Porsche’s Fantastic 5: ‘07 Cayman, Boxster S, 911 Targa 4S, 911 GT3, & 911 Turbo
- Written by Leon L. Brittain
What do you get when you combine five performance cars from Porsche with arguably the best road-race course in the country? One helluva day!
To demonstrate the performance capabilities of the Cayman, Boxster S, 911 Targa 4S, 911 GT3, and the bad boy of them all, the 911 Turbo, Porsche selected the world-class Barber Motorsports Park located outside of Birmingham, Alabama. This facility is also used for their Porsche Driving Experience School, which allows owners to experience the true capabilities of a Porsche in its natural environment. With elevation changes, hairpins, blind corners and blazing straight-aways, it’s easy to see why this Grand Prix-style course was chosen.
I would be doing an injustice to lump each vehicle into one continuous piece, so allow me to take you on a journey of speed, performance, and handling car by car.
The Cayman utilizes the underpinnings of the Boxster roadster. It also features the 911’s VarioCam Plus intake valve system which produces a broad spectrum of torque and increases fuel economy. Power comes from a new 2.7-liter six cylinder that pumps out 245 horsepower with a top speed of 160 mph and 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds. The Cayman may have been the baby of this bunch, but it rocked! It felt just as at home on the track as its siblings and was eagerly willing to show its 0-60 time was equally matched by its ability to handle the curves by way of the optional multi-driving mode Porsche Active Suspension Management system. Speaking of curves, the Cayman has just about as many sexy exterior curves as a Victoria’s Secret fashion show, well almost. MSRP for this curvaceous devil is $49,400.
A high-energy car, the Boxster S can be equipped with the revised Tiptronic S transmission, which improves responsiveness and also provides variable shift programs for extra driving excitement. Add in the 295 horsepower powerplant (15 more horsepower than the prior year) and you’ll get a Boxster S that dashes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds with a top speed of 169 mph. As if that isn’t good enough, drop the top and prepare yourself for a truly fun driving experience! In addition to the standard Boxster and Boxster S models, Porsche also offers a special black and orange limited edition for both. And I do mean limited, as only 250 of each model will be produced for the North American market. MSRP is $55,700.
911 Targa 4S
Featuring a beautifully designed glass roof that extends across the full width and length of the passenger compartment, occupants are treated to a panoramic view even with the roof closed. If you’re worried this level of exposure from the sun will have you slowly roasting away and leaving you vulnerable to UV rays, don’t. The glass panels are specifically designed to absorb the majority of UV rays while remaining transparent as well as minimizing the Sun’s heat within. Let’s not forget this is still a performance car with a sophisticated AWD system, a six-speed manual gearbox mated to a high-performance self-adjusting clutch and a 355 horsepower six-cylinder engine that lays down a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 179 mph. MSRP is $97,300 for this mobile “vroom” with a view.
The GT3 is race bred, built for track days and welcomes driver involvement on every level. These facts alone make driving this 415-horsepower stallion one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have behind the wheel. The GT3 combines a powerhouse 3.6-liter flat-six engine linked to a six-speed manual transmission. The GT3’s tranny features shortened gear ratios from 2nd through 6th and produces excellent acceleration and performance figures such as hitting 62 mph from a standing start in only 4.3 seconds and 100 mph in 8.7 seconds. Top speed is 192 mph. You may want to have 9-1-1 on your speed dial before driving the 911 GT3. Racing around the track was as if the GT3 was happy to have been released from its stable and quite ready to prove its $106,000 price tag is worthy.
Amazing performance, sophistication, driver friendly and comfortable enough for every-day use. Not words you often find used to describe a $126,200 performance car. But, that’s exactly what the 911 Turbo has to offer. The sixth-generation top-dog 911 produces a massive amount of horsepower (480) from a twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter boxer engine featuring Porsche's Variable Turbine Geometry. The new 911 Turbo also features a redesigned, electronically controlled all-wheel drive system for even greater performance and handling features. The standard six-speed manual transmission aids the Turbo in reaching 60 mph from a standing start in 3.7 seconds. Opt for the available five-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission and Turbo jets from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.4 seconds. With either gearbox, the top test-track speed is a blazing 193 mph. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like pushing a 480 horsepower AWD world-class performance car around a challenging course such as Barber while seated comfortably in a leather wrapped cockpit. Going to the grocery store just got a little more exciting.
Although each vehicle has its own distinctive personality, they all encompass the same soul and characteristics synonymous with driving a Porsche. So, whether you’re riding smooth in a Boxster S or fighting for pole position at the next light in the GT3, rest assured that your Porsche is far more capable than just good looks. Here you have a true performance vehicle ready to tackle track days head-on. If you own a Porsche, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the opportunity to experience its full potential by way of the Porsche Driving Experience. Both you and your German pet will thank me.
For more Automotive Rhythms Performance Reviews See:
- Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster - From Fresh Parents to Fresh Wheels
- BMW’s M Cars - Substance and Soul!