Porsche 918 Spyder burns to ground in gas station conflagration

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Porsche 911 Turbo and Nissan GT-R Nismo star in World’s Greatest Drag Race 4

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Porsche 911 Turbo and Nissan GT-R Nismo star in World’s Greatest Drag Race 4
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Porsche 911 Turbo and Nissan GT-R Nismo star in World’s Greatest Drag Race 4

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Porsche 911 Turbo and Nissan GT-R Nismo star in World’s Greatest Drag Race 4
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NYT profiles Blue Nelson, a reclusive and interesting CA car collector

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NYT profiles Blue Nelson, a reclusive and interesting CA car collector
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2015 Porsche Cayenne S

2015 porsche cayenne s fd 2015 Porsche Cayenne S

Oh, Porsche.

Just as the dust settles over the 911 GT3′s no manual gearbox kerfuffle, the Germans have gone and yanked the yummy naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 from the Cayenne S and replaced it with a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6. Is nothing sacred in Porscheland?

Perhaps not… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Porsche famously once said they’d never build a diesel, but when they did, it was actually rather stellar.

All 2015 Cayennes get subtly reworked front and rear ends, with a wider looking nose and bladed intakes feeding intercoolers, while reworked headlamps and taillights emphasize a family resemblance to the Macan. New suspension bushings and bearings combined with reworked shock internals provide sharper handling and a greater range of damping adjustability, while the standard equipment list gets a much needed boost, so to speak, with features like auto stop/start and bi-Xenon headlights. New options include rear seat air vents and smart cruise control, among others. But apart from the S E-Hybrid’s new plug-in configuration and its lithium-ion battery, the most notable change in the lineup is the Cayenne S’s jettisoning of the V8.


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420 hp and 406 lb-ft push the Cayenne S to 62 mph in as little as 5.1 seconds.

On paper, the Cayenne S’ new turbo V6 beats the V8 by a kilometer. The engine, sourced from the Macan Turbo, has been coaxed to produce 420 horsepower (20 more than the previous-gen S) and 406 pound-feet of torque – twist that’s identical to the torque-tastic Cayenne Diesel. Even better, the latter’s plateau starts 500 rpm earlier than the glow plug-equipped model, at a loping 1,350 rpm. Compared to its predecessor, specific output climbs 40 percent to 117 hp/liter, and 0 to 62 mph comes 0.4 seconds quicker, arriving in as little as 5.1 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package (5.2 seconds without). Oh, and the new powerplant is also more fuel-efficient.

What does the right brain (seat of the pants) make of the Cayenne S’ left brain (spec sheet) upgrades? Upon sliding into the Cayenne’s snug driver’s seat, you’re met with a new, 918 Spyder-derived steering wheel and Porsche’s big, familiar, in-your-face analog tachometer. Flanking the tach are two smaller gauges on either side. In other cabin news, the array of buttons along the center stack and overhead cluster offer something of a jarring contrast against the Nordically sparse periphery, while the “Oh $#!+!” grab handles astride the transmission tunnel offer a not-so-subtle hint at the Cayenne’s capacity for torso-tossing G-forces.

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Porsche’s claimed 4,597-pound tonnage simply does not compute when this utility vehicle is tossed around switchbacks.

The V6 fires up relatively quietly, and unlike the 911, Boxster, or Cayman, the Cayenne S doesn’t have a sport exhaust option – though dipping into the throttle makes it a forgivable offense. Jabbing the gas squirts the Cayenne ahead, pushing you back with a satisfying shove into the relatively firm seats. There’s a subtly modulated induction sound as the engine winds up, but the powerplant generally delivers a relatively racket-free driving experience as the small orange speedometer needle climbs upward. Though the eight-speed Tiptronic transmission generally shifts smoothly and quickly, some gear changes were unexpectedly abrupt in Sport mode – perhaps a remnant of the adaptive shift program that had calibrated its responses to a previous, more lead-footed driver.

Curb weight is virtually identical to the outgoing model – more standard equipment counteracts the lighter powerplant – but that said, Porsche’s claimed 4,597-pound tonnage simply does not compute when this utility vehicle is tossed around switchbacks, as I did in the hilly region north of Barcelona, Spain. The Cayenne S turns easily, intuitively, and with grip that belies its footprint, which feels especially considerable with the Macan now crashing the Porsche party. Though the S model’s air suspension option doesn’t deliver quite the same “skyhook” effect as the Turbo’s does – the Turbo seems to glide effortlessly over rough terrain – the S doesn’t lack in responsiveness or steering feel, and certainly not in power.

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Our tester was straddled with a startling $37,220 in options.

