Automakers know full well that we humans harbor deep, primal needs for useless gadgetry—the more complex, the better. Among the devices that never ceases to fascinate me are fold-out cupholders, and yesterday, I discovered the crème de la crème. Behold the Porsche 911's amazing pop-out drink receptacles.
Today in Stuttgart, I learned about “Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur,” a program that basically lets rich people personalize their cars with a metric crap-ton of colors and trim options. Seriously, just look at all the mini 911s in this drawer meant to help folks pick out which color they want sprayed onto their sports cars:
And look at all the interior fabric options:
But as cool as all that is, what really piqued my interest wasn’t some shiny paint or some sumptuous, mosquito bite-free leather—it was this 911:
More specifically, it was the cupholders within that captured my soul, somehow more so than the car’s powertrain, suspension, exterior styling, interior design, and other awesomeness. And that’s because, ever since I drove in my friend’s parents’ 2001 Toyota Sienna many years ago and witnessed its plastic fold-out goodness, I’ve had a deep, borderline-unhealthy love for hide-away cupholders. And if you don’t yet, prepare for that to change.
Here’s how the 911's setup, found in the dashboard just ahead of the passenger’s seat, looks with the cupholders hidden away:
The only indication that there’s even a cupholder at all is that little cup drawn on the dashboard. Click just below the cup, and behold the treasures within:
Look at that piece in the shadow on the left; that appears to be a gear, of sorts—and who doesn’t want their cupholders to have gears? You’re spending so much cash on this Porsche, you deserve cupholder gears. These are the basics, here.
Press the two white cups shown there, and behold the glory within:
What’s best is that the center piece of that dash can fold back up to ensure that the Porsche continues to look elegant on the inside, even with the latte receptacles in place.
Here’s a video of this cup holding action:
The first-gen Porsche Panamera, as well as the current Boxster and Cayman(and their predecessors starting in ~2005) have similar cupholder designs, and so did the generation of 911 prior to the one shown here, the 997. Heck, even the 996 Porsche 911 had an epic cupholder design that just slotted into the center stack. Check this out:
Sadly, though, the new Porsche 992's cupholder design isn’t quite as cool, since its button only deploys a single in-dash cupholder:
Doing so yields this:
There’s also a standard, removable cupholder in the center console that looks a bit like an afterthought, but is probably a huge step-up in terms of functionality from the fancy cupholders in the outgoing car:
Anyway, the point here is that, if given the choice between a normal, cylindrical void-shaped cupholder in the center console and a needless complicated pop-out and flip-out setup, I’m taking the latter every time for two simple reasons: One, it hides away (and I don’t find standard cupholders to be particularly pretty), and two (the most important reason), I just want to play with a fun little mechanical contraption sometimes. And by “sometimes” I really mean “all the time.”
Never mind function (this Business Insider article, for example, has nothing nice to say about how well the 991's pop-out cupholders actually hold cups)—I’m totally willing to spill a drink or two to have fun ejecting and retracting a silly gadget. And based on how many people I notice at car shows playing around with pop-out cupholders, I bet I’m not alone.