I’ve daily driven my ‘09 for over six years now, every day smitten with the response and analog feedback from an incredibly organic performance car that never fails to engage and entice me to push the limits on my back roads drive to work. On winter tires, it’s up to the task in most conditions, handling ice and slush and up to a foot of snow. When I first got it to replace my Porsche 996 C4S, I was amazed at how practical it was in comparison: three little boys and all their lacrosse gear fit easily and I was the carpool hero. Now the boys are taller than I am and the rear seats don’t work so well any more. I’ve always been a one-car guy, and my wife likes smaller cars too (she drives an S3) but the time came to extend the fleet with a little more space and, maybe, a little luxury.
I started the search resigned to getting a family hauler in the $40s price range, but hoping for a bit of driving feel without much optimism. Thinking three row, I drove the new Explorer ST, and it was fast and steered reasonably well, but just too big. The new Kia is a remarkable feat of packaging—I can’t imagine more interior space in that footprint, and it drove reasonably well, too. But along with the Grand Cherokees I drove, going smaller, I just couldn't see myself behind the wheel. My wife is an Audi fan, but they still have a tragic entertainment system, and BMW iDrive makes me want to put my eyes out. The Range Rover Velar and Alfa Stelvio caught my attention, but the reviews warned me away.
Coming back to Porsche, I drove a couple of Macans. The turbo was very responsive and well equipped, but quite small in the back seat and cargo area. And the one I wanted was over $70k! So I could trade the GT-R plus my budget, and get a less capable, not roomy enough mini-ute? No thanks. I also drove a recent Cayenne base—what a pig for way too much money.
The breakthrough came when I started considering how the luxo-car market works. The practical, reasonable mid-level cars like the Macans, modest trim Cayennes, AMG 43s, SQ5s, etc. hold their value well—too well, really. But a several-year-old, high-end trim car loses way more as a percent of its value over the same period. Maybe not so prestigious at the country club anymore—time to trade up? From a used car buyers’ perspective, the top end models are also owned by people who tend to maintain their cars with dealer discipline, if not enthusiast detail.
Sure enough, once I raised the bar on my searches a bit, I found a Cayenne turbo S, meticulously maintained with a raft of service records, all the “problem” areas resolved, and recent brakes, tires, etc. for well within budget. A $160k car for three-quarters off! Driving it was a revelation: comfortable and luxurious, but 550 hp and a remarkable set of suspension gimmicks really do make it feel 1000 lb lighter than its enormous weight. I bought it after two test drives and have been having a great time exploring its incomprehensible drifting abilities. Not sure if torque vectoring and active sway bars help or hinder but this thing lays out powerslides like a ‘69 Camaro.
I really want to keep the GT-R. It’s got pretty high miles, and maybe it deserves a life of once-a-week drives when there’s no rain in the forecast. But my son wants it badly, and he’ll be 16 in a year and a half...
Edited by RallyJon, 07 September 2019 - 11:09 PM.