Say you’re Coca-Cola a few decades ago. You only sell one product: regular Coke. Sales are great, you got the taste just right, life is good.
Then along came Diet Coke. Zero calories, yes, but the flavor trailed behind the original by a wide margin so there’s no concern that Diet Coke will become the most-beloved beverage.
Then Coke Zero shows up. It’s a little closer in flavor, and without that evil thing that has struck fear into the hearts of humans in the last decade: calories. But is it better than original coke? Diets and ripped abs aside, no.
But what if Coca-Cola created a soda that was better than the original? Would they put it out? Or would they leave it in the lab, hidden in a vault behind armed guards, never to be released to the public for fear that it would take away from that thing that people and brands value so highly: tradition?
This mythical soda came to my mind when I was driving the 2014 Porsche Cayman. Ever since the Cayman came out people have looked at its power deficit (compared to the 911) with the skeptical eyebrow of a Clint Eastwood gunfight, “Why don’t you guys don’t put the big engine in it? Ya yella?” The Cayman/Boxster has a mid-engine layout, the premier choice for McLaren, Lamborghini, Ferrari’s race cars, and the mack-daddy: F1. According to the laws of physics, it is the superior engine placement. Check out C&D‘s in-depth breakdown featuring a Cayman R and a GT3, but the conclusion was:
“But had we pitted the Cayman R against a more pedestrian 911, the handling tests likely would have been tighter. Or alternately, imagine for a minute a Cayman RS armed with more than 400 horsepower, a nice fat set of Pilot Sport Cup tires, and another dollop of carbon fiber. That would be one awesome Porsche. And one likely capable of finally eclipsing the iconic 911.”
Which brings me to the title question: If Porsche made a Cayman with power and tires equal to the 911 (let’s say The Carrera 4s’ 400HP), what—if anything—would make you choose the 911 instead? The Cayman has 2 trunks, but the 911 has a back seat (sort of). The 911 has traditional looks, yes, but where I live the shape is so common it gets the notice of a stack of newspapers.
So I want to hear from you.