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What it's like to take the world's most advanced car elevator

The offer of a ride in a residential car elevator — not just any car elevator, but the first one that takes drivers from the street directly to their apartments — how could we possibly say no?

We'd heard all the buzz when the Porsche Design Tower Miami was first announced — a car elevator designed to whisk residents up to their well-appointed Miami Beach residences, with as many as 11 parking spots attached to each unit.

On paper, the concept seems all shades of cool, so when the call came for a preview of the completed tower and a ride-along in the elevator, we just had to see if the reality was as sleek and as fun as the concept.

porsche-de INTEXT 1

Rolling into the driveway in a freshly polished Porsche Cayenne, the first surprise is that the tower houses a trio of car elevators, not just one. To accommodate the 132 units (all but seven are sold) in the building, the Dezervator's — named after the property's developer Gil Dezer — three lift platforms rise and fall in rapid succession to reach the entire footprint of the tower.

At the parkade level, a trio of glass tubes awaits us. Our driver cues up the theme song to James Bond as the glass doors to the elevator's anteroom open to the side on our approach. The touchscreen control panel is activated with the correct floor and parking space for our arrival, and the adventure begins.

As soon as we roll to a stop before the elevator, its coupling system glides into action, swiftly sliding a plate under the car that grabs all four wheels and draws the car (and us) into the elevator car in a surprisingly fluid sequence.

The car is locked into place to avoid any movement, and the rounded doors shut behind us. The glass box of the Dezervator is set upon a circular platform that can rotate, which aids in placing the cars and retrieving them from the correct spot.

porsche-de INTEXT 2

With a faint twist as the elevator rises from the garage through the Porsche Design Tower's main lobby where the elevator is displayed behind glass, we're rocketing our way up floor by floor. The 60-floor trip takes less than a minute, and from the passenger seat of the Cayenne, the thrust of the elevator still feels quicker than the vast majority of passenger lifts out there.

As we slow to our arrival to the penthouse where our evening is set to conclude, we wait to see how the car will be parked. The glass doors glide open once again and the Dezervator's platform rotates to the appropriate direction.

The coupling system slides the car off the elevator, allowing the driver to park it in its allocated display space at the back door of the penthouse. Walls of windows look out onto the space, so the Cayenne can be admired from inside the residence. We exit, grinning at the novelty and the genius of this innovation. (pdtower.com)

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