June 1st, 2018 is the day the lease of my 2015 Porsche Cayman ends and as it comes to an end I am reflecting on the experience it has been to be a Porsche owner. There are some obvious pros and cons to owning such an impractical beast of a car so I am documenting my opinions here.
A Childhood Dream
Since I was about 10 years old, I wanted a Porsche. In fact, if you look at my Hot Wheels collection from childhood, you will see that quite a few (still in the packaging) were Porsches. I looked forward to driving one for about 16 years before I was able to afford my own.
A Porsche is a classic and I view the cars as art, not just a vehicle for getting from A to B. Its a sports car that is not as flashy as competitors like Corvette or Maserati. To me, its a perfect mix of Luxury and Sportscar, it has high-quality leather and a high level of detail with everything while feeling like a rocket when you put the pedal to the metal. The car has less horsepower than other popular sportscars but it makes up for it in superior handling.
When people think of a Porsche they immediately associated it in a class of expensive cars, and yes, it is. But as with many expensive things, it's expensive because its worth it. At $72k, this car was significantly better quality than any other car I owned in nearly every way other than trunk space. It had more horsepower, better luxury features, surprisingly good gas mileage, better service at the dealership, etc. It also leased very well since Porsches tend to hold their value. All in all, I put down $7500 and paid $850ish/month after taxes, getting a tire/wheel package, and pre-purchasing a few extra miles (which was a mistake). My car insurance was about the same as my previous Mazda 6 at $186/month so that was not a factor in my decision. Also, I do realize that it was a horrible investment so I made sure to do it after I maxed out my retirement accounts and bought a property before wasting money.
26 or 60
One of the reasons I got the car is that I figured there were only so many times in my life I could realistically have an impractical car. In my 30s and 40s, I might be a new parent and my money would be going to more important places and I would need a more responsible car. And if I wanted to have a sportscar, it would have to be a second car which is a lot less fun. So I had to make a decision, either get this out my system at 26 or wait until I was in my 60s and my future kids were moved out. It sounded horrible to wait 30+ years so I got the Porsche even though my mother was against it.
Advantages of Leasing
Most importantly, I didn't take the liability of the car as far as maintenance goes. If anything goes wrong with the car, it is incredibly expensive to fix. The $380 oil change alone is a nice thing to avoid. With the lease, at least I know what I'm paying each month and don't have to worry about random costs that would definitely sour my experience. Porsches, along with other luxury brands, tend to lease really well. If you are planning on buying a new Porsche, it is almost always better to lease first and buying it out after. The numbers just work out better from a financial standpoint. And if for some reason the value of the car drops lower than the residual you could bail on it and switch into something else. With a typical car loan, you don't have as many options. If you're interested in learning more, I strongly recommend researching how money factors work and what the residual value means.
Did it help my business?
Yes and no. Los Angeles is a place where stereotypically you are what you drive so with that mindset, having a nice car should help you do better in business so looking back, I ask myself, did it actually help me make more money and the answer is no. If you're buying a car to make you look good, you're probably buying for the wrong reasons, you should be buying because it makes you happy, not to make people like you. That being said, I could honestly say, when I sold expensive websites/apps or told people that I have worked with Fortune 500 clients, it did help that I had a car that told a consistent story of success. So to sum up the answer to the question, 80% no, 20% yes.
Did the novelty wear off?
Surprisingly, no! Yes, the most exciting time of ownership was driving it off the lot and onto the freeway for the first time but I could honestly say that I love the car just as much today as I did when I bought it. Every time I drive it, it feels like the first time and I get excited. Giving it up will be hard but only because I have been so satisfied with the purchase.
Were other people impressed?
Sometimes, I guess. I got a mixture, sometimes people thought it was impressive that I drove a nice car while I was in my 20s and other times people thought I was being incredibly stupid with my money and I'm sure at least a couple people didn't tell me their actual thoughts.
Did I get random looks from strangers?
Not too much but every once in a while I would notice a guy in a minivan looking down at my car with enviest eyes but it rarely happened. I do happen to live in an area that has a lot of exotic cars so my car doesn't exactly stand out when its next to a Lamborghini or Ferrari.
Did I use it to get girls (pre-Heather)?
Nope, I told Heather I drove a Prius when I met her. If you are using a car to get girls you are going to attract the wrong type of girl, just ask Kanye. When I see others use their car as a way to get noticed by the opposite sex, I think its disgusting. I'd rather not be that guy. I would much rather someone be impressed by my brain or my accomplishments, not my car.
Did I get any perks from Porsche?
Yes! They treat their customers very well! Every time I went in for maintenance they gave me bottled water, a gourmet coffee, and pastries. I was also given a loaner Porsche so I would have to be Porsche-less. At the LA Auto Show, they have an owner's club where they provide you with a free lunch and drinks. I received a Welcome to Porsche package that was FedExed to me that had a nice coffee table book and Porsche pen that had the Cayman logo on it. I also kept receiving amazing marketing packages with books of their latest models. Multiple dealerships also invited me out to various car events.
The best drives
The Cayman is known for the how it handles in canyons, being a mid-engine car, it handles better than the 911 and probably better than any other car under $200k. My favorite drives would have to be in the Malibu canyons, especially those with other Porsches.
Did I meet any people?
Yes! This was actually one of the best perks of owning a Porsche. When I would go on drives, I would meet other owners and they were always super approachable and just loved talking cars. They also happened to all be fellow business owners and it turns out that I related to them with many other things. I regret not joining PCA (Porsche Club of America) and I would make a point of joining if I own another in the future.