A sampling of other 2015 Cayenne strains revealed an impressive breadth of abilities: A highway stint in the Turbo delivered wickedly quick acceleration, aided by its power boost to 520 horsepower, while an off-road jaunt in the surprisingly capable Diesel offered stunning proof that these seriously rugged sport utes are wasted on city-slicker sports-car types.

Back to the premium SUV in question, our Cayenne S tester was straddled with a startling $37,220 in options. Some of those items are downright superfluous (like $8,520 ceramic brakes), while others are nothing short of surprising in a vehicle that starts at $74,100 (e.g., the cheapest way into a real leather interior requires a $3,655 seating package).

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The SUV lineup constitutes about half of all Porsche sales, outselling every other type of Porsche combined.

Considering its real-world potential for stratospheric MSRPs, it’s easy to see why many view the Cayenne – and virtually any new Porsche, for that matter – as an out-of-reach symbol of excess. But while it will never sell like a Ford Explorer or Honda CR-V, the Cayenne has struck a chord with a slew of well-heeled buyers – more than 276,000 in its first generation, plus a further 303,000 and counting in its second. More crucially, the still-controversial SUV lineup constitutes about half of all Porsche sales, outselling every other type of Porsche – 911, Boxster, Cayman, Panamera and, of course, 918 Spyder – combined. As one Porsche executive suggested, Cayenne sales help divert investment back into the brand’s sports cars, a noble redistribution of wealth if ever there was one.

The bottom line for the 2015 Porsche Cayenne S is simple: Brand purists may bemoan the lack of a big, free-breathing V8, but the smaller turbocharged V6 packs a winning punch with its urgent torque and ballsy thrust. With power output that surpasses that of the first-gen Cayenne Turbo, the new S appeals less to utility seekers and more to bona-fide drivers making the leap into an SUV, especially one that handles like something half its size.

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Porsche is building a future that all but the most stubborn enthusiast can look forward to.

Interestingly, that transition into uncharted territory is a theme that extends to the bigger picture of the Porsche brand, whether it’s the emergence of diesels, the slow death of the manual transmission, a hybrid hypercar, or the phasing out of the V8 engine. When asked whether the twin-turbo V8 might go extinct within the Cayenne lineup, one executive responded, “For the time being, we are happy with our eight-cylinder turbo.” It’s a telling answer that hints that “the time being” might end when the Cayenne’s current generation cycle goes kaput.

If that means smaller, lighter, and more powerful engines that also happen to suck less fuel, Porsche is building a future that all but the most stubborn enthusiast can look forward to.

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Porsche Macan Turbo vs Cayman GTS in track battle

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Porsche offers detuned Boxster and Cayman 211 in Europe

porsche boxster 211 Porsche offers detuned Boxster and Cayman 211 in Europe

Looking at a new Porsche Boxster? First of all, we commend you on your choice, because in its latest iteration, the Boxster has sped out from under the shadow of the 911 and into its own. But now to choose: do you get the base model with 265 horsepower, the Boxster S with 315 hp, or the top-of-the-line Boxster GTS with 330 hp? It’s a daunting question, considering the $10k+ price gap between each model that you could put into the gas-and-rubber jar. Same goes for the Cayman, albeit with ten more horses across the board. But as if that’s not confusing enough, there appears to be another player on the field. (That is, at least, in certain European markets.)

porsche cayman 211 Porsche offers detuned Boxster and Cayman 211 in EuropeAppearing on the company’s Belgian and Norwegian sites are the Boxster 211 and Cayman 211. As you might have guessed, they pack a less substantial 211 horsepower, undercutting what we know as the base models. Instead of using a smaller engine, though, the Boxster and Cayman 211 get the same 2.7-liter boxer six, just with less power.

As a result, they’re a bit slower off the line: the Boxster 211 takes between 6.1 and 6.4 seconds to get to 62, depending on exact specifications, compared to the 5.5- to 5.8-second range for the 265-hp Boxster, while the Cayman 211 is quoted at 6.2 seconds versus the 275-hp Cayman’s 5.4 to 5.7 seconds. Fuel consumption and emissions, on the other hand (and as you’d expect), are better in the 211. But while Porsche Norway charges around $10k less for the 211 models, Porsche Belgium charges the same for the 211 models as it does for the next most powerful versions (from which they appear to be visually indistinguishable).

We’ve sought confirmation from Porsche Cars North America, but given that the 211 models were likely created more to meet local government requirements than pure customer demand, we wouldn’t expect these detuned versions to be offered Stateside anytime soon.

Related Gallery2014 Porsche Boxster 211
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Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?


It’s telling that Montezemolo is officially quitting Maranello Oct. 13, the day that the merged Fiat Chrysler will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Montezemolo has reportedly grumbled that “Ferrari is now American,” according to Bloomberg, and obviously he was chafing at the loss of some of his company’s autonomy.

