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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Porsche Cayman

The Porsche Cayman is a compact two-seat sports coupe. With the driving experience at the forefront of the car's mission, but a luxurious and stylish look inside and out, the Cayman competes with the Chevrolet Corvette, Audi TTS, Infiniti G37 Coupe, and Nissan 370Z.

Although the Boxster has been sold since the 1997 model year, the Cayman was only first offered for 2006. Just like the Boxster, the Cayman has been for most of time since its introduction made in standard and higher-performance 'S' versions. Originally the Cayman came with a 245-horsepower, 2.7-liter horizontally opposed (flat) six-cylinder engine and the Cayman S had a 295-hp, 3.4-liter flat six. For 2006 all Caymans were offered in Cayman S form, with the base model arriving the next year. The Cayman had a five-speed manual transmission standard while the Cayman S got six gears, but optional on both was a five-speed automatic with Tiptronic shift control.

With either of the engines and either of the transmissions, the Cayman is a hoot to drive, with sharp, intuitive steering response, good feedback, and confident brakes. It's at once easy for novices to drive, while expert track hounds will also be able to extract its true capability. Many reviewers say that the Cayman is the better-handling of the two because of the additional rigidity and stiffness afforded by its solid roof.  

The Porsche Active Suspension (PASM) system that's optional on the Cayman can help fine-tune suspension settings depending on whether you're cruising or driving aggressively. It improved comfort but also inflates the price, and the base Cayman suspension is great, so it depends on your demands and the quality of the roads.

The mid-mounted engine allows some surprisingly good packaging in the Cayman; you can stow cargo in back or in front, and there's plenty of space for a long weekend trip, though interior space remains a little tight in any of the versions.

The Cayman was given a significant refresh for the 2009 model year. Although not looking much different on the outside, the Cayman's interior was improved with new audio and navigation systems plus an improved look and better materials. The options list was expanded as well to include more luxury items such as a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats. Leather seats are available, as well as a Bose sound system and Bluetooth, along with a long list of accessories that can inflate the price to well over $80k.  

The Cayman lineup, from 2009 on through 2012, included some substantial powertrain improvements, too: either a 265-hp, 2.9-liter flat-six engine in the Cayman or a 320-hp, 3.4-liter flat-six in the Cayman S, with six-speed manual transmissions on both, or Porsche's new automated manual transmission, abbreviated PDK. Both engines were new-generation units with improved fuel efficiency and better low-rev response, and the PDK gearbox was a tremendous improvement over former automatics.

New for 2012, the Cayman R saw its output jump another 10 hp to 330 hp, shaving 0-60 mph acceleration to 4.7 seconds in standard form, 4.6 seconds with the PDK, and 4.4 seconds with the PDK and Sport Chrono package. It also was lighter, by as much as 120 pounds.

For the 2014 model year, Porsche introduced a brand-new Cayman at the 2012 Los Angeles auto show. The new version is promised to be lighter, faster, more powerful, lower and longer than the prior version--in other words, a coupe version of the new 2013 Boxster. Sharp new styling adds a new dimension to the coupe, though the interior is lined with more buttons than ever.
Two versions will be offered initially, the 2014 Cayman and Cayman S, both available in six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK dual-clutch versions. The standard Cayman uses a 2.7-liter flat six-cylinder engine rated at 275 horsepower. With the optional Sport Chrono package, it can get to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds when equipped with PDK.
The Cayman S uses the now-familiar 3.4-liter flat-six engine, rated at 325 horsepower. With PDK and Sport Chrono, it's good for 4.6-second 0-60 mph runs. Gas mileage rises to as much as 32 mpg.

Prices on the new 2014 Cayman start at almost $54,000, though prices can quickly climb from there depending on options selection; U.S. sales begin in the spring of 2013.

Rumors of a four-cylinder turbocharged version of the Cayman persist, with its debut speculated to come late in 2013--if the rumors prove true.

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