In this Saturday’s edition of unnecessary car shopping with E90M3, we start with a 997 6MT Carrera S convertible. Last time I had to make a tough decision about a job I went and test drove a 996 Turbo convertible, figured I should continue that tradition.
This is third Porsche I’ve driven, I think I’m starting to become a Porsche person. The steering is sublime; it is, no other word, fantastic. It is a joy to operate the steering wheel, the steering is perfectly weighted, probably my favorite part of the car. I’m sure the lack of weight over the front axel really helps. I lack words to accurately describe how the steering felt.
The clutch, on the other hand, was something I didn’t really like. It seemed unnecessarily heavy. I bet stop and go traffic would be terrible in this. After driving two 997s, I’m going to assume that Porsche uses a heavy clutch. The M3 has a heavy clutch, but it’s not this heavy. I came into the drive expecting this, so I wasn’t shocked this time. That said, once you get moving, you sort of forget about it and just drive.
In keeping with the theme of shifting gears, I was going to say I found the shifting linkage to be sloppy. Now that I think about, it was fine. It wasn’t the most crisp shifter I’ve used, but it wasn’t bad. I red lined the 996 turbo in second, and was searching for third gear for a second, that shifter was sloppy. This 997 felt fine. Rev-matching downshifts with the top down was a glorious experience.
I think this car has been sitting for a while. I was breaking for an intersection and giving what would be adequate braking in the M3 and we were not slowing down enough. It was like oh shit I need to brake harder, going to assume that there might be water in the brake fluid; they felt pretty spongy.
Also, when I started the test drive the fasten seat belts warning would not go off. The sales guy and I buckled and unbuckled several times trying to get the car to shut up, that didn’t work. It did eventually go off and I’m not sure why. Although, I was too enthralled with the drop top manual Porsche I was driving to be bothered by it. I also found the materials in the interior to be lacking, they seemed more at home in a VW as opposed to a Porsche.
All of that said, I really want one. If I go back to the oilfield, I might get myself a 997.2.
The second car I test drove was an XF S Sportbrake. There was a Maserati/Alfa Romeo dealer on the same road as the Porsche dealer with a couple other dealers in the middle. One of those dealers is Jaguar. I was going to the Alfa Dealer because I wanted to look at the Giulia, because I got this random idea in my head I should lease one. Well, on the short drive there, I saw this and wanted to at least look at it.
It is a very handsome car. I’m really like the styling on Jaguars as of late.
The saleswoman that came out was like let me get the keys. I really just wanted to look at it, but whatever I’ll drive it.
Popped the hood while she was photocopying my license.
I literally knew nothing about this car before I stopped by the dealer today other than the fact that they were selling them here. The saleswoman wasn’t very knowledgeable either, but she confessed on the way back to the dealer that she had only been on the job for a month and was still learning. She did know a lot about the features, and wasn’t phased when I asked if it was electric or hydraulic steering. Simply said I think it’s electric. She did a lot better than most salesman I usually get, I’ll give her an A for effort.
Now onto the car itself.
While she was inside, I turned on the stereo on turned up the stereo. It had the Meridian system and it sounded really good. The Harman Kardon stereo is the one option I really wish my M3 came with. While we’re talking about noise, let’s talk about the absence of noise. The cabin was very quiet at 60 MPH, then again, it is a $70k and that should be expected.
Steering was nice, didn’t feel over-boosted or numb. Felt responsive, but I didn’t really get to chuck it into any corners. I take note about steering in modern cars because I hated the EPS in the 228i I had as a loaner once.
The XF S Sportbrake comes with the supercharged V6, good for 380 hp. It felt pretty quick despite lugging around almost 4400 lbs. I didn’t take it to the red line, because it only had 44 miles on it when I drove it. Didn’t want to thrash it before it was broken in, but I could tell it wanted to move and even keeping it under around 4k it moved. The engine note was also pretty nice, not that you could really hear it from the cockpit.
Visibility from the cockpit was surprisingly good. It lacks massive D pillars, like the CTS-V wagon, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
I liked it, but I spent most of the test drive in disbelief that it was that easy for me to test drive a 70k car. That said, I remember before I had the M3 it was hard to even get dealers to talk to me, now they’re like let me go get the keys.
Before I drove either car, I stopped at Mercedes to see what they had. They didn’t have anything I wanted to, but they did have two cars perviously featured on unnecessary car shopping with E90M3.
These 2015s are very much still on the lot and not just ones that the dealer forgot to remove from online.