Porsche builds its cars in Germany, but there may be no better place to own one than Southern California. The scenic roads, omnipresent sunshine, and vibrant automotive culture contribute to a disproportionate number of Porsches finding homes in the Golden State since the automaker first started sending its bathtub-shaped “356” runabouts stateside in the early 1950s. And California’s love affair with Porsche has only grown stronger. Not only do cars like the gorgeous 718 Boxster GTS demonstrate how far even basic Porsches have come in the last 65 years, but two significant new Porsche facilities — indiGO Auto Group’s groundbreaking Porsche Palm Springs dealership on East Palm Canyon Drive and the exciting Porsche Experience Center in Carson, south of L.A. — make buying and owning one of these machines more rewarding than ever.
The first-of-its-kind prototype showroom in Palm Springs attracts architecture enthusiasts as well as drivers looking for their next Porsche 911, Cayman, Cayenne, or Boxster.
A Global Prototype
Anyone who has driven along East Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs has undoubtedly noticed that the sexy new building filled with a colorful array of lip-smackingly beautiful sports cars. Behold the new Porsche Palm Springs. But the auto dealership is more than a pretty building. It’s the first-of-its-kind architectural prototype for Porsche’s future retail and service centers, and the world’s Porsche community has taken notice.
To make it happen, indiGO Auto Group owner Todd Blue worked with the highest echelon of the brand’s executives in Stuttgart, Germany, to determine the building’s layout, materials, mood, and motifs. Each car model is housed in its own enclave to celebrate its unique design properties without distraction. There’s also showroom space for classic Porsches. Guests can view the service bays — all paved with tiles designed to remain spotless — through a giant window midway up to the second floor. Once upstairs, a footbridge across the main pathway hearkens to the enclosed “sky bridges” at Porsche’s famed Zuffenhausen plant through which partially finished cars pass during the assembly process. The louvers on the main façade have meaning as well, evoking those on the voluptuous rump of Porsche’s most famous sports car: the inimitable 911 Carrera.
The new dealership is already a landmark, attracting interest from customers to general Porschephiles to architecture fans. I’ve visited a few times, and the staff — knowing that I’m not going to buy a car that day — has always welcomed me to come in, grab a coffee, and enjoy the eye candy.
• READ NEXT: Todd Blue, a member of the Big List.
Have Your Porsche 718 Boxster GTS …
As Porsche prepares to launch its next-generation 911 sports car in the United States, I’ll take this opportunity to cheerlead for one of my favorites: the intimate, well-balanced, and somewhat attainable 718 Boxster and Cayman line. As the least expensive Porsche sports cars, the 718 Cayman (hardtop) and Boxster (convertible) models are often maligned, sometimes called the “poor man’s Porsche.” Anyone who thinks that, let alone says it, is misguided. First of all, they are built with the same level of material quality and craftsmanship as the 911, they have scintillating steering and handling, and the base models sound great and are plenty quick. Upgrade to the S or GTS models, like my most recent tester, the 718 Boxster GTS, and performance is better. There’s nothing at all “poor man” about a Boxster that costs more than $99,000, as did this one. That said, I’ve sampled many cars more expensive than this — including a few 911s — that didn’t feel as special. Make mine Carmine Red, thank you.
… And Drive It, Too
Porsches are simply amazing to drive. They may even make you feel like you’re a better driver than you are. But however good you are now, hotshot, you’ll be better after taking a course or three at the 53-acre Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles.
The center’s menu includes 20 different courses lasting between two and four hours — always one-on-one, always in the driver’s seat — for virtually all skill levels, ranging in focus from basic car control to advanced performance driving, including off-roading and even ice-driving techniques (yes, in L.A.). It is not a racing school, however, as the courses are not competitions. (Porsche has other facilities for that.) I have taken two courses there: the Cayenne Turbo and the highly illuminating “mid versus rear engine experience,” where I learned on their dry courses and some slippery stuff exactly how different the physics of mid-engine cars like the 718 Boxster and Cayman are from those of the rear-engine 911 Carrera.
The center has examples of virtually all Porsche road cars, from the base Macan to the hard-core 911 GT2, so you don’t have to use your own Porsche, though you can take delivery of a new one there and drive it home after learning how to explore its limits — safely — on a closed course. And while you’re there, you can watch race cars being built and maintained in the adjacent Porsche Motorsports garage, challenge yourself in immersive driving simulators, peruse the gift shop, fill up at the Speedster Cafe, or enjoy a more formal meal at Restaurant 917 overlooking the courses. porschedriving.com/los-angeles