2009 Cayman New Car Test Drive
2009 marks the first redesign of the Porsche Cayman. But wait, you say, it looks like last year's car so where's the redesign? To the naked eye it's only in the ends of the bodywork and some wheels. The primary changes are to the engines and transmissions, and upgrades to suspension and other systems, in short, to the primary ingredients that make a Porsche a Porsche.
Porsche styling rarely changes over time. The basic shapes of the 914, 924 (and 944 and 968), and 928 were always the same, as have been the Boxster and Cayman, and, of course, the 911. Adjustments are made over time for technological and performance improvements, or government mandates, hence the evolutionary appearance changes. Underneath it's a different story, however.
The 2009 Porsche Cayman gets a 265-horsepower 2.9-liter flat-six, replacing last year's 245-hp 2.7-liter engine. The 2009 Cayman S features a 3.4-liter engine, now boasting 320 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, a dramatic increase over the previous 295 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque and just 25 horsepower shy of a 911 Carrera. Both 2009 Boxster engines are more efficient than last year, and if every Porsche car in the world was switched off no measuring equipment would detect a change in C02 levels.
Transmissions are upgraded for 2009. A six-speed manual now comes standard on both Boxster models, and Porsche's newest, most sophisticated, seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, called the PDK, replaces last year's six-speed Tiptronic automatic. For the first time, a limited-slip differential joins the performance option list.
Among colors and interior trims alone there are thousands of combinations so exclusivity is well within reach; Porsche's line of Exclusive options and paint hues to order merely expand the realm of possibilities. They also expand the budget since you can get almost anything on a Cayman but doing so can as much as double the price.
You can argue the Cayman is merely a fixed-roof Boxster but we disagree. The Cayman has its own feel and character, and resets the Boxster's benchmarks a notch higher. It can serve as a luxury grand-touring car for two with heated and ventilated leather seats, Bose sound system, and navigation system. It can serve as a sports car with superb driving dynamics, wonderful sounds, and excellent driver involvement. It can serves as an entertaining commuter car with decent mileage, a view out, dual trunks and drive-everyday-versatility. It can serve as a weekend racer with adjustable suspension, advanced drivetrains, and racing-style brakes. Its two trunks offer significantly more cargo space than the Boxster does. Plus, the Cayman is one of the best-looking sports cars on the road.
Potential Cayman shoppers may also look at the Audi TTS, BMW Z4, Lotus Exige, Nissan 370Z or GT-R, Mercedes SLK AMG and maybe the Chevrolet Corvette or Dodge Viper.
The 2009 Porsche Cayman comes in two models with options sufficient to make every single car different. Custom colors and leathers aside there are five types of seats and 10 upholstery hues, 17 production paints and nine wheels of different shapes and sizes.
The Cayman ($50,300) uses a 265-hp 2.9-liter flat six with 221 lb-ft of torque and six-speed manual transmission replacing the previous five-speed. A seven-speed automated manual double-clutch gearbox (PDK, or Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) is available ($3,420). 17x7 front and 17x8.5-inch rear alloy wheels are standard.
Cayman standard features include Alcantara-center bucket seats, manual climate control, power windows/locks/heated mirrors, AM/FM/CD stereo, cruise control, trip computer, leather-wrapped wheel and shifter, anti-theft immobilizer, and active rear spoiler.
Options include bi-Xenon headlamps with cornering lights ($1,560); self-dimming mirrors and rain-sensor ($690); park assist ($530); rear wiper ($360); roof transport system ($400); Aerokit ($4,990); various painted and aluminum trim exterior upgrades; PASM active suspension management ($1,990); limited-slip differential ($950); Sport Chrono packages that allow for timing segments and making adjustments to car systems ($960-$1,320, plus $500 for a painted face dial); sport exhaust ($2,500); sport shifter ($765); automatic climate control ($550); luggage partition ($270); heated steering wheel ($180); interior paint and seatbelt trims (to $1,580); leather upgrades (to $2,225); aluminum, Makassar wood, carbon fiber and Alcantara interior trim packages (to $2,150); painted instrument dials ($690); Porsche Communication Management with navigation ($3,110); Bluetooth ($695); sound system inputs and upgrades (to $1,690); 6-CD/DVD changer ($650) and XM radio ($750).
Factory paint colors list to $3,140 (paint to sample $4,315); wheels (varies to $3,675) may be painted and equipped with Porsche crest centers; seat choices (up to $5,080) include sport seats, power adjustable, carbon-fiber race-style, heating ($500) and ventilation ($800); multiple choices in steering wheels, and leather upholstery (to $1,510, or to sample for $1,750).
The Cayman S ($60,200) adds to performance with a 320-hp, 273 lb-ft 3.4-liter engine and six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK ($3,420) optional. Standard wheels are 8- and 9-inch by 18 alloys, brake calipers are painted red, and instruments have aluminum colored backgrounds. The S gets upgraded an audio system and HomeLink as standard, and wheel choices are cut to seven since 17-inch wheels are not offered.
Cayman S options are similar to the standard Cayman with one major exception: ceramic composite brakes ($8,150) with drilled, vented discs and yellow-painted calipers are offered only on the S.
Safety features on all models include front airbags and head-and-thorax side airbags. Electronic stability control (PSM), antilock brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (ABD), tire pressure monitors, traction control (ASR).