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Automotive Section


Porsche Macan Turbo: fast family hauler

Sport utility vehicles are a dime a dozen these days, but it seems as if utility is found more universally in the niche than is sportiness.

Nothing wrong with that, of course; flexibility of use is one of the things that make SUV's and/or crossovers so great, and so popular.

But what if you want as much sport in your sport ute as you do ute? That narrows the list somewhat and may help lead to a perception that these "tall cars" are anything but sporty – and that they may even be prone to rolling if you try inflicting some enthusiastic driving on them. This is poppycock, of course.

Now Porsche has invaded a new SUV/Crossover niche with the Macan, a downsized – nearly "cute ute" – sport utility vehicle that's very nearly as much a tall sports sedan as it is a small Cayenne. more...

Porsche Macan and Boxster GTS – two new ways to love the marque

There's a new Porsche SUV and an upgraded version of the Boxster roadster in town, and both of them are about as great a value as one could hope for from the German maker of premium vehicles.

Porsche's first SUV, the Cayenne, caused a wee bit of controversy when it was announced a decade and more ago. Porsche has now filled another non-traditional market niche for it – the small SUV – with the new Macan and if you like the Cayenne but found it a tad big for your lifestyle you'll probably love the Macan.

The Boxster GTS, meanwhile, is more of a trim level than a whole new model of Boxster and that's okay because the garden variety Boxster is a heckuva car. So while the GTS package means you only get 15 more horses than you do with the S (330 instead of the S's 315), you get a whole bunch of stuff that would end up costing you more – Porsche's Packaging Penchant being what it is – if you were to add the stuff to a Boxster S. more...

Porsche Panamera e-hybrid offers amazing frugality for a big sports sedan

The words "Porsche" and "fuel efficiency" may not be the closest of kissing cousins in many peoples' minds, especially when you're talking about a big, four door sports sedan. You may be surprised, however, to find that you can get better gas mileage with the Panamera e-hybrid than with many smaller, supposedly more efficient gas-only cars.

How good? My dear wife and I took the mighty Panamera into the Rocky mountains, heading west from Calgary to Lake Louise, and we managed not only to travel about 20 miles on electrical power alone, but once the juice ran out and the car switched back to the gas-powered engine a quick press of the "e-charge" button on the center console charged it back up again about as quickly as I depleted it, which let us switch back to e-power and run the battery down again. more...

Mighty Panamera 4S a nice way to get around

It may have a downsized engine this year, but the 2014 Porsche Panamera 4S is still one heckuva car, a GT cruiser par excellence.

And of course Porsche has included new tweaks into this year's version of its popular "sedan" (it's more a hatchback than a sedan), none of which change the classy character of this great vehicle. There's no substantial change to the rear end, either, so folks who've dubbed the big Porsche the "buttster" will still be able to laugh and feel superior when a Panamera pulls into view. more...

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S – Power Player

What has 550 horses, even more torque, and seats five? Very few vehicles indeed - but the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is one of them, and it's a real peach!

This top-of-the-line version of Porsche's popular SUV is an incredible vehicle - as it should be based on its starting price of $166,600 Canadian. That's a wad of cash, indeed, but it'll buy you one of the most interesting and rewarding SUV/Crossover vehicles you can find.  

Needless to say, when Porsche offered me a week with this beast - over the Christmas holidays to boot, when I could show it off to visiting family - I jumped at the chance. I mean, the power, the luxury, the prestige. Who wouldn't want to drive it? more...

Porsche Cayman S and 911 C4S - S is for sublime

Porsche's 911 is definitely iconic, and a classic. And the new, 991 version of the 50 year old beauty is a wonderful car that's even more lust worthy than the previous generation.

It's a car that has been refined over its half century of existence, from a tail happy death trap (well, that may be an overstatement) to a world class super coupe. I'd never driven a 911 before the last generation, so I missed all the supposed driving angst because Porsche seems to have worked out the bugs (pun intended; you could almost consider the rear engined 911 as the original VW Beetle taken to the extreme).

And as anyone who's read my stuff knows, I think the new 911 makes that gorgeous "old" one look nearly frumpy, "frumpy" being relative of course.  Any 911 I've spent seat time with has been sheer driving pleasure, powerful and comfortable and with responses that feel almost hard wired into the brain. I simply love the car. more...

Cayenne duo offers surprising frugality, unsurprising fun

Many Porsche purists were perturbed when the German sports car maker announced it was jumping into the premium SUV field a decade or so ago. Imagine what they thought when Porsche announced it was unleashing a diesel!

