With the Cayman S (right) solidly established in the Porsche lineup after its October 2005 launch, Porsche announced Monday that it will launch a less expensive version of the coupe in July, dubbed simply the Cayman.

The 3.4-liter six that helped propel the Cayman S to "2006 World Performance Car" honors is replaced in the Cayman by the Boxster's 2.7-liter version. Putting out 50 hp less than than its bigger sibling, the Cayman's 2.7-liter engine still provides satisfying performance, with a 0-100 km/h time of 6.1 seconds. Interestingly, the Cayman's 2.7-liter offers 5 hp more than the Boxster's, giving the coupe a tenth of a second advantage in the 0-100 km/h sprint.

A five-speed manual is standard, along with the Porsche Stability Management system. An option package offers a six-speed combined with the Porsche Active Stability Management system, while a third version will be available with the Tiptronic S five-speed automatic.

The Cayman will sticker at $49,400 in the U.S., vs. $58,900 for the Cayman S.

Reuters speculates that flagging sales of the Boxster may have driven Porsche to a quick launch of the Cayman, in an effort to freshen up the lower end of its model range.

[Sources: Porsche, Reuters]