Did I get any tickets?
Only 1, for going 80 in a 65 and I was guilty. I paid it, took driving school, and went on with my life. The cop did compliment my car as he wrote the ticket if that's worth anything, haha.
Was it comfortable?
Nope, not even remotely. Driving for over an hour caused me to have back pain and getting in and out in tight spaces was a challenge. The seats can't recline and you have nowhere to stretch your legs if they get stiff. It did, however, have heated and cooling seats and climate control so that was nice.
Why would you make it your daily driver?
Well, my life is a bit different. I work from home, I don't have kids, I have a girlfriend and parents with practical cars, and I park in a garage. All of these are conditions that make an impractical, two-seater car possible as a daily driver for me. I work 18 hour days regularly so I figured this would make simple errands like going to the grocery store a ton of fun, and it did. This would not be a practical car as a daily driver for anyone that does not work from home.
Parking was the biggest issue, having a car you care about means its a care you have to worry about. Parking on a busy street or in a rough part of town made me a bit nervous and there were times that I opted to Uber so I wouldn't have to deal with it. When parking on the street, I was concerned about scratching the wheels on the curb (I never did) and even more concerned that the person in front or behind me would bump it. Giving my keys to valets always made me nervous as well. When I had my Mazda, I was never concerned about anything parking related.
Limited Trunk Space
It was like playing Tetris everytime I went to Costco, the car has two trunks, one in the front and one in the back. They are small, you can't even fit golf clubs, so it was a challenge to find a place for everything.
You feel every bump
When you're driving the canyons or on the racetrack, this is a good thing but for everyday driving, it was a bit annoying. I had no idea how bad LA freeways are until I got the Porsche. Driving the 405 was incredibly uncomfortable and if I had to do it daily, this car would be pointless.
Did people treat me differently
My friends, not at all. Random people I met, yes. When I first got it, a guy tried to sell me a yacht (yeah, umm, no). Salesmen at other car dealers treated me a lot more seriously as well, especially at the luxury brands but it sure didn't help me get a good deal. A few of my younger friends thought I was super successful but to be honest, I saw that as a sign of immaturity.
If I ever needed to negotiate for a lower price, it was a horrible tool because people thought I was rich. That was a bit annoying.
Upgraded Speakers - The car was sold to me with an upgraded sound system using Bose speakers which are definitely much higher quality than the stock speakers, you could really hear the difference when you're listening to music... if the engine is off. The pointless part of the upgraded speaks is that you have a super loud engine directly behind you and any quality difference you might want to hear will be drowned out by the engine.
Navigation - It was actually a really nice setup, it appears on my dash and on the center console. Usability to set it up was a bit weird but once it was set up, it worked well. The issue was that I only used it once or twice and it was because I wanted to try it out. The Navigation on my iPhone was far easier to use, more convenient, and more accurate. Maybe the newer models that have Apple's CarPlay are better.
Headlight cleaner things - The idea is super cool, I literally never used it though. And times where I thought it might be nice, I didn't want to get water spots on the hood.
Seat Settings are saved with your key - First off, this makes the keys super expensive, if I lost one I would have to pay $600 when turning in the car and this is one of the reasons. It is so you could save two settings per key. How many people are really going to be driving it? Its cool from a tech perspective but honestly, pretty pointless.
Features I'll miss
Adaptive headlights - These are the headlights that follow the road. Seems pointless until you use them and wow, what a difference! You really could see more of the road and its a safety feature that I hope is on more cars in the future because I think it will prevent accidents.
Windshield Wipers Came On Automatically - I loved this! Sometimes they sensed the rain before I knew it was raining. It was really nice because its one thing you don't have to worry about figuring out when you need it. Its also just super cool from a tech perspective.
Acceleration Button Under Petal - This is something I discovered randomly, but there is a little button under the acceleration button and when you push the pedal hard it gets pressed and gives you a little extra power. It feels like your car just got another 20 or 30 horsepower boost.
Smart Mirrors - The mirrors automatically fold in when I turn off the car and when I am in reverse they slightly angel downwards to give me a better view of the curb.
Parking Assist - Between the backup camera with guides and sensors that tell you when you're getting too close, it is hard to imagine driving anything without it once you get used to it. It really helps you not scratch the car or bump into a car next to you.
A new found respect for sportscars
Sportscars deserve respect and they should be treated with care. They are powerful and if you're a parent, I would strongly not advise anyone to buy their kid one. In fact, after having this experience, I think there should be a legal age requirement for these types of car. Nobody under 21 (maybe even 25) should be allowed to drive these cars. There are too dangerous if not driven responsibly.
Was it worth it?
Yes, absolutely! If you are a car person, it totally is. If you are doing it for status or something stupid, don't do it. The car was a ton of fun and I would do it again.
What is next?
An exotic car called Uber, maybe Lyft. For at least a little bit, I'm going to see what it's like not having a car at all. I work from home and rarely drive during the week. On the weekends, I am always with Heather (my girlfriend) so I have her car. I figure that I'll only spend maybe $200 or $300 / month on Uber and I'll save on gas, auto insurance, car payment, parking, parking tickets, traffic tickets, auto registration, car washes, and general auto maintenance. I don't have to worry about a car when going on vacation and I might even be able to log some billable hours while in Ubers since I won't be driving. If it turns out to be a mistake, I'll go out and get a car, it's not a big deal at all.
In the future, I have my eye on the new Porsche Macan, Boxter, Cayman, and the new electric version they are coming out in the next years. And if one of my startup ventures hits, you'll see me with the Porsche 911 Turbo S.