2014 Porsche Cayman Review
It is still the one of the greatest sports car ever made. The shape is iconic and the performance is legendary. The track wins alone help make the legend of the 911.
It is a great sports car, but pricing is getting well into the stratosphere once it is all optioned out. There is a less expensive alternative – the Cayman. The Cayman was added to create a closed coupe experience with the Boxster’s mid-engine placement and smaller footprint. Now in its second generation, both the Boxster and Cayman received a plethora of praise by bringing back the purity of the older 911s.
While it signals a return to the purity of older Porsches, it is tough to ignore the modernity of the Cayman. Certainly, the engine is in front of the rear axle. There are plenty of buttons and switches to change anything from the driving aspect to the navigation screen. The instrumentation may be missing a dial or two, but you have to admit there is a classic Porsche feeling when you sit low in the seat and position yourself behind the wheel.
The cabin represented a less cluttered version of the current brand interior design. There are still plenty of buttons to use. You can open the front lid and rear hatch with a couple of buttons on the doorsill. You can switch your driving dynamics right by the gear lever. Plus, switches and buttons for the infotainment system and so forth.
Unlike the 911, there are only two seats in the Cayman. Though the seatback tended to be a bit stiff, you can find comfort in the cushion, where the insert between the bolsters is wider than most sports cars and exotics. You are guaranteed to be locked in behind the wheel with these seats, featuring a plethora of power-assisted adjustments to manage lots of kinds of bodies. Keep in mind that you have the engine enclosure right behind you – all sealed and quiet for your pleasure.
The Cayman S I drove had 325 horsepower on tap from a 3.4liter horizontally opposed, six-cylinder engine. Combined with Porsche’s PDK transmission, this is a dream to drive. The immediate response from the throttle makes quick work of first gear. Second took a bit longer than one would like, but it will go through the remaining gears in quick fashion. Press the Sport button, and the Cayman S comes alive. The only soundtrack that mattered was the one that just been turned to 11 – the exhaust note. All gears get a quick change in Sport and you could possibly be in another state in a matter of seconds.
In case you are wondering, the sticker of a PDK-equipped Cayman S states you might average 24MPG in terms of fuel economy. This could be one of the most efficient sports cars in the market.
While Porsche sports cars usually have a firm ride, the Cayman S keeps it compliant and comfortable. There is a bit of a lean you feel, but that can be remedied with another button to adjust the shock dampening. Nineteen-inch Goodyear Eagle F1s keep the Cayman S planted through the tarmac and tried to manage bad road surfaces while making butter out of the smooth ones.
Steering in the Cayman reminds you of what a sports car is supposed to act like. It is perfectly weighted with great on-center feel and quick response. Brakes were good, with excellent pedal response towards solid normal stops.
The Cayman lineup starts at $53,595 for a “basic” model with 275 horsepower. Upgrade the more powerful S model, and your sticker jumped to $64,795. Our tester came to $88,120 – almost $22,000 in options! If you are looking something more hardcore, the GTS model offers 15 more horsepower and near-track tuned drive for another $11,000.
To get a flavor of what Porsche has been up to, you do not necessarily have to drive a 911. However, any Porsche you drive still has the shield that reminds you of where it all came from. It also reminds you of where it stands amongst the pantheon of automobiles. The Cayman presents a different argument. It is a two-seater that is fun to drive while remaining true to the traditional tenets of Porsche’s sports cars. Maybe that is enough for you to decide.
**If you are interested in a Porsche Cayman, log onto CarSoup.com to find out what is available on sale. **
*Photos © Porsche Cars North America, Inc. *