Friday, 20 May 2011


To many the Porsche Cayman is just a Boxster with a roof, it looks very similar and is priced very closely as well. In fact the Boxster is actually cheaper to buy and the roof comes down for those summer drives.

Take a closer look at the Cayman and you will see it is actually a pure driver's car. You could say "911 ownership for Boxster money" but that's just a matter of opinion.

The Cayman is completely different to the Boxster, it has a more driver focussed set up and a bigger more powerful engine.

How the Cayman Started

Porsche decided that they needed a car to slot in as a mid-range sports coupé. The engineers got to work on a new car, which they called the Cayman.

This car was developed in under two years which is pretty fast, but as you can see it shares many parts from other vehicles. There is 40% from the Boxster and about 30% from the Carrera, even the engine is a hybrid created from both cars.

Porsche wanted to create an affordable drivers car for its enthusiasts, this was because the 911 was getting bigger and more expensive to buy. What the company didn't want was for the car to be in direct competition, but they might have made the Cayman a little too good.

The Cayman S was driven round the Nurburgring in 8:11 minutes, that's 7.0 seconds faster than the Boxster S and 4.0 seconds faster than the 997 Carrera 3.6.

Launched in 2006 the Cayman S, and later in 2007 the basic Cayman, both cars received good reviews and sold in big numbers around the world.

The Cayman's history


When the Cayman S was launched it was equipped with a 3.4 litre295 hp engine. This engine was a combination of the 3.2 Boxter engine and the top end off the Carrera 3.6. The car was equipped with PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management). This gave it an "aggressive" and more "direct feel" that Porsche purists wanted. Options included 19 inch wheels, an aero package, and the choice of a 6 speed manual or a 5 speed Tiptronic gear box.


Porsche released the base model Cayman which had a 2.7 litre245 hp engine in it. This was offered in either a 5 speed manual or a 5 speed Tiptronic gear box. This car was popular in the automatic gear box and was aimed at drivers who didn't want such a "hard feel" to their car.


To celebrate Porsche Design Chronograph Time Piece's the "Design Edition 1"was released (only 777 units). This car was based on the "S", although there was no power increase the car added luxury and sophistication to the model range. Using only dark materials and fine attention to detail the Edition 1 feels very special.


The S Sport was created as a limited edition run of 700 units, it had a power increase of 303 hp. The car was available with limited edition wheels and six non-metallic colors, including the GT3's green and orange. The power increase comes thanks to a new exhaust system which gives a slightly deeper sound.


The second generation model was released towards the end of "09", this included a face lift and up graded engines.

Firstly power was increased on the "S" to 320 hp and 265 hp on the normal car. The engine on the base model has been made larger from 2.7 to 2.9 litresgiving it more power to compete with its rivals.

Porsches PDK 7 speed gear box has been made an option on both gears in place of the 5 speed Tiptronic. Also 6 speed manual gear boxes are available on the two cars.

On the outside LED lights have been added with day time lights at the front. The wheels have been made wider to house the bigger brakes, and ceramic brakes are also available as an option now. A tuned chassis and LSD are now part of the car giving it an even more hard-edged drive.

How it sits with the competition

The Cayman's two German competitors the BMW Z4 and the Audi TT are no match for the Porsche in terms of driver feel and involvement. The Cayman is the only non-turbo car out of the three and yes it is slower on the 0-62 times, but the Porsche feels more connected to the road and controllable. The new BMW Z4 35is is not as driver focussed as the previous one and is considered more of a touring car, also the coupé version does not sell very well. The Audi TT RS is a very good car and on paper is quicker and more powerful but does not have to balance of the Cayman, and around the track the "S" version is a lot more fun.

BMW Z4 35is Power 340 hp @ 5900 rpm Engine 3 litre 6 cylinder Top Speed 155 (limited) 0-62 mph 4.8 secs (with DCT)

Audi TTRS Power 340 hp @ 6500 rpm Engine 2.5 litre5 cylinder Top Speed 174 0-62 mph 4.6 secs (4.4 with S tronic)

Cayman S Power 320 hp @ 7200 rpm Engine 3.4 litre6 cylinder Top speed 171 mph 0-62 mph 5.2 secs (5.1 with PDK and 4.9 with PDK Plus)

Final Thoughts

This car is a very capable track day vehicle and will have any driver enjoy lap after lap. Also it can be a daily commuter to and from work. The beauty of this car is that it can be parked outside your house in the street and not attract unwanted attention.

For those who do not need such a high performance car the base model 2.9 is a perfect stepping stone to Porsche ownership. It has a comfortable ride and enough performance that doesn't leave you wanting more.

Overall the Cayman fits almost too well into the Porsche line up, but it is such a good car and a real alternative to the Carrera 3.6. Find out more on how to own a Porsche for less here.

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