Poor man’s 911? Don’t believe it.
In fact, until the 991 911 range is filled out with the superstar Turbo and GT models, the second-generation Cayman S is the most focused and fun car Porsche currently makes.
The international launch of the new Cayman was held on the challenging, and occasionally glass-slippery, roads of southern Portugal. Throw in a morning on the demanding roller coaster turns of the Autodromo Internacional Algarve, and you’ve got a recipe for serious fun.
In full attack spec (seven-speed PDK, carbon ceramic brakes, Sports Chrono etc), a Cayman S has lapped the 21km Nurburgring in 7:55; that’s 11 seconds faster than the previous model and just 15 seconds off the time set by the 991 Carrera S.
For those not mathematically inclined, that’s seven-tenths of a second slower per kilometre on the world’s most demanding race track. Around somewhere like Wakefield Park, the difference would be non-existent.
The entry-level Cayman adopts the 2.7-litre flat-six also used by the base Boxster, but has 7kW more grunt with 202kW at 7400rpm. Torque is up 10Nm over Boxster with 290Nm from 4500-6500rpm.
The six-speed manual hits 100km/h in 5.7 seconds, while the optional seven-speed PDK does in 5.6 or 5.4 when optioned with launch control-enabling Sports Chrono. The Cayman S runs a 239kW 3.4-litre flat six, which is up 7kW on the Boxster S and down 18kW on the 3.4 of the base 911. There’s 370Nm, again up 10Nm on the Boxster S and down 20Nm on the base Carrera. Equipped with a stick shift, the Cayman S hit 100km/h in five dead, 4.9 with PDK or 4.7 with Sports Chrono. The manual S is now knocking on the door of junior supercardom with a 283km/h top speed (281 for the PDK).
But like most Porsche, the Cayman is not about numbers. Instead, it’s about a communicative driving experience and the new car (especially the S) is brilliant. It stays flat during hard cornering, it has an amazingly supple ride (even on optional 20-inch alloys) and it goes very hard. Oh, and it sounds stunning.
On sale in Australia in late April, the Cayman starts at $115,500 for the six-speed manual (the seven-speed PDK base car costs $120,800) – an increase of just $400 over the old entry-level model. The six-speed manual lists at $150,400 (up $2900), with the PDK a further $5300. The elephant in the showroom is the price difference over the mechanically similar (but not identical) Boxster and Boxster S models. Respectively, the new Cayman and Cayman S are $8500 and $17,100 pricier than the Boxster models. There are some spec difference (marginally more power and torque), but some will see the difference as a price gouge.
UK publication Autocar, while noting the price disparity, said the Cayman S is the world’s best value sportscar. We’d agreed and suggest there are very few better cars no matter what the cost.
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get your monthly fix of news, reviews and stories on the greatest cars and minds in the automotive world.
2021 Hyundai Tucson Highlander FWD review
The 2.0-litre petrol powertrain is the most affordable way into the luxurious Highlander spec of Hyundai's all-new Tucson
2021 Porsche Cayman GT4 PDK review
Is this a rare case where the auto is better than the manual?
Nissan Leaf e+ review
Nissan’s Leaf is starting to feel its age, but the new e+ has turned back the clock – for a hefty price