Rolling down the highway in North Carolina in a 2001 Porsche Boxster S, you feel every crack, hole or ripple in the interstate’s pavement…. every small surface deviation. 🙂
But this car is not meant for interstate droning; instead it excels on the curvy back roads of the world where you actually accelerate into curves for the pure joy of it all. This car sticks on any mountain road. It is, some argue, the best driving experience of any Porsche model. And the roads here in Northern Virginia suit the Boxster just fine.
Today, though, it is on a one way mission to go just shy of 600 miles to Atlanta Georgia to be traded in (gasp) on a newer 2013 version of the same car. It has been a great car, never leaving us stranded in our 7 years of ownership since 2008. It was going to remain in the garage for a few more years, but then business sense took over from the heart and I started to look at 2013 and 2014 models to upgrade to the 981.
Finding a great 2013 low mileage 981 is not hard, finding one in red, a little tougher, but still not hard. Finding one that has the options you want…well that’s the challenge. I started casually exploring leads before I found one at Hennessy Porsche in Atlanta that had everything that was on my list, more or less.
An internet deal concluded, I set Sunday, Feb 15th as the date to travel to make the exchange. Then, a winter storm working its way across the US convinced me to move it up to Sat, Feb 14th.
And this is how I find myself in my 2001 Boxster passing first Charlotte then Greenville enroute to the peach tree state. I would visit these rest stops coming and going.
It was smooth sailing the entire way until I got within 5 miles of the dealership in Roswell, GA. Then I ran into this on a Saturday… bumper to bumper…crazy! I also remembered why I wanted a PDK equipped car,; no shifting…
Arriving at the dealership I was made to feel welcome and the transaction was smooth and easy. I thought it would be hard to give up the 2001 but when I first sat in the new car I completely forgot what I had been driving for the last 7 years or how I got to the dealership even though it was parked right beside the 981.
Keys exchanged, I forget to even walk over and say goodbye to the 2001, truth be told. I turn the key in the new car and throaty rattle from the exhaust is all I think of at the moment.
I plug the coordinates of the hotel into the GPS and am quickly there and checked it with the car parked out front by the reception area. With a Red Lobster a scant 100 yard walk across the parking lot there was never really a choice and in quick succession I have a beer and dinner at the bar.
Relaxing in my room it is apparent winter weather is headed to Atlanta and all along my route on Monday..it was smart to move the trip up a day. Waking Sunday to clear skies, cold temperatures, and strong winds, I start the journey north, retracing my steps.
Wow, the ride is MUCH more comfortable from the sport seats to the smoothness of rolling down the road; all great. A very easy car to drive and enjoy…what a change! I get home Sunday afternoon beating the 8 inches of snow that would fall the next day!
2001 => 2013 Impressions
A lot of my Porsche friends asked me for a comparison of the two vehicles. Since the 2001S is an older generation vehicle a true comparison is unfair and not very useful. Instead it may be useful to remember what I really loved about the 2001 and my initial impressions of the 2013.
What I really loved about the 2001 was the round lines on the front fender and on the back, the rich guards red paint job that was flawless. The lines were classic. The shifting, while not precise was excellent once warmed up and the sounds of the flat 6 heading towards the red line was intoxicating. The acceleration was steady and unrelenting. Combined with relatively low maintenance requirements, it was a great way to break into Porsche ownership. The car was pristine and I felt a little guilty not selling to a private owner who could enjoy a great vehicle as I suspect it may just go to auction. Unfortunate because it only has 35,000 miles on the clock.
Some of the things that made it less than ideal… having to get out of the car to “chop” the rear plastic window when putting the top of and down so it did not crease. The sport seats were definitely not the most comfortable or adjustable and the lack of “tech” in the car made it a “basic” ride. I did not realize how basic until I sat in the 2013. But when it is all said and done, that car was so nice, most non Porsche folks thought it was brand new and I definitely could have kept it another 5 years. I have no idea the state of the IMS bearing as while I considered replacing it, I felt the car was solid and a lot of that was hype…I mean what are those odds? 🙂
The difference in “lines” and sound…
Well what to say…owning a late model Porsche is a treat. It is solid, fast, and beautiful. I know some will cringe when I say I will never have a manual again but the PDK is fantastic. The PDK makes it feel like you are driving a manual on both down shifts and up shifts….incredible.
The moment I started the car and heard the exhaust sound I was hooked and I don’t even have the sports exhaust option. You are sitting in a luxury sports car and the throaty sounds it is making confuses you. You think it is refined (it is) but it is still raw…Porsche got the 981 right.
The ride is smooth and firm; the adjustable sports seats great to sit in and stay put. I especially like the leg support that extends the seat for a tall driver. Superior navigation system that allow on the move inputs; great stereo with Bose speakers, heated and cooled seats for winter and summer, and memory setting for the seats that are linked to individual keys.
Add in rear parking assist, automatic dynamic headlights that follow curves, and rain sensors you have capable, comfortable car with the latest tech. The info center in front of the driver can bring up car data, tire pressures, a mini nav map, a g force meter, audio controls and blue tooth phone displays…all at a tip of a stalk on the steering column.
I knew I wanted the sports steering wheel with the paddle shifters so you have the choice of shifting from there or and gear shift on the center console. It rocks. Push a button and you enter sport mode, push another button and you are in sports + mode. I was accelerating down and exit ramp on the way home and touched the sport button…the revs automatically got higher and it felt like I was shot out of cannon. I have not even touched the Sport + mode or tried launch control.
So yes, I know the 981 is not a super car but I tell you what; when you sit in it and turn the key, it damn well feels like it. It is just that good…