Road trips can be good for the soul. Driving for the pure enjoyment of it, on scenic roads, taking the long way ’round, provides a chance to unwind, relax and try to push all your worries away.
It’s just you, the car, and the road. Turn the stereo up and sing to your heart’s content, or turn it down to hear the engine do its thing. After all, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
And you can achieve all of this in any car on any road, but, the ultimate experience has to be driving a sports car on scenic roads.
That’s exactly what we’re doing with the 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman S.
To start the day of driving, we head to Port Melbourne, to where the Volkswagen Club of Victoria is having a coffee meeting. And it’s not long before a small group of enthusiasts crowd around the cousin of their beloved Volkswagens.
“Unmistakably Porsche,” says one.
“It sounds exactly like a Porsche,” remarks another.
“It’s just as hard to get into as a Karmann Ghia,” comments a VW fan.
Listen to what the rest of the members had to say below:
After politely ignoring a “spin the tyres” hand signal from one of the excited members, we’re out of the city and onto the Monash Freeway. Fuel economy checks in at 7.9-litres per 100-kilometres.
Destination? Warrandyte, for the starting point of the Porsche 356 Club’s annual Winter Run.
While my 356 Speedster is taking a visit to a panel shop, the modern Cayman is welcomed with open arms by Club members, with some understanding that 8 degrees Celsius is perhaps a tad cold to have my car’s soft top down anyway!
With a quick coffee and a route handover, we’re on our way to a winery in the Yarra Valley for lunch. Heated seats, heated steering wheel and dual climate control are a blessing, and this is the reason too, why one of the Club’s members opted for their black Macan GTS instead. It’s pleasing to see our Cayman has some ‘new car’ company.
The beauty of going on club runs is you drive roads you perhaps would never have taken. For what should’ve been a 35km trip, we’ve opted for a 97km scenic route that takes nearly two hours. It’s a huge loop, but nobody complains because the roads are to die for.
My lucky passenger soaks up views of windmills, swamps, sheep, cows, dilapidated old farm houses and luscious green grass that covers the ground like a quilt. Whereas my view through the windscreen consists of a dozen 356s, and in the rear-view mirror of the Cayman S, the Porsche Macan bringing up the rear.
For 20kms of the trip, we drive the Healesville-Kinglake Road, which could be mistaken for the famous Black Spur, with thick shrubbery, tall trees and fernery. It’s a lush wonderland, perfect for driving, ideal for Porsches. The only real difference between it and the Black Spur is, thankfully, that there’s barely any traffic, so we are able to keep up with the 80km/h speed limit. Nothing buzzkills a road trip more than a Conga line of slow-moving traffic.
The 356s are surprisingly nimble, and you can tell the drivers are enjoying ‘blowing out the cobwebs’ of their little Porsche icons. Meanwhile, I have Sport mode engaged in the Cayman, which amplifies the sound of the optional sports exhaust as it snarls out crackles and pops backing off for tight bends. This is where the Cayman is like a kid in a candy store. It’s built to drive on, be driven on, roads like these.
Eighties tunes on the BOSE sound system take a backseat for a brief moment, as the windows are wound down so we can hear that sonorous, snarling exhaust even better, and to smell the fresh forest air. Instead, we are enveloped by classic car fumes from the flotilla of 356s on the road ahead. Windows back up again.
The paddle-shifters are put to good use to get the most out of the seven-speed PDK transmission, and the P Zero tyres do their best to keep the rear-wheel-drive car on the road.
After a decent drive, the fuel economy for the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine is reading at a still respectable 9L/100km.
We pass through towns like Wandin, Seville and Toolangi, and in Kinglake, we are reminded of the devastating Black Saturday fires with black, burnt tree trunks still evident across the landscape.
Arriving at our destination break-down-free, the group parks up and enjoys a bite to eat with some locally made wine, while admiring the mountain views from where we had just originated. The topic of conversation is, surprise, surprise, Porsches.
Stressed? Bored? Take a road you’ve never travelled, take the long way and enjoy your car. You won’t regret it.