2008 Cayman New Car Test Drive
The Porsche Cayman is basically a Boxster coupe. But Porsche doesn't like that description because the Cayman's character makes it an individual machine. Its fresh styling is striking, for one thing; and the rigidity of its chassis takes the handling from great to brilliant. Enthusiast publications have gone so far as to call it a masterpiece, out of the box. Cayman was introduced as an all-new model for 2006.
The 3.4-liter boxer six engine is mounted behind the seats, giving the car ideal balance and bringing a sweet but not loud 7000-rpm howl into the cabin. Two hundred and ninety-five horsepower, along with the car's light weight, bring 60 mph in five seconds with a top speed of 171 mph, with the standard six-speed gearbox in the Cayman S, our test vehicle. The standard Cayman, which costs about $10,000 less, uses a 2.7-liter version of the same engine, making 50 less horsepower with a five-speed gearbox. Tiptronic S, Porsche's five-speed manual automatic transmission, is optional on both Caymans.
With its magnificent brakes, big vented rotors and four-piston calipers, the Cayman S will stop from 60 mph in a mere 106 feet. The ride is naturally firm, but comfortable all day long.
The cabin has the quality of a luxury car, while keeping the focus on function. The Cayman comes standard with a digital radio with in-dash CD and eight-speaker system, and the Cayman S has a Bose Surround Sound system. Thanks to a large amount of storage space for a sports car, two people could travel across the country and be very happy: never tired, never inconvenienced, and excited by the performance. And the Cayman will deliver 25 miles per gallon along the way.
Big trucks might be intimidating on the highway because the Cayman is low to the ground, but it's still a very safe vehicle, with a chassis engineered to withstand a crash, those superb anti-lock brakes, sophisticated electronic stability, and three airbags per occupant: frontal, thorax and head.
The Porsche Cayman ($49,400) uses a 2.7-liter engine, a liquid-cooled boxer six making 245 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 201 pound-feet of torque between 4600 and 6000 rpm. A five-speed gearbox is standard. The five-speed automatic Tiptronic S transmission ($3,210) is optional. The front brake rotors are 11.73 inches in diameter and 0.94 inches thick, while the rears measure 11.78 by 0.79 inches. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are standard, with 205/55 front and 235/50 rear tires.
The Cayman S ($58,900) uses the same engine bored out to 3.4 liters; it's less stressed, with a slightly lower compression ratio and fewer horsepower per liter. It makes 295 horsepower, peaking at 6250 rpm. Torque is pumped up to 251 pound-feet, peaking at 4400 rpm and staying there to 6000. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with the five-speed Tiptronic S ($3,210) optional. Brakes are bigger, with rotors that are 12.52 x 1.10 inches in front, and 11.78 x .94 rear; the 18-inch alloy wheels take 235/40 ZR18 front tires, and 265/40 ZR18 at the rear. The Cayman S also gets a nine-speaker Bose Surround Sound System.
Standard equipment includes power windows, cruise control, air conditioning, carbon-filter ventilation system, power leather seats, heated sideview mirrors, digital radio with in-dash CD and eight-speaker system.
Options include a choice of leather trim that can be ordered for virtually every interior piece of the car, including the dash, sun visors and steering column. There's also a choice of wood, carbon or aluminum trim, rear parking assist, heated seats, and a navigation system.
The main performance option is Porsche Active Suspension Management ($1990), which offers two shock absorber settings, Normal and Sport. Other options include bi-Xenon headlamps ($1090), 19-inch wheels and tires ($1550), and lightweight ceramic brake discs ($2000) meant to improve hard braking on the track. That's $2000 per wheel. There are always ways to spend money on a Porsche.
Safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, a tire pressure monitor, and six airbags: two in front, two thorax airbags mounted in the seats, and two head bags that deploy from the door windowsills.