But announce diesels they did and, in typical Porsche fashion, they've pulled it off with aplomb.

That means it drives like a Porsche, which means its handling is nearly intuitive, its suspension and rubber keep it stuck to the road like baby feces to a Hudson's Bay blanket, and its engines sling it forward in a most satisfying manner. more...

New Porsche Boxster an exquisite evolution

It may not have the cachet of the mighty 911, but Porsche's Boxster two seat ragtop is a definite joy to drive. And with its new set of clothes, new technology and features, it's an even more compelling vehicle than it was already.

And that's saying something!

The new Boxster looks recognizable to anyone who's seen an old Boxster, and is such a great upgrade that it won its Canadian Car of the Year TestFest category ("Sports Car over $50,000") last fall, beating out such worthy contenders as the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG, Ford Shelby Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.

New inside and out for 2013, the Boxster features a taut new exterior that looks like Porsche sent the old Boxster (which was no slouch in the looks department) to the gym for a workout regimen. The voluptuous curves of the previous generation Boxsters (which, other than their interiors, looked pretty much the same as each other) have been replaced by a car that looks more like a marathon runner than an exotic dancer. more...

Porsche blows the lid off the Carrera Cabriolet

It may look like a hunchback when the roof is down, but Porsche's 911 Carrera Cabriolet is still an exquisite car worthy of the lustful glances it's sure to bring.

And what better way is there to experience the new, convertible version of a great car than to get it during the depths of winter, when the days are short and one's breath is frosty?

That's what happened to me. Thanks to the realities of the calendar and the number of other writers who also get seat time (damn them all!), Porsche offered me my week in the new 911 – my favorite car in the world, at least in coupe form – when there was snow on the ground, ice in my heart and it was too darn cold for open top motoring.

So I did what anyone else would do in such a situation: I bought a warmer hat. more...

Panamera GTS – another entertaining iteration of Porsche's GT car

Porsche's Panamera has been controversial since its initial announcement, mostly because of its rear end styling and the fact that – like the Cayenne – it isn't a sports car, and for Porsche to make other than a sports car is heresy to some people.

I can see that point of view, but on the other hand have yet to find a Porsche that isn't an outstanding driving experience Porsche – though I've only driven their mainstream inventory of the past few years. The sports cars are sublime, but the Cayenne SUV is still a blast – as well as being quite practical if you need a premium SUV thing in your life (and who doesn't?).

The Cayenne has become very successful for Porsche, and I'm starting to see more and more Panameras cropping up on the streets around here, so it appears to be a success as well. And why not? more...

Terrific new Porsche Carrera gears up – and bulks down

Just as automatic transmissions keep sticking more speeds onto their units (you can get up to eight now), it appears that manual transmissions are also getting more, er, in gear.

And one of the many interesting aspects of Porsche's redesign of its legendary sports car for 2012 is its move from offering a six speed manual to now unleashing the world's first seven speed stick.

Heck, it wasn't that long ago that five gears was the ultimate. And then it became six. When will it end? Why aren't six gears enough? more...

Porsche Panamera S Hybrid: electrifying grand tourer

Take a luxurious and fast grand tourer, add a healthy dose of political correctness, and you may end up with the Porsche Panamera S hybrid, a fine motor vehicle in which the political pandering doesn't ruin the drive.

I haven't driven every hybrid, but of the ones I have – except for a few exceptions such as the Honda CR-Z, Infiniti M and Porsche's own Cayenne hybrid – they mostly seem to eschew driving enjoyment in favor of passing gas, er gas pumps. The fact that such vehicles also have a premium tacked onto their sticker prices, making it problematic whether the gas savings will ever pay for themselves, makes me even more confused as to why anyone would want to buy one.

Porsche actually treads a pretty neat line with their hybrids so far, however. The Cayenne and the Panamera hybrid take the V6 versions of each vehicle, which I found to be a tad underpowered when I drove them (though still a blast!), and adds the electrical stuff to not only save the world, but to up the performance ante as well. So what you have is a V6 powered big Porsche that acts more like a V8 powered S model. It's pretty cool. more...

Porsche Cayman R – Grrrrrrreat fun!

Introducing the sports car whose name may have been inspired by Talk like a Pirate Day: the Porsche Cayman ARRRRRR! It's a Cayman – which is a good place to start – but lightened and tweaked for performance on the race track, which is great if that's what you want to do with your Cayman.

