Women like men and men like cars.
“Hmm, it says here that women think George Clooney has more sex appeal than a Ferrari. Maybe that’s because women don’t know how to drive a Ferrari,” said Torsten Kadletz, a used-car dealer unafraid of feminists. He was studying a recent German magazine survey that asked men and women how they’d rather spend a weekend: with a fuel-injected sports car or an air-brushed celebrity.
“The Lamborghini versus Britney Spears,” Kadletz said. “The Lamborghini is an interesting car and Britney is way too young. What’s a 50-year-old man going to do with Britney Spears for two days? Pamela Anderson against the Ferrari? The Ferrari wins. Anderson’s past her prime.”
Few things are more invigorating to the German man than a clear windshield, a palm on the gearshift and miles of open autobahn. In 12 pages of statistics leavened with pictures of half-dressed women draped over expensive upholstery, Men’s Car magazine sought to find out where cars and lust intersect. The survey of 2,253 German men and women ages 20 to 50 gauged preference and performance, both on the road and in the bedroom.
Such a study is more than a bit of marketing whimsy in a land where cars are an enduring national pride. The sleek designs and meticulous mechanics of the German-made Mercedes, BMW and Audi have for generations been among the country’s finer exports. Cars are studied and shined, engine pings and fan belt squeaks are not tolerated, and Sunday afternoon in the fast lane -- where speeds can reach 140 mph -- is no place for the meek. “Germans buy cars with passion and love,” Kadletz said.
And, perhaps, with a bit of hanky-panky in mind. Men who drive BMWs have more sex per week -- 2.2 times -- than anyone polled. (But are they happy? Apparently, yes.) Guys driving Porsches may have more money, but their cars get more action than their libidos. Porsche drivers have sex 1.4 times a week -- lower than everyone else polled, including guys who drive Fords, Opels and Minis.
“At first I was surprised that Porsche came in last place,” said Frank Hofmann, editor of Men’s Car. “I’m driving a Porsche myself, and damn, I didn’t want the worst sex life in Germany. But then I discovered that the average Porsche owner is 55 years old. So, 1.4 times of sex a week is OK.”
The study found that sometimes people are like the cars they drive. Take the Volvo. Reliable and stuffed with air bags, the Volvo is marketed as an achievement in perseverance that will always get you there. And so will the Volvo owner. Men with Volvos have longer sex -- 7.3 minutes a session -- than any other driver, especially those Casanovas with Italian cars who clock a mere 4.9 minutes for each off-road diversion.
“The car is the most obvious thing you show to other men to show what kind of man you are,” Hofmann said. “It’s a question highly discussed in pubs and among families. Men are looking for speed and power. Women want a car that’s easy to park and looks good.”
French and Italian cars appeal more to female sensitivities. German women driving French cars have the most frequent sex -- 2.1 times a week and lasting 6.7 minutes each dalliance, or about the time it takes for an oil change. Like their male counterparts, female Porsche drivers have the least sex -- 1.2 times a week.
A woman’s fascination for four-wheeled things withers, according to the poll, when her other choice can be a weekend with a two-legged movie star.
Sixty percent of women would rather carouse with Clooney than with a Ferrari, 69% chose Brad Pitt over a Porsche, and 73% prefer a romp with Hugh Grant to downshifting a Lamborghini. It was the opposite with men. Eighty-six percent chose the Ferrari over Anderson, and 74% would rather cuddle with a Lamborghini than with Spears.
“I think women are more concerned with heart matters,” said Kadletz, a tall man with blue eyes, a thick sweater and a showroom full of Opels, a Jeep and a couple of Mercedeses.
The magazine survey intrigued him. “Volkswagen drivers range in age from 18 to 80, so 1.9 times a week for sex is about right for that range,” he said. “But 1.6 times a week for a Mercedes driver is hard to explain. The Opel is a family car, and I guess people are too busy to have sex, so 1.5 times a week might be right.”
Kadletz called a colleague over. “OK, look at this,” he said to the man. “Would you rather have Pamela Anderson or a Ferrari for the weekend?” The man studied the pictures, made a few silent calculations. “I don’t know -- I’m married,” he said.
Kadletz glanced back at the chart. He lowered his voice: “I have to admit something. Heidi Klum versus a Bentley. That’s a problem for the car.”