Corby

FLAT-SIX AND OUT

Wheels (Australia) - - Contents -

I spent a week in a yel­low Cay­man GTS and dis­liked it so much I never took it for a proper drive

IT’S A CHILL­ING THOUGHT, AND ONE THAT WE SPEND ALL OF OUR BOUNCY, IN­VIN­CI­BLE YOUTH IG­NOR­ING, BUT IT SEEMS QUITE LIKELY, AND EVEN LOG­I­CAL, THAT THE HU­MAN BRAIN STARTS TO GET A BIT SE­NIOR-CIT­I­ZEN FROM ABOUT THE AGE OF 40. AND IT GETS PRO­GRES­SIVELY MORE FLAT-SPOT­TED FROM THERE.

Even in­tel­li­gent apes weren’t de­signed to live as long as we do, so it shouldn’t be a sur­prise that we start do­ing odd things as we age, like pulling our waist­bands up to our armpits, and com­plain­ing about loud noises even when we’re deaf.

Older folks also seems to grow less wed­ded to what you might have thought were their core be­liefs. My old man, for ex­am­ple, no longer cheers for Aus­tralia in sport, be­cause he just doesn’t care enough, even though he’s the rea­son I wear Wal­laby box­ers and have a Steve Waugh tat­too.

All this has only made me more fiercely de­ter­mined not to change my mind about any­thing, and to stick to what I know is right, be­cause if I shift my opin­ions on im­por­tant things at this stage, it won’t be be­cause of my ac­cept­ing a con­sid­ered ar­gu­ment, it will be a symp­tom of de­men­tia.

And then along came the 718 Cay­man GTS, and one of the bedrock be­liefs on which my life rests – the in­vi­o­lable su­pe­ri­or­ity of Porsches – be­gan to crum­ble.

Ob­vi­ously, it had been badly dam­aged be­fore, by the seis­mic shock of the Cayenne and the dark in­evitabil­ity of the Ma­can, but at least the per­fec­tion of the 911 and Cay­man could still be en­joyed in their shared iso­la­tion.

My doubts about the lat­ter were raised, hack­le­like, with the launch of the 718 Cay­man and its Subaru Wrx-sound­ing turbo flat-four, but when I took de­liv­ery of a new bikini yel­low GTS model I was con­fi­dent that all would be re­solved, be­cause those three let­ters have al­ways spelled ‘J-O-Y’ in the past.

I am deeply sad­dened to re­port, how­ever, that I dis­liked even the GTS ver­sion of the cur­rent Cay­man so much that I never, even once, took it for a proper drive. Yes, I’m ashamed of me too.

I know, just from pi­lot­ing it in town, that it would be fan­tas­tic around cor­ners, and that its steer­ing would make me weep, and that its 2.5litre turbo flat-four would de­liver bril­liant pace with its 269kw and 430Nm.

The prob­lem is that I hate the way it sounds, not just be­cause it’s farty and flac­cid and aw­ful, but be­cause it is en­tirely re­moved from what a proper, flat-six Porsche has al­ways sounded like; a howl of ec­stasy so pure you could wash di­a­monds with it. And no, ‘hate’ is not too strong a word. It riles me, even at high revs.

I could for­give the en­gi­neers when they tur­bocharged the 911 – I didn’t love it, but I couldn’t ar­gue with the ben­e­fits, and it didn’t en­tirely ruin the sound. But for me, the Cay­man – on some days, with a man­ual trans­mis­sion, my favourite car in the world – is ru­ined.

And yes, I know this is mad­ness, or, worse still, old-man logic (built around the dic­tum of the fuddy-duddy “things were bet­ter in my day”), be­cause one of my learned col­leagues suc­cinctly told me so. “You not want­ing to drive one of Porsche’s most dy­nam­i­cally re­ward­ing cars be­cause you don’t like the sound makes me sad; it’s as if a beau­ti­ful New Zealand swimwear model wants to make pas­sion­ate love with you and you’re de­clin­ing be­cause you don’t like her vowel-man­gling ac­cent.”

I do hate it when other peo­ple are right, and yet, as I get older, I’m pretty sure that such log­i­cal ar­gu­ments will con­cern me less and less. For­tu­nately, by the time I’m ready to re­tire, I reckon I might be able to af­ford the kind of Cay­man I now want more than ever – an old one.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.