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February 6, 2023

Sportscar In Their DNA: Experiencing The Porsche World Road Show 2023

Welcome to the Porsche World Road Show (PWRS), a professional driving event that’s been held in more than 45 countries around the world. Seen purely from a marketer’s standpoint, there’s no better way to showcase the singleness of the Porsche mindset. It’s proof of the brand’s philosophy achieved through generations of honing and improvement. For owners and enthusiasts, it’s the best way to experience the entire line-up in the way it’s meant to be experienced.

After eight years, the PWRS returned to Indonesia. Hosted at the 3.965-kilometer circuit Sentul Internal Circuit at the foot of the Jonggol Mountains, the one-day PWRS program put an array of Porsches through braking, slalom, vehicle handling exercises, and an off-road experience. Also included is a “taxi ride” in the recently launched 911 GT3 RS or the equally sharp 718 Cayman GT4 RS.

Greeting you at the parking lot is one of the widest displays of Porsche models—27 of them—in one setting. These included the 718 Boxster GTS 4.0, the 911 Turbo S, the 911 GT3, the Cayenne Turbo GT, and the all-electric Taycan Turbo S.

Auto journalists are accustomed to driving on the track, but when handling multi-million-peso rides producing in excess of 700 horsepower in some cases, it’s always good to start with the basics. In this case, a brief on the proper driving position with the arms and knees slightly bent and the seatback set upright. Of course, there’s constant reiteration of Porsche Stability Management or PSM, and why it must remain on. It’s often joked by the instructors to actually mean, Please Save Me.

After being divided into color-coded teams, the day started right off the deep end with a slalom using the 718 Boxster GTS. The brief was simple: drive around a series of cones, make a U-turn, go around the cones again, and then stop within a stipulated box. The trick here is to be smooth and consistent with the accelerator and steering wheel, while trying to clock the fastest time for a special prize (spoiler alert, I didn’t win it).

With a normally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-6, this 718 Boxster is one of the sharpest versions of Porsche’s mid-engined sportscar. The perfect weight distribution meant it’s extremely precise and agile. Through this short course, however, the 420 horsepower engine felt like it was being blue balled.

No matter, because it’s time to get smashed using the latest 911 Turbo S in an acceleration and braking exercise. On paper, it simply meant to accelerate and brake in a straight line. In reality, it showed the brutality of this lime green machine with its turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-6 making 650 horsepower and 800 Nm of torque. Zero to 100 km/h takes as little as 2.7 seconds, and stopping it takes roughly the same time thanks to its Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake or PCCB system. The entire exercise is done in less than 100 meters.

Further proving that their sportscar DNA is present even in their first EV, the Taycan, a drag race was done pitting the 911 Turbo S against the Taycan Turbo S. With launch control activated on both machines, they rocketed off the line with the same sort of ferocity (2.7 seconds versus 2.8 seconds). However, because of its higher peak power (761 horsepower) and torque (1,050 Nm), the Taycan, even with four people aboard, squeezes a win out every time. What’s even more impressive is how consistent it is. According to PWRS instructors, they’d be doing more than 80 launch control launches a day for two weeks straight—that’s about 1,120 all in all—and the Taycan will do it day in and day out with zero issues.

With those two exercises down, it was time to sample the four-door range. Once again, the Taycan, this time in GTS guise, proved that it’s right at home on the track with the Panamera and the Macan. In fact, its steering had a degree of sharpness and immediacy only matched by the 911. It may have felt heavy through corners, but there’s almost no understeer. Its torque on the straightaways is also addicting.

After lunch, it was time to slow things down with a mini off-road track using the Cayenne—something sane Porsche owners won’t do. But once again, it showed just how capable this luxury SUV is, and how much engineering went into making it a true all-rounder. Whatever the obstacle it was presented with, it cleared it with just the push of a button.

The day ended with laps aboard the 911 range. And by this time, you’ll just feel that everything in a Porsche is just better. Steering input is simply mental: you think about turning in and the car hits the apex. It’s so communicative whether it be the 911 Targa 4S, the 911 GTS, or even the 911 GT3. As far as the driver is concerned, you point it and these cars will react. It’s something shared across the line. Naturally, the track-focused 911 GT3 is more raucous and will gobble you up if you don’t treat it with respect. Luckily, it’s PSM to the rescue. The sound of the Flat-6 purring all the way to the redline, the gurgling note of the free-flowing exhaust, and the banging of the precise gearshifts from the PDK dual-clutch system leaves you asking for more.

The Porsche World Road Show shows you how far the German sports car maker has gone through decades of careful evolution and radical evolution. It shows how each of their vehicles carry the very same essence, the very same DNA of precision engineering whatever the body style and whatever the propulsion system.

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