Porsche is somewhat of the happy medium between the thrill of Ferrari and the class of Mercedes-Benz, with all the good stuff in-between. And thrill and class combined are basically a guaranteed recipe for sex-appeal – one of the highest forms of social status there is. Especially when backed up by money and success. Exciting, sexy, rich – few Porsche drivers would mind that “personality type” attached to them. But how much of it is true, and what’s Porsche drivers’ personality beyond these superficial traits?
Let’s see what pop culture and studies have to say on the matter.
Porsche Drivers’ Personality in Pop Culture
The objects on the small and big screen are not random. They are not even mere inanimate objects, but prop, layers of a character’s personality, key signs of filmmakers’ very own sign language. And we, the viewers, somehow pick up on that sign language subconsciously.
So if the prompt happens to be a Porsche, not only will it be even less random, but it might even be a character in itself.
Hank Moody from Californication
What better car for a washed-up and degenerate, but also infinitely talented and charming writer, the Hollywood-esque version of Charles Bukowski, than a 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Cabrio with lots of miles on the clock? Hank’s banged-up Porsche was his embodiment, his sidekick, the first item of his “starter pack.”
Kind of beat-up and outdated, but as real and authentic as it gets. Inimitable. Full of stories and character for every dent and scratch, and especially its signature broken headlight (which Hank even replicates when he has to buy a new Porsche). Able to hold its own both among retro icons and modern flashy beasts. Unfaltering in its cool. The car itself had a personality – Hank’s personality. Poetry in motion.
Porsche’s Brand Identity
Porsche drivers’ personality should largely be a reflection of the brand’s identity, as the latter is designed specifically to appeal to a certain target audience.
And Porsche’s brand identity is bold, to say the least. Unapologetically bold and brash, but also with the wit, and most importantly the truth to back it up.
Some of Porsche’s print taglines from the golden age of advertising say it all (and not in a coy way):
“Honestly now, did you spend your youth dreaming about someday owning a Nissan or a Mitsubishi?”
“It’s about as fast as you can go without having to eat airline food.”
“If you insist on air conditioning, you can always hit the track and roll down the window at 160 mph.”
“Look at it this way, it’s either an expensive sports car or a very reasonable race car.”
“They follow the change. We make it happen.”
“All the lust allowed by law.”
“Calling it transportation is like calling sex reproduction.”
“Youth is much better when you’re old enough to enjoy it.”
Even if these messages date back to a few decades ago, a couple of key takeaways regarding Porsche drivers’ personality stand out: they are almost exclusively male, wealthy, at a mature age, looking to feel young, wild and free.
In other words, the stereotype of the middle-aged male who suddenly buys a Porsche in an attempt to stave off his midlife crisis and the accompanying feeling of fading away into oblivion and irrelevance.
Even Alan Harper from Two and a Half Men bought a Porsche (pronounced PorschA) Boxtster, but was made fun of for purchasing a women’s car, so he couldn’t even do a midlife crisis right.
Studies on Porsche Drivers’ Personality
There have been a couple of studies that touch on Porsche drivers’ personality, or at least how it appears in the eyes of the beholders, who fall in one of two categories – women or other men.
One study found that women found male Porsche drivers sexier than men who went for a non-luxury car, like a Honda Civic. Shocker. However, sexier doesn’t mean eligible for a long-term relationship. The women likely realized that domesticating a Porsche driver would be a challenge.
“When women considered him for a long-term relationship, owning the sports car held no advantage relative to owning an economy car,” says co-author Daniel Beal, assistant professor of psychology at Rice. “People may feel that owning flashy things makes them more attractive as a relationship partner, but in truth, many men might be sending women the wrong message.”
In another study from Australia, Porsche drivers were voted the sexiest, most hopeless romantics and likeliest to name their car, which speaks to a level of passion for the brand.
But an overlooked aspect of Porsche drivers’ personality is how it’s perceived by other males, especially in the context of competition. A study published in Evolutionary Psychology explored just that.
It turns out Porsche doesn’t just signal a higher social status to women. The all-male participants in the study not only perceived a Porsche driver as more attractive, intelligent, ambitious and with a higher social status, but also as more of a potential rival rather than a friend. Additionally, the Porsche driver was considered as more likely to be oriented toward short-term relationships.
The Bottom Line
A person’s entire personality certainly doesn’t boil down to their car, even when it’s a Porsche. Nor is a higher social status an actual personality type.
But a Porsche and the respective higher social status are indeed usually accompanied by ambition, intelligence, and confidence.
Beyond that, the Porsche driver’s aura seems to be a somewhat unlikely mix between an aggressive go-getter and a hopeless romantic at heart. Perhaps the common denominator between those otherwise contradictory traits is the love of freedom — and after all, the quintessential Porsche that springs to mind is a two-seater.