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10 Mar 2016

2016 Geneva Motor Show

Report and photos of the 718 Boxster and 911 R.

Words and photos by Martin Broadribb.

The Geneva Salon has always been an important motor show for launching new Porsche models and this year marked the debut of the new Boxster. While this was expected, the announcement of the new 911R caught many unawares and so there was double the reason to attend.

The 718 Boxster, with its sharpened front and rear details and prominent air intakes has already received much publicity and was well up to expectations, but it was particularly interesting to see the new flat four turbo engine. It seems a little ironic that the new 718 should look a lot less like the original 718 than the first 986 series Boxster did, but the company seems keen to remind potential purchasers of its historical precedent for having four cylinders, perhaps to deflect any sales resistance. There might also be some resistance to the fussy rear badges, although I’m sure they can be deleted. Such adornments are apparently popular with the Chinese, now Porsches’ biggest market!

The 911R is a reminder of how good a performance 911 can look without any obvious appendages and the interior is pared down too, with a great combination of black and houndstooth check/brown seats. Its lack of self-consciousness gives it all the appearance of being a serious drivers car, although its instant collector/investor appeal is likely to militate against this.

An original 718 from the Porsche Museum was also displayed, although when the 982 Spyder arrives it would be so nice if it could include at least some 718 styling references.  However, Geneva does provide Porsches for those who feel that the factory offerings are a little too ‘ordinary’, so let’s consider a few of those.

TechArt can certainly be considered as being beyond the ordinary, but as well as their usual 911, Macan and Cayenne elaborations they exhibited their Panamera Turbo S-based Grand GT. The purple paint certainly lifted the body out of the realms of the sometimes rather staid colour schemes found on this model, but the over-detailed purple/white interior probably crosses the boundary of good taste, wherever you might choose to set it! Of their other offerings, the 911s were comparatively restrained visually and looked as very well made as ever.

Also quite restrained was the Hamman Macan Turbo in a very glossy black, especially after the matt Gulf-style livery which they displayed last year. With the recent news that the Macan and Cayenne are Porsches’ top sellers, the importance of these models cannot be overlooked in the way in which they contribute to the financial health of the company and thus assist in the development of the more sporting models.

Moscow-based modifiers Top Car presented yet another steroid-infused Cayenne and their 911 Stinger, the example displayed based on a 991 Turbo S. Both conversions appeared well executed, but once again it was RUF who provided the most diverse and interesting Porsche display. Although this comprised 911’s with the exception of their amazing CTR3, the quality of their cars on display equalled anything at the Salon and they covered an interesting range, from a Carrera RS to various carefully thought-out variations on more recent models. Alois Ruf was also in attendance.

The Salon certainly provides the opportunity to see a lot of new and unusual Porsches in one place. It would be difficult to witness this anywhere else and so a visit to Switzerland is always worthwhile. 

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