You might ask "Who wouldn't want to do that?" – and it does seem like a no brainer. Porsches are all about performance, on the track and off, and this latest, hottest Cayman certainly hits all the high notes. more...

Porsche Carrera 4: saying goodbye to an old friend

It's been loved and lusted after but now it's like the wizened old guy on new year's eve, the old who's rung out to make way for the bouncing baby new year that's rung in.

Maybe that isn't the best analogy because, while the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 may be getting a bit long in the tooth in car years (like dog years but, at least in Porsche's case, far more expensive!), it's still a fantastic car – wonderful to drive and undoubtedly terrific to own. Now, however, the venerable 997 edition of Porsche's famous sports car is on its way to the auto museum, replaced by a supposedly all-new version – the 991 – that from early reviews seems to be an excellent upgrade. I can't wait to try it!

So while we have a chance, let's take a last loving look at the 997 911 (how's that for a confusing numbers racket?) – the  Carrera 4 in this instance, which is the all wheel drive version of the basic 911.  more...

Cayenne Adds Flavor to the Hybrid Market

Has Porsche blinked? The maker of high quality sporting machines is introducing Hybrid versions of two of its vehicles, and is apparently taking orders for its 918 Spyder Hybrid supercar.

What's going on? Has Porsche gone politically correct?

It's a horrid thought to contemplate. At the risk of being struck by lightning, however, because I have traditionally not been a fan of most Hybrids, I have to say I really enjoyed driving the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. It feels like a Porsche, and that makes the vehicle pretty compelling regardless of its Al Gore-friendly credentials. more...

Carrera GTS – Upping the 911's Naturally-aspirated Ante

Just in time to be replaced by a brand new Porsche 911 Carrera for 2012, the 2011 Carrera GTS is an upgraded and tweaked version of the 911 S for those who want just a bit more out of their classic Porsche sports car.

As far as power delivery is concerned, the upgrade from S to GTS isn't huge, but who can argue against a Porsche offering extra horses? In this case, the GTS' 3.8 liter flat six engine (rear mounted, as are all 911s') cranks out a healthy 408 horses at 7300 rpm, an increase of 23 over the garden variety S. Porsche says the Cabriolet version reaches 60 mph from a standing start in 4.6 seconds (.2 seconds slower than the coupe GTS but .1 seconds quicker than the 911 S cabrio).

Add the superb PDK "automatic manual" transmission and those disparities get even smaller. more...

Porsche 911 Turbo S – S-pectacular!

If you're coming out of a winter that lasted far too long and Porsche is silly enough to offer you a week in its fabulous 2011 911 Turbo S, it might be understandable if your first thought is "Road trip!"

That's my excuse, anyway, and I'm sticking to it. After all, when a company teases you with the intoxicating lure of a world class sports car that puts 530 horsepower onto the pavement, you need to figure out a way to savor it, to exploit it properly. And what better way than to pack an overnight bag, pick up your best friend, and head for the hills? Or, better still, the mountains. more...

Two, Four Door Sixes Are All Porsche

It's easy to forget that Porsche's Cayenne and Panamera don't only offer delicious, powerful V8's, that they can also be equipped with a V6 engine that eases both the entry price and the price at the pump.

And you might be surprised to find how little you need to compromise when you slice off two cylinders. These are real, live Porsches – especially the lighter and more exotic Panamera. more...

Porsche's Iconic Sports Car a Wolf in Any Clothing

Driving a Porsche 911 is like having nary a "Carrera" in the world. Or something like that.

The 911 Carrera is a rear-engine curiosity in a world of front and mid-engine competitors, and it has been around in one form or another for the better part of half a century. Yet rather than being past its prime, the 911 gets better with age as Porsche refines it continually, forcing ever better performance from its six cylinder engine, upgrading its other components as the state-of-the-art improves. This results in a driving experience ever more rewarding as well and if it weren't so hackneyed I'd say "Thank Heaven for 911." more...

Phenomenal Panamera a "Practical" Porsche

Creating Porsche's first four door sports car was a gutsy move that risked alienating customers, millions of development dollars, and the company's reputation.

It isn't the first time Porsche has done this, of course. The Cayenne SUV may have sparked even more spittle when the company first announced it – and it's now a respected vehicle that sells well – and with good reason.

Trust Porsche, then, to have made the Panamera yet another fabulous vehicle. more...

Porsche Boxster PDK – Fun Even in a Blizzard

Sports cars are a blast during good weather, and it might surprise you to learn they can even be a hoot after Old Person Winter has come a-calling.

