Category Archive 'Dan Neil'

17 May 2010

Best Newspaper in America Recently Got Better

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Base price: $143,800, Price, as tested: $172,905, ouch!

The Wall Street Journal recently began adding automobile reviews by Dan Neil to its weekend edition. Neil is not only a hard-core enthusiast, he writes like P.J. O’Rourke after six cups of Jamaica Blue Mountain sweetened with Cardhu.

Screaming into a top-down tornado at 130 mph in the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, I am reminded—as I’m sure most people are—of Thomas Aquinas.

To wit: When is a thing perfect, complete, finished—when does Porsche drop the paint brush and walk away from the canvas? When will one more stroke diminish the whole?

The medieval philosopher, riffing on Aristotle, argued that a thing is perfect when it lacks nothing (the Greek “teleos,” or completeness, approximates the Latin “perfectio”) and that it ultimately attains its purpose.

Well, man, if this car isn’t there I’ll eat my skullcap. Let’s count it out: 500 hp; 0-60 mph in a forebrain-flattening 3.3 seconds; top speed of 194 mph; a nice even 1 g of lateral grip; all-wheel drive. Throw in a great canvas top and 24 miles per gallon fuel efficiency, and an exhaust note that sounds like the Kraken gargling 50-year-old Glenfiddich, and it begins to appear as if the long history of the Porsche 911 has to come to some sort of immense, satisfying conclusion. I mean, even if you regard this thing as merely a bald-spot delivery system for rich dudes, it does that mission so exceeding well. Aren’t we flirting with the best of all possible sports cars here?

Yes, obviously, a car could always be better. The Turbo Cab could cost $19.95, come with 73 virgins, use the owner’s smugness as a propellent. From its lethal-looking dual exhaust pipes, the Turbo Cab might emit only rainbows and unicorns.

Read the whole thing.

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