By all accounts, Porsche makes some pretty amazing automobiles. But do cars that sell for $80K and $95K belong on a list naming the best values for consumers?
Value is a fairly subjective matter. The quote Warren Buffett made famous on the issue is that, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
Apparently, the folks at Kiplinger believe that what you get in a Porsche is two, three, or even four times more valuable than other cars. The magazine’s annual “Best New Car Values” package features two Porsches that most drivers would place in the “dream cars” discussion, not one for “best values.”
The Porsche 911 Carrera, with a sticker price of $79,950, gets the nod for Best New Model in the Sports Cars category. Other winners in the category are priced at a fraction of the Porsche, including the overall Best in Class, Chevy Camaro 1SS ($32,750) and the Best Resale Value, Ford Mustang ($23,105).
The Porsche Panamera Hybrid (sticker price: $95,975), meanwhile, has been named Best New Model in the category of cars priced $50,000 and up. Mercedes’ E350, with an MSRP a bit less than half the Porsche ($52,565) is the category’s Best in Class victor.
Mind you, all of these vehicles fall under the larger headline of “Best New Car Values.” Isn’t this all a little bit silly?
Kiplinger divides up its list into multiple pricing categories that don’t reflect how most consumers shop for cars. Drivers are often interested in specific kinds of cars—family sedan, sports car, luxury automobile, economy vehicle—but rarely do they limit themselves to a specific price bracket such as $40,000-$50,000. Instead, if they’re attracted to a “best value” list, they tend to want to learn about the best overall values for various types of cars, with price factored into the equation.
And when price is factored in, it’s hard to justify the presence of an $80K car next to one that costs two-thirds less.