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Auto blogThu, 29 Aug 2013 11:57:00 EST
Second Fiddle Moves To First Chair
In the interest of full disclosure and a bit of bloodletting, allow me to admit that while I've always coveted the Porsche Boxster and its hard-hatted Cayman cousin, I've never really warmed to them visually. They've always had a certain push-me, pull-you, can't-decide-which-way-they're-going aesthetic that I've never really wrapped my head around. Porsche achieved the same thing with the original 550 Spyder's overturned bathtub bodyshell that would come to inspire the Boxster, but somehow that classic's even more symmetrical nature works for me. Fast-forward to this third generation, and at least for this enthusiast, Porsche's manchild has well and truly come of age as a design.
It's all there - a piercing stare thanks to squircle headlamps inspired by the 918 Spyder hypercar, newfound directional thrust afforded by a longer wheelbase and elongated greenhouse, and muscular rear haunches with a wider stance emphasized by larger side ductwork and snubbed overhangs. The body's teardrop shape terminates with an active spoiler that integrates into a gorgeous arc with the taillamps like a budding ducktail nod to 1973 911 Carrera RS. Despite casting a longer shadow than its predecessor, the 2014 Cayman still looks tidily proportioned, smooth and wieldy, the perfect skipping stone to ricochet down a canyon river road.
Investors have canvassed courts in Europe and the US to repeatedly sue Porsche over its failed attempt to take over Volkswagen in 2008 (see here, and here and here), and they have repeatedly failed to win any cases. You can add another big loss to the tally, with Bloomberg reporting that the Stuttgart Regional Court has dismissed a 1.4-billion euro ($1.95B US) lawsuit, the decision explained by the court's assertion that the investors would have lost on their short bets even if Porsche hadn't misled them.
Examining the hedge funds' motives for stock purchases and the bets that VW share prices would fall, judge Carola Wittig said that the funds didn't base their decisions on the key bits of "misinformation," and instead were participating simply in "highly speculative and naked short selling," only to get caught out.
With other cases still pending, the continued streak of victories bodes well for Porsche's courtroom fortunes, since judges will expect new information to consider overturning precedent. If there is any new info, it could come from the potential criminal cases still outstanding against former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and CFO Holger Härter, who were both indicted on charges of market manipulation.
Back in 1965, Porsche invented the 911 Targa as a matter necessity. Believing that a finicky National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was prepared to outlaw convertibles, the innovative automaker created the half-open car as a way to keep wind rushing through owners' hair. Though far removed from those formative days, it seems as though the 2015 Porsche 911 Targa has come to the Detroit Auto Show with a new-school version of some old-school tech.
While the last Targa featured a trick sliding glass roof at the touch of the button, the new car dramatically swallows a traditional-looking panel via an exceptionally complex-looking mechanical operation. The net result is "the same fun factor and freedom" that can be had with a complete convertible, though with slightly more open-driving protection while underway.
And, as is the case with all of the current 911 range, getting underway can be done with reasonable rapidity. The entry-level Targa 4 rocks a 350-horsepower, 3.4-liter flat-six engine just behind the rear axle, making that car good for 175 miles per hour at the top end (with the seven-speed manual, 174 mph with PDK) and a 0-to-60 sprint of 4.6 seconds. The Targa 4S, meanwhile, offers 400 horsepower from 3.8-liters of boxer six, runs to 60 in 4.2 seconds and hits a top "track speed" of 183 mph.