Porsche, in an attempt to expand its already impressive market presence and draw a greater number of aspirational consumers, ventured into new territory when it launched Porsche Drive, a vehicle subscription and rental program managed through a smartphone app. That was half a decade ago, and the service has grown exponentially as far as members and locations offered. Initially operating only in Atlanta, Porsche Drive is now available in 15 cities across the US, including Philadelphia, Houston, Nashville, and Los Angeles.
“We looked at our product portfolio and realized that if the only way to access a Porsche is to lease or finance it, then we were missing a whole different group of customers,” says Vaughan Griffiths, manager of Mobility Services at Porsche Financial Services. “During the first two years of the program in Atlanta, we identified these new personas that were, on average, 10 percent younger than our traditional buyer or leasing customer—that’s great for the longevity of the brand—and they were new to Porsche. And if we want to expand our product portfolio, we need to bring new customers in.”
The models currently accessible through the app are the Macan, the 718 Cayman and Boxster, the Cayenne, the all-electric Taycan, the Panamera and, of course, select 911 variants. As for the subscription platform’s reach, more than 2,000 people have used it so far.
Once approved, members can select a single-vehicle subscription that requires a commitment to the car for a choice of one month or three. There’s also a multi-vehicle plan that allows for alternating between models. Pricing ranges from $1,700 (for the Macan) to $3,200 (for the 911) per month, while the multi-vehicle subscription is a flat fee of $3,600 for the month activated. The cost also includes insurance coverage, roadside assistance and maintenance.
“We joined the Porsche Drive program during spring of this year,” says Lauren Castanos, the general sales manager for Beverly Hills Porsche. “What I’ve seen with our [Porsche Drive] clients is that we’ve had no relationship with them before. They come from all walks of life and all different ages, but they tend to be in the creative space and are more like nomads; they don’t know if they will be here long as perhaps they’re here on a contract or are bi-coastal. Creative people like flexibility . . . and we’re in LA, who wants a commitment?” Castanos goes on to mention that the most requested Porsche Drive cars at her dealership are 911s and Taycans, which is no surprise since she notes that Beverly Hills Porsche is ranked first and second in the nation for sales of those respective models.
Griffiths and a few from the Porsche Drive team recently joined Castanos to commemorate the subscription service’s five-year anniversary and invite a select few to sample the app and membership, at least for the day. After downloading the app and registering, our small cadre cruise away from Beverly Hills and are soon on Pacific Coast Highway, the fleet of Porsches flanked by the ocean on one side and Malibu’s serpentine canyon roads on the other. The latter proves ideal to test the Taycan’s drive dynamics, which superbly belie the added weight that’s de rigueur with any battery platform. The zero-emissions head-turner also seems to perfectly fit the ecologically conscious, hipster-chic vibe of Topanga Canyon—as does our dining spot, the Inn of the Seventh Ray.
After lunch and more backstory from Griffiths on the development of Porsche Drive, its roll-out and growth, it’s time to simulate the multi-vehicle subscription and switch up cars, which finds me behind the wheel of a 911 Carrera S. The rear-wheel-drive coupe is fit with a 443 hp, six-cylinder mill that delivers 390 ft lbs of torque and is mated to an eight-speed PDK transmission (there’s also a manual option available). It’s a power-train combo that allows the 3,382-pound (curb weight) Carrera to cover zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and top out at 191 mph. Such athletic prowess is wasted, though, on the late-afternoon traffic encountered while returning to Beverly Hills for a bit of a debrief.
Overall, the entire Porsche Drive process feels hassle-free and hugely convenient, especially considering that after signing up for a particular car on the app, it’s dropped off (and retrieved from) your home or office—a service that’s free of charge within 20 miles of the enrolled dealer.
“For our customers, this is a seamless experience and journey,” says Griffiths. “Our concierges provide product knowledge, and the experts at the dealerships are the ones making the deliveries and educating new customers, all to make sure their first experience with Porsche is a positive one.”
Click here for more photos illustrating the Porsche Drive subscription and rental app.