That fact was driven (no pun intended) home to me during a wintry week I spent recently with a Porsche Boxster, a pretty basic model of Porsche's entry level sports car on which the only real options of substance were Bi-xenon headlights (which should be standard) and the seven speed PDK double clutch auto/manual transmission I've grown to appreciate greatly. more...

Porsche Boxster and Cayman S PDK's – "Pretty Darn Kool"!

How can you have a real sports car without a manual transmission? There's a revolution brewing personified by new generations of automatic transmissions that offer so much efficiency and, yes, driving enjoyment that you can almost forgive the fact that your left foot might atrophy from lack of use.

Prime among these is Porsche's Doppelkupplung (PDK), which gives you the benefits of both a manual gearshift and an automatic transmission. And be danged if it hasn't won me over! more...

Porsche Ups the "Sport" Quotient in Sport Utes, Automatic Trannies

Porsche continues to tweak its lineup, making it sportier all the time. To illustrate this, they've added a GTS version to the Cayenne, and a new "automatic" transmission that's anything but shiftless.

The GTS version of Porsche's popular SUV does up the sportiness ante over the garden variety models, offering such upgrades as a six speed manual transmission. And speaking of transmissions, I finally had a chance to put the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe seven speed double clutch transmission through its paces, which came wrapped in the new Carrera 4 Cabriolet. more...

Entry Level Cayenne Still a Real Porsche

Can a lowly V6 propel a 4800 pound Porsche to the kind of blistering speeds for which the company's vehicles are known? Or is it more a way to save some bucks and gas while still getting the Porsche cachet?

Well, with a small caveat on the propulsion part, my answer to both questions would have to be "yes". more...

Shiftless? Porsche Creates a 911 Just For You!

Few would argue that Porsche's 911 Carrera is a classic. For more than forty years it has been a benchmark sports car, a seemingly timeless style that, thanks to constant refinement and updating, still inspires lust. It's clearly a car that has never been passed by the sands of time or the rigors of fierce competition. That's a remarkable achievement, especially in a time when technical innovations come so quickly it can make your head spin.

So it is that the 911 Carrera enters 2009 sporting some healthy technological upgrades designed to make it even more compelling – even in an era when many people care more about gas mileage than in putting a smile on their faces. more....

Porsche Boxster RS 60 – no "Bore Us" with this Spyder

How do you make a terrific sports car even more terrific?

Well, if you're Porsche, you grab a renowned name from your racing heritage and use that as the hook for snagging potential purchasers looking for a Boxster that's not quite so "ordinary", as if any Porsche can be called ordinary. In this case the moniker is RS 60 Spyder. more....

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S – Power Player

What would you do if you had 550 horses at your beck and call?

I don't know what you'd do, but I drooled. I mean, such power! And to come wrapped in the 2009 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S, the top line model of Porsche's great SUV, well, for what more could anyone ask? more....

Porsche Introduces a 911 for Chocoholics

Who would have thought that painting a car brown would cause it to become an object of lust?

Not that the Porsche Carrera S isn't an object of lust to begin with. Heck, I've lusted after the 911 since the 1960's and enough other people have too, or the car would have gone the way of such other sixties icons as the Corvair and the E Type Jaguar. more....

Porsche Boxsters – Fun, Fast and Easy to Drive

This is open top motoring as it should be – like driving an MGB of days gone by, but with a little more room, a little more luxury – and a lot more performance. Boxsters, unlike B's, also run in the rain and don't require a college degree to get the roof up when the clouds burst.

I was lucky enough to drive two Boxsters nearly back to back during some fine summer weather that was perfect for top down driving: the base model and the more adrenalin-inducing Boxster S. more....

Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Lexus LX 570 – Awesome, Times Two

They're big, brawny and luxurious – and can go nearly anywhere. But are they any good?

Well of course they are – this is high end stuff!

"They," are the 2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Lexus LX 570, top of the line SUV's from opposite corners of the world. Both showcase state-of-the-art technology envisioned differently by different companies. more....

2008 Porsche Cayenne S – Splendid SUV

Many of the complaints about the Cayenne, other than basic outrage at Porsche building an evil SUV, seemed to stem from its looking a little bland compared with the Carrera, Cayman and Boxster – and what wouldn't bland next to them? Porsche appears to have been listening, however; the 2008 Cayenne has received a bit of a face lift that makes it look more aggressive and a little more handsome than before. more....