Evidence of the fallout is apparent, even in the statements released by each of the men. By nature, press releases are as bland as skim milk. These pull no punches and invite you to read between the lines.

Marchionne’s read:

Luca and I have discussed the future of Ferrari at length. And our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the track has led to misunderstandings which became clearly visible over the last weekend [When Ferrari struggled at the Italian Grand Prix].

While Montezemolo countered:

Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA Group in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street. This will open up a new and different phase, which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the Group.

This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as chairman after almost 23 marvelous and unforgettable years, in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari’s side in the 1970s.

Marchionne appears to be pinning Montzemolo’s exit on Ferrari’s recent lack of success in Formula One. He has a point. Ferrari hasn’t won a title since it captured the 2008 Constructors Championship, and it’s in no position to win this year, despite having two former World Champions, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, piloting its race cars. The six-year drought is no doubt maddening for a team that’s the oldest and most successful in F1 history.

 Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?

Still, eight of Ferrari’s 16 constructors crowns have come since Montezemolo took over as chairman, and Ferrari endured a much longer title drought in the 1980s and 1990s before Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn reinvigorated the Scuderia.

Does Marchionne, or anyone for that matter, really believe Montezemolo has permanently lost his touch for the racing side of the business?

Conversely, Montezemolo’s comments pointed to the Wall Street IPO, which will signal a “new and different phase” for Ferrari. Whether it’s meant to or not, that sounds pretty ominous for Tifosi.

Clearly, Montezemolo is casting himself as part of the “true Ferrari” lineage and is suggesting that the company is now a division of Marchionne’s American empire.

He also referenced his time as Enzo Ferrari’s assistant in the 1970s, which led to his ascension to briefly head the racing team and more glory days for the Scuderia with Niki Lauda at the wheel.

Clearly, Montezemolo is casting himself as part of the “true Ferrari” lineage and suggesting that anything that changes for the worse after Oct. 13 is because the company is now a division of Marchionne’s American empire.

In reality, everything both men said is true. Will Ferrari become less autonomous? Yes. Is Marchionne going to start making Chrysler minivans in Maranello? Of course not. Should the Scuderia have been more successful in recent years in F1? Absolutely. The team spends gobs of money and fields two of the most talented drivers in the sport. But rule changes – especially F1′s move to new V6 turbo engines – have been hard on Ferrari. Still, teams go through slumps. Montezemolo wasn’t the problem.

No, the real problem is Montezemolo held firm that Ferrari shouldn’t make more cars. About 7,000 cars per year was his magic number. Marchionne, meanwhile, wants to ramp up Ferrari production to fulfill some of the pent-up demand – wait lists are notoriously long – and make more money.

History is written by the victors, and in the end, Marchionne and Montezemolo can both count this as a win. Yes, Montezemolo “resigned,” but his tenure at the helm will rank him among Ferrari’s greatest leaders. It’s Enzo, then Montezemolo.

Marchionne will now get his way. More Ferraris, but realistically, not that many more. Marchionne knows Ferrari’s value comes from its almost mythical status, and he won’t compromise that. The road-car business will be fine. And if he can get the Scuderia back to its familiar position at the front of the F1 grid, Italians won’t care where the stock is registered.

Other News and Views

2015 dodge viper 09 1 Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?Dodge slashes Viper price $15k

It’s a lot cheaper to buy a Viper than it was at the start of September, and the supercar now starts at $84,995. Adjusted for inflation, it’s in line with the price of a first-generation Viper, which started at $50,700 in 1992.

But when’s the last time a company reduced prices to adjust for inflation? That doesn’t happen. The price cut is a tacit admission the Viper isn’t performing as well as Dodge had hoped. Chrysler Group sales have been strong this year, but Viper sales have collapsed this summer. Obviously, Chrysler hopes lower prices will bring higher sales for the Viper.

02 cadillac elmiraj concept live 1 Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?Cadillac to launch semi-autonomous car in two years

Specifically, Cadillac will get a so-called “Super Cruise” feature that will enable the car to drive without driver input by controlling braking, speed and lane positioning. The model set to get the technology was not specified, though the new flagship, expected to be called the LTS, is a candidate.

Cadillac also announced it will equip the 2017 CTS with vehicle-to-vehicle communications capability, news that comes as the federal government moves toward potentially mandating that technology in some form on America’s roads.

slide 0034 Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?Mercedes debuts AMG GT

Mercedes is going aggressively after the Porsche 911, launching two models that aim at Stuttgart’s core buyers. The GT S, which packs 503 hp, from a twin-turbo V8, launches early next year, followed by the 456-hp GT in mid-2016.

Mercedes’ new entry grades out well in all the measurable areas, but it faces a tough challenge in luring buyers from Porsche. Benz has definitely brought it with the new GT line. It’s a serious sports car. But it’s still about six months away. Your move, Porsche.

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