the early 90’s it was the RS America and today it is the 911R. To say it was love at first site may be a stretch as the allocations had already been filled an oddly enough I was not given one, I knew I should have picked up a 918 with the Porsche financial 200 year payment plan. Once I got over the initial depression of not expecting a delivery of a 911R I decided to wait patiently to drive one. In the interim I spent my days drooling over images of the bucket seats and stripes down the hood. After many agonizing months of waiting I finally had a client bring one by for a protective wrap and obvious invitation to test the car out together on the Grand Central. Before reverse was even engaged I knew this was the 911 for me. The rattling of the flywheel, raw unadulterated sound of the exhaust, and snug fitment of my athletic physic in the houndstooth upholstered bucket seat sold me to the tune of 200K over list at the time. Before things go form PG to rated R in my driving experience lets looks at some quick stats:

2016 911R
911 Produced
3021 lbs. -seriously they could not shave the 21 lbs. to make it an even number 😉
6-speed gearbox
4.0-liter engine from the GT3RS
8500 rpm down from 8800 on the GT3RS due to the
6 speed manual transmission
500 horsepower
Auto Blip under sport mode for those of you with little feet
Carbon Front hood
Magnesium roof
Plexiglas rear and side windows (NON US)
Optional AC

1967 911R
19 produced and additional 4 prototypes
1764 lbs.
2.0 liter
210 horsepower @ 8000 rpm
Dual ignition
(1) Fitted with Sportomatic
Titanium connecting rods
Doors, fenders, hood fiberglass
No ashtrays or sun visors

Now back to the almost sexually explicit description of the first drive that may not be suitable for all readers. As I finally slide into first gear and released the clutch of which is almost orgasmic, the car took off with more grace than any other Porsche I have driven before. It was smooth but violent. Nervous but controlled. Sort of the utopian environment described to you at a young age of which you equated only to some girl named Mandy or Nicole. The scream from the 4.0 liter motor through the exhaust is only comparable to “watching a movie” in the basement of your girlfriends house in high school. Brakes, well the PCCB is just perfect-nuf said. Driver comfort? Oddly enough it is like a Lexus with a tubular chassis and RS spyder driving position coupled with a 959 sense of entitlement. The rest of the experience I am holding onto as to share it would leave the readers blush. If/when at all possible get behind the wheel and I promise the experience will be __. I LOVE THIS CAR.