THE COST OF PROGRESS

Driven - - Editor's Note - Bernie bernard@driven­mag.co.za

These are strange times we live in. Progress, es­pe­cially progress in the motor in­dus­try, is not mea­sured by any­thing as triv­ial as a flat sec­ond or a kilo­gram. In­stead, it’s mea­sured by a col­lec­tion of mi­cro-units that col­lec­tively com­bine to form a sin­gle quan­tifi­able mea­sure­ment of progress.

One prac­ti­cal ex­am­ple is the Porsche 718 duet that is fea­tured in the pages, and on the cover of this edi­tion. While it is tech­ni­cally cor­rect to say it’s the Stuttgart-based car­maker’s en­try-level mod­els, it is not un­til you com­pare it with ear­lier Porsches that you see pre­cisely by what mar­gin the goal­posts have shifted.

Both the Cay­man and Boxster are pow­ered by Porsche’s 2.5-litre four­cylin­der tur­bocharged en­gines and pro­duce 269 kW. Com­pare that to the Porsche 911 GT3 that was launched in the early clutches of the 2000s and the ex­po­nen­tial rate of progress be­comes clear. The 3.6-litre mill from the GT3 only man­aged to churn out 265 kW, and still, you get the idea that the fig­ures from the 718’s are some­what re­strained, con­ser­va­tively with­held from its fullest po­ten­tial.

It’s not just Porsche, though, these forward leaps are dot­ted all over the mo­tor­ing land­scape. There’s the an­nounce­ment from Volk­swa­gen to dis­con­tinue man­ual gear­boxes in the GTI, all in the name of mil­lisec­ond cogshift­ing. Or, Merc’s feat of nar­row­ing the gap be­tween bakkie and lux­ury SUV by a near in­dis­tin­guish­able amount with its Navara-based X-Class.

On pa­per then, this progress looks to be all good. But, what hap­pens when this amount of progress out­pro­gresses us, ul­ti­mately out­smart­ing and out­per­form­ing us as hu­man be­ings? Well, we will have to wait and see, won’t we… But, un­til then, we will con­tinue to give you the very best in pre­mium mo­tor­ing.

Drive on!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.