Porsche's 911 and Cayenne are the company's bread and butter these days and the company rolled out new versions of each at this year's Detroit Auto Show – the 911 Targa 4 GTS and Cayenne Turbo S.
As sad as it is for me to write these words, Porsche needs to make and sell a lot of Cayennes. The economics of the brand (even though it is now a wholly owned division of The Volkswagen Auto Group) is that it does not make enough crust selling such wonders at the Boxster, the Cayman and the evergreen 911. If they didn't sell variants of the Cayenne to the Carmella Sopranos of this world, Porsche as a company would have gone the way of DeSoto (the car company). So, although I loathe the idea of a Porsche SUV as much as the next gearhead, the math is frighteningly simple: No Porsche SUVs, no Porsche sportscars.
That disclaimer said, let's see what's new for the Cayenne, before moving on to the much more, er, moving 911 Targa 4 GTS.
If you have to buy an SUV to haul little Brittany and Trevor to Gymboree and soccer practice, I've got to say that using a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S is a pretty good way to do it.
Why? I've got three numbers to answer that: 570, 590 and 7:59.74. As in the re-engineered 4.8-liter V8 twin-turbo engine now develops 570 hp (419 kW) and 590 ft.-lb. (800 Nm) of torque – 20 more horsepower and 37 ft. lb. more torque than the previous engine. A large part of the improved performance of the new plant is due to the neat engineering trick of integral turbochargers, which are now housed directly in the exhaust manifolds.
These numbers result in a lap time at the North Loop of the Nürburgring of 7:59.74 minutes. That's a sub-8:00 lap in what is more or less a truck, which is also a new record for SUVs at the legendary circuit.
Bottom line: Zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 176 mph (283 km/h).
Now, about that 911 Targa 4 GTS.
Architecturally, this is the same Targa that Porsche rolled out last model year. Gone are the sliding glass roof panels that are kind of/not really the same as a traditional 911 Targa. Back, thankfully, is a gee-whiz-bang honest-to-Ferdinand transformers folding hard top, that when it is fully retracted, looks just like a 911 Targa should. It even has the brushed alloy bar that helps make a Targa a Targa.
Not only does the 2015 model have a host of detail improvements, it's also worth noting that this is also the 50th anniversary of the original 911 Targa. This is also the first year that Porsche is making the Targa with the more powerful and dynamic GTS version available.
That translates into such goodies as a 430 hp (321 kW) GTS engine hanging way out back, the standard Sport Chrono package (which has that goofy stopwatch that sits front and center atop the dashboard) PASM chassis, 20-inch center lock wheels, and sport exhaust system.
And that all translates into an 8 pound per horsepower power to weight ratio, a top speed of over 186 mph (299 km/h), and 4.1 seconds from zero to 60 mph when you opt for the PDK transmission.
Other tech extras include tinted Bi-Xenon headlights that feature the Porsche Dynamic Light System, those matte black 20-incher center lock 911 Turbo S wheels, sport design side mirrors, and “GTS" signatures on the doors. The “targa" logo on the silver Targa bar finished in black and flashy chrome exhaust pipes.
In case you have a burning desire to get either of these now-now-now, here's the real bottom line: The MSRP for the 911 Targa 4 GTS is US$132,800 and the MSRP for the Cayenne Turbo S is $157,300. Both cars will be available in the United States in late-April 2015.
I know which one I would get.
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