On Sunday, I went back to the local Porsche dealer. The week before, the test drive cars were away in Omura, Nagasaki for an event. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my dream car has been a Porsche 911, but after seeing the latest models, I preferred the Cayman. The folks at the Porsche dealer, run by Adel Cars in Kumamoto were kind enough to let me take the car above for a very generous test drive.
The car is started by a special key, and immediately you can hear that awesome Porsche tuning and power. The dealer is more towards the southwest of the city, so they use the road heading down to the port (a nice, long straight road). The car is all automatic; although you can simulate shifting with the gear selector. I'm told the automatic function is faster than a manual transmission, and from the smooth shifting in the car I drove, I can take no issue with that.
The car is a breeze to drive—the shifting is smooth, the steering is tight, and the braking is solid. I had a clear route several times on the way to the port and back, so I was able to step out a bit, as it were. I had a fantastic impression from the car. Even though the engine was right behind me (it's mounted midship), it was not noisy. However, there is no comparison to the quiet of the Model S. I did not test the sound of the audio system, so I'm not sure if there is an auto adjustment according to the sound of the engine. All in all, the car was a blast to drive.
If I had no knowledge of the Model S, I would have chosen the Cayman. After comparing the two, I prefer the Model S P85+. The Cayman's small navigation system screen, lack of storage space, missing wifi connection, 6-10 kilometers per liter in gasoline (the high-octane variety!) and, at a minimum, ¥80,000 in annual maintenance costs were deal-breakers for me. Plus, there are thousands of Porsches on the road here. I want to be a kind of pioneer for electric cars and support the burgeoning infrastructure supplying electric energy for transportation. A full Model S P85+ charge using the night rate is around ¥1,000. A full tank of gasoline for the Cayman (60 liters) is around ¥10,000. The choice became easy for me.
On the other hand, the local Porsche dealer will have full service in case of problems. Tesla will need to work hard to get its service out to the country. I was told orders for Model Ss have come from Hokkaido to Okinawa and all points between. A lot will be riding on sales of the Model S in Japan.