A Tale of Two Porsches – High End Low End, and Low End High End

Do you lust after the legendary Porsche, but find the Carrera Turbo just a little too, well, stratospheric? Take heart! Even the more "down to earth" Porsches are still an absolute blast, as evidenced by a couple of weeks I spent with the "entry level" Carrera and the "upscale" entry level model, the Boxster S.

Okay, when you put "entry level" and "Porsche" in the same sentence, you're obviously not talking about the same market segment as a Toyota Yaris or Volkswagen Rabbit, as good as they may be. Porsches are world class sports cars, the stuff that dreams are made of (to borrow from Bogie), the kind of car that turns as many heads as they do laps. more....

Porsche Targa 4S- World's Greatest Sunroof!

Porsche's 911 Targa, with its virtually-all-glass sliding roof, is the latest and greatest iteration of a quasi-convertible style whose name is synonymous with open top motoring without the hassle, visibility and security concerns of a true convertible top. more....

Porsche 911 Turbo - Can you say "Whoosh!"?

Zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds. 480 horses @ 6000 rpm. 460 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,950 - 5,000 rpm.  A claimed top speed of 193 miles per hour.

You think this might be a fun car to wind out on a back road? more....

Porsche Cayman - a "Low End" Supercar?

There's nothing quite like a Porsche, at least in my experience driving and writing about driving. Porsches speak on a visceral level; the current 911 Carrera is the most gorgeous in the car's long history of being gorgeous, and driving one is even better than looking at one.

Even the entry level Porsches are a blast, as I discovered during my week with a "HEY!!!! LOOK AT ME!!!!!" "Guards red" Cayman. more....

Southern Ontario in a Porsche Cayenne S

There were howls from some quarters when Porsche announced an evil SUV. Could humanity survive? It has so far!

The Cayenne features permanent four-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, stability and traction control and the ability to tow 7,716 pounds. The Titanium Metallic Cayenne S of my test is the "second lowest" model of the Cayenne, which is kind of like saying a Mercedes S class is a stripped down Maybach.

But the S ups the ante over the base V6 Cayenne, most noticeably by the inclusion of a 4.5 liter V8, a power plant that puts out 340 horses @ 6000 rpm and 310 lb-ft (available from 2,500-5,500 rpm). Porsche says the Cayenne S will do zero-60 in 6.8 seconds and top out at 150 mph (242 km/h). more...

Porsche Cayman S

"A body designed to seduce. An engine tuned to excite. Performance engineered to reward." That's how Porsche's website describes the Cayman S, the German company's "entry level" sports coupe, and if one is ever going to start believing marketing hype this is a pretty good place to start.

After all, the Cayman S has been receiving raves from sources other than those with a vested interest in its profitability, lauded for its seductive body, exciting engine and  rewarding performance. So it ain't just hype. more...

Porsche Carrera 4 Cabri-Olé!

There's nothing quite like the combination of a warm day and an open top sports car to put a smile on your face.

This is especially true when the sports car in question is one of the world's greats, a car that in one form or another has inspired automotive lust for more than forty years. more....

Porsche Boxster S - "S" is for "Sweet!"

Ah, Porsche, the legendary marque with the glorious racing heritage. High end performance stuff, this, even at what could laughingly be called its entry level.

That entry level would be the Boxster currently, the mid-engined, two seat open top roadster that's guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any car buff. For a base price of a mere $45,000, you can strap yourself into this road rocket and be treated to zero to 60 in under six seconds from its 240 horsepower, 2.7 liter flat six.

And if that isn't enough for you, there's the Boxster S, the subject of this piece. It ups the ante in every way including, of course price. In this case, for a base price of $54,700, you get a 3.2 liter six that cranks out 280 horses @ 6200 rpm (and 236 ft.-lb. of torque @ rpm 4,700 rpm), decreases the zero-sixty time to 5.2 seconds and increases the top speed by eight miles per hour to an awe-inspiring 167 mph.

Now that's motoring! more...

Thank Heaven for 911

Porsche. Like the Maltese Falcon, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. People fantasize about Porsche, lust after Porsche.

Me, too. I’ve always loved Porsche – from afar, alas – especially the classic 911 that in its latest incarnation is more gorgeous than ever, with lines so muscularly seductive and graceful it can bring a lump to the throat of the car nut.

As a writer fairly new to covering the auto industry and working to build credibility in that niche (no laughing, please!), when I was invited to take two versions of this automotive jewel for test sessions, wild horses (or even prancing ponies) couldn’t keep me away. So it was written and so it was done: I got to try the Carrera S hardtop and the Carrera Cabriolet convertible.

Is this a great job or what? more...

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Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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