Why Porsche is a Luxury Car Brand
There’s nothing like a Porsche.
As someone who gets *very* turned on by talent and creativity, I can’t help but immensely admire Ferdinand Porsche.
Despite being a mainstream car manufacturer who is today following a business strategy similar to other premium automobile manufacturers, Porsche can be considered a luxury brand through and through.
BMW, Mercedes and the like aren’t luxury car makers. They just sell premium automobiles. But Porsche? They’re different.
Nothing drives like a Porsche. And the fact that their cars look absolutely stunning is just an icing on the cake. Porsche builds driver’s cars. There are a lot of car enthusiasts who grew up with posters of the E92 M3 and Lamborghini Countach on their bedroom walls. And there are many who grew up with posters of a 911. I fall in the latter.
Now, not every car put out by Porsche is a luxury automobile. They mass produce SUVs and compact SUVs like every other car manufacturer. The difference is, any Porsche drives like a Porsche.
Like other luxury brands, Porsche has their ultra-exclusive, aspirational models and the usual range of luxury sports cars and cruisers. Regardless of the type of automobile, Porsche takes great care to ensure that every Porsche coming out of the assembly line feels like a Porsche.
‘Porsche’ and ‘car’ aren’t synonyms. A car is something we use to commute. It’s utilitarian and simply functional, with nothing going for it beyond these attributes. A Porsche stimulates your senses, igniting neurone to parts of your brain and body you never knew existed. It’s a significant difference, and one worth mentioning.
Let’s talk about the 911.
The 911 is what catapulted Porsche to the cult brand status and cemented their position as a renowned luxury automaker who makes brilliant luxury automobiles. Every car-guy I know loves a 911. Few other cars in the history of all cars can claim this title. Even the sportiest and most opulent of cars have split opinions of themselves in the car community. But not the 911. It ticks a lot of boxes, with few compromises. It’s also widely monikered as the ‘everyday supercar’.
If you consider aesthetics, the 911 is well-acknowledged to possess one of the most beautiful asses in the industry. A 911 is unmistakable anywhere in the world and it always looks the part. That’s one prophecy of luxury, fulfilled.
Next, the 911 is a pure driver’s delight. It stimulates all your senses and drives like an extension of your body. You feel one with the car. This experience can be relieved every time you go on a drive. This is all thanks to Porsche putting the the engine in the back, which gave them a lot of leverage over design and driving dynamics. Whether it’s to pick up the kids from school or a half day at your local racetrack, a Porsche will utterly delight. That’s another prophecy of luxury fulfilled.
The 911 is also a timeless automobile. If you drive a 911 from the 60s and then go for a spin in the 2022 model, it’ll feel similar. That’s because the core design philosophy has remained the same, despite it now having a lot more computers inside. The 911 is a rear-engined, wide-tyred, well-balanced, smoothly handling race-car that makes you gleefully grin every time you hug a curve.
The Porsche Experience
Except for the GT models (which are naturally aspirated🤤), Porsches ferry you around in great comfort. The ride is supple, refined and the interiors are a fantastic place to spend a good period of your lifetime in. While it isn’t a prophecy of luxury, it’s still worth mentioning. Porsches are well acknowledged for having superb ergonomics. These are fast cars that won’t hurt your body.
The RS models on the other hand offer a harsh ride. Tuned for handling and speed, the suspension is harder and you can opt for a completely barebones interior, foregoing even door handles in lieu of a piece of cloth you can pull to open the door. Now, you can’t opt for one without an entertainment console or air-conditioning (unless you hunt down one of the older air-cooled models), but Porsche tried that and their customers weren’t having any of it. So you can’t really blame the company here. 👀
Porsche makes cars that are designed to give you the best experience of going fast while still being practical. Their racing heritage is ever so evident here. You can take a well-equipped 911 to the track, run through four sets of tyres, set the fastest lap-time and then drive it home. Is that another prophecy of luxury fulfilled? Yes, yes it is. Versatility is sexy.
You can’t mention Porsche and not talk about their seemingly unlimited scope for personalisation. From unique performance options to choosing the colour of your seat-belt and instrument cluster, any Porsche can be heavily customised to make it look and feel how you want it to. This means, your Porsche is truly yours. In 2019, Porsche revealed that no more than two duplicate models are sold in a year, including the entry-level 718 Boxster and Cayman models. The chances of you having the same Porsche as someone else are slim to none. So you’re driving something that nobody else is. That ticks the exclusivity boxes for luxury.
Peruse: The Anatomy of a Luxury Car
Porsche is a car brand that has fiercely guarded its equity. And they’ve done this by staying true to their roots, consistently delivering on their promise of building the best driver’s car out there. What sets them apart from other carmakers is that they do things a certain way, for a certain audience. It’s no surprise that Porsche was voted the World’s No.1 Luxury Car Brand in 2019. I’m not one to believe in referendums, elections or democracy. But I can’t help but agree with this particular vote.
We’ve looked at four factors that establish Porsche as a luxury automaker. Despite producing vehicles for the mainstream market, they’ve remained a luxury brand. And that’s a serious achievement. A Porsche is still as aspirational as ever. Plus, they’re also embracing the future, as we’ve seen with the brilliant Taycan.
Here’s the thing. The Macan and Cayenne are obviously not luxury vehicles. But they are superior people movers. And If I ever have to buy a fun to drive, premium SUV to lug around my family in, you know I’m buying a Porsche. Simply because they’re a hoot to drive, like every other Porsche.
See, it isn’t always bad for a luxury brand to offer ordinary products. Often, it is. But as Porsche has proved, it can be done well.
Everything said, a Porsche isn’t a luxury car brand in the same league as Ferrari or Rolls-Royce. But that isn’t the point. True luxury is having your own unique identity. One that people want to get behind. And nobody else is Porsche. Nor can they be.