A university study found that driving a Porsche 911 Carrera produced an immediate spike in the testosterone of male college students. The control car was a 1990 Camry wagon (!). The researchers also measured how much of the effect was due to “lekking”—driving a status car in front of other people—versus the experience of just driving it on an uncrowded road. It turns out that the effect due to being seen by others was slight; driving a Porsche has an “intrinsic” benefit.
One was a clapped-out 1990 Camry wagon with almost 200,000 miles on the clock. The other was a 2006 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet. During their drives in each car, drivers had saliva samples taken to evaluate changes in testosterone levels while in the lek (city driving with lots of witnesses) and out of the lek (on the highway, with nobody there to witness their driving). To eliminate testosterone level variations due to individuals slaking their need for speed, each student promised not to burst posted speed limits. [snip]I think I’ll mosey down to the dealership today. The red one seems to have my name on it... © 2010 Stephen Yuen
While driving a Porsche certainly sends signals of conspicuous consumption to the world, a 911 literally makes a driver more potent from a biological standpoint, whether or not there are witnesses to your possession of the car. A Porsche driver, science says, no matter where or how they drive, have higher testosterone levels than if they were stuck in a sedan. By driving a Porsche they become more potent competitors in the game of life, presumably upping their ability to continue to do whatever they were doing to enable them to procure a Porsche in the first place. One might argue that, rather than costing more because marketers tell us they're worth it, Porsches are expensive because our genes value them so highly. In so far as they give us a reproductive advantage, their value is an intrinsic quality.