I got the chance this last summer to drive the new 911 (991-2) and Boxster (982). This was a big change at Porsche so I had to go drive them. Both cars I drove were the base models not “S” models.
Before I dive into my impressions I want to know why they decided to call the Boxster 982. So the 911 is not a whole new body style so it is the 991-2, but the same can be said for the Boxster. Why did they not call it the 981-2?
The 991-2 Carrera felt good. I know that they say the newer cars are losing their feel and I have definitely experienced that, but it did feel good the car did have feel to me. I mean to me it felt like it had a lot more feel than the 991-1. It is big and I keep saying it and others keep saying it, but the 911 is not a petite car anymore. I remember the first time I got in a 996 and that seemed big. Granted I was a teenager and used to sitting in tight places in cars. I also think the Boxsters and Caymans are getting a little big so maybe I am the problem… I AM NOT sports cars are supposed to be small and nimble. Why do you think the Miata is so popular even though the general public tries to label it a girls car, a hair dressers car or insignificant.
The base Carrera was fast. Faster than I was expecting and too fast on the roads I was driving. I am not even sure if there are many places on the street you could ring this car out on. I am not sure why you would want to unload more money out of your pocket to buy the S. I am just unsure what more the S is going to give you on your drive in to work. Even if your drive into work is a spirited one. There was a big difference between the base 991-1 Carrera and the 991-2 Carrera. There is power everywhere along the tach. I have always been one that likes the idea of the base model and wonders if there is slight push by the manufacture and some magazines that you have to have the S. With that said the 991-1 was starting to be a lot more effort to get going compared to the 991-1 Carrera S, but a lot of that had to do with gearing trying to improve MPG, but not so with the 991-2 base. Since it has taken me so long to sit down and write this in my blog I have had time to see that a lot of what I am saying is true. I believe the first one to come out and just say ‘why buy the S?’ Was Pete Stout on his first drive in Panorama [magazine].
The Carrera S has more torque and more speed, but the base Carrera is going to be closer to the original 911s where you worked for speed.
The Boxster  sounded a bit like a Subaru, but not a bad sound. I mean there may be some folks that pull up to the Porsche dealership in an older Boxster with the thought of maybe trading it in and starting up the new car and being disappointed. Even if they are not enthusiast or worried about old school nostalgia and they are just wanting latest or greatest technology to make it faster and perform better they may still be put off by the sound compared to their old car. It probably won’t be a big concern for most Porsche buyers today. Maybe that is me stereotyping newer Porsche buyers. To me it is an issue. Not the end of the world, but I am one that does get suspicious with change when it comes to Porsche. I am not young, but grew up around hard core enthusiast from back in the day. Some people have mentioned that it sounds like an old VW Bug or 914. I have been around a decent amount of Bugs when I was a little kid, but I was not thinking about that at the time. I suppose next time I get close to one I will ask myself is there any supped up Bug in that sound. It does sound better when you get to the higher revs. When I got out of the car and heard it drive off it does not sound like a cheap car. It is for sure more high end than a STI, but it is not as quality sounding as previous cars.
With the Boxster you can definitely tell there is a lot more torque down low compared to previous cars. Although there may be people that do not like that. There are people out there that want to have to push their cars to the higher revs to get going and do not like the feel of low end torque. It feel like a bigger motor. Obviously the displacement is less, but with the turbo and torque it has more power feel like it has a bigger motor than the old cars.
From the beginning they have tried to leave a space between the 911 and Boxster/Cayman, but it seems like they are even making a bigger effort. I feel like it was a conscience decision and not just something that happened. I think the gap between the 911 and the Cayman/Boxster was getting smaller and now there has been a decision to make a greater gap. I think that is why they went to the 4 cylinder, because they could have used the 6 cylinder like in the 911 as they have since the Boxster came out up to the 981. I know Porsche going to try to argue the 356, 550, earlier cars or the V4 in 919 had 4 cylinders and have had history and winning with a 4 cylinder.
The turbos today are getting better and better. I remember the first time I drove a BMW 335. They were brand new and I drove one and thought ‘Man, you can’t hardly feel the turbo.’ The turbos in the cars I drove today were very low on turbo lag. Like I said previously it makes the cars feel like they have bigger motors. There is not as much of the feeling or need to wring out the revs, which was what made the old cars… air-cooled cars exciting. I am not saying the new power bands are not exciting. It is different some may like it more, some may not and some may like it at first and then after a while then decide there was a reason they liked Porsches back in the day and they may wonder if the way the power builds may be a lot of that.
I wish either of these cars I drove had a manual. Even if for the 911 it was the after-thought manual.
Around that same time the other two cars became tainted, because I drove a Cayman GT4. It reminded me of what Porsche used to be. I would like to say that it was because it was built in a different area by Andreas Preuninger’s people, but that is not the case. I would point to some of the cars like 991 GT3 RS, which is awesome but seems to have hit a fork in the road where it is either going to be an awesome car that is a joy to drive or the ultimate track weapon. Obviously, it needs to be the ultimate track weapon. This is all stuff Mr. Preuninger has said himself. Also, I want to be clear I have never driven a 991 GT3 RS and I do not want to be the asshole that has never driven the car but runs his mouth on the internet negatively. I do feel I know enough about Porsche and read enough about the 991 GT3 RS to make that small comment.
Anyway, so I do believe cars have come a long ways and it is not like back in the day where Porsche could build an RS/GT3 type car and it would be awesome track car and a car that was fun and I cannot go down this rabbit whole right now this article is not for that.
The GT4 and R were made to get back to the spirit of driving and not so much based on saving a tenth of a second on the track. The GT4 made me forget the new Boxster and 911 I drove and made me remember the joy of driving. It is more petite than the 911 and a smaller car which I prefer. I prefer it was the size of the 987. Damn, why did Porsche not go more crazy with the Cayman R? So the GT4 was throaty and loud with the exhaust. The exhaust pops and does little backfires when you get off the throttle. It was tight and stiff, but not bad you could drive it regularly and not get worn out. The one I drove did not have the bucket sport seats they were folding seats, so that added some added comfort I am sure. To me, it is not really the car to be worried a lot about comfort and turning into a Grand Tourer. The shifting was tight and felt good it notched into gear with a precise click-click and not a sloshy feel. I had an absolute ball in the car and was smiling inside the whole time where the other two I had driven at that time were amusing and fun, but not a full blown shit eating grin feeling like the GT4. I wanted to more time to form an opinion in the new 991-2 and new Boxster but it was more of investigating the car and wanting to explore it. They were fun, but the GT4 was not about exploring it. It was being in the present moment not thinking of anything, but what I was feeling at that moment.