The second-generation Porsche Cayman has arrived. While not immediately apparent, the car is larger in almost every dimension, but special care was taken to ensure that this welcome growth spurt didn't come with extra weight. In fact, the 2014 Cayman models are lighter than the outgoing cars, as well as more powerful and more fuel-efficient. The end result is a winning product which should prompt a surge in Cayman sales. Hopefully, this spike will not hurt sales of the company's bread and butter model, the 911.
With its mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, and stupendous PDK transmission, the all-new Porsche Cayman S delivers a driving experience second to none in this price category.
The 3.4L flat six engine generates 325 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, enough to hustle the lithe, 1,350 kilogram Cayman to 100 km/h in a spritely, 4.9 seconds. While not quite as quick as its big sister the 911, the performance of the Cayman S continues to encroach on that of its iconic sibling.
The engine features an innovative airflow management system to extend the car's torque band, and direct injection to make more efficient use of costly premium fuel. The Cayman S is a true performance machine, especially when equipped with the proven dual-clutch, seven-speed PDK transmission which features ultra-fast, steering-wheel mounted shift paddles.
The mid-engine design allowed the designers to deliver a package that exhibits near-perfect balance (weight distribution is 46/54 ), which translates into very predictable handling characteristics. Of course a vehicle as speedy and dynamic as the Cayman S requires equally impressive braking power, so the car is fitted with larger ventilated discs front and rear (330 mm / 299 mm respectively), and high performance four piston aluminum mono-bloc calipers. Add in the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and you are all set to reign supreme at your local track day event.
The new car is immediately recognizable as a Cayman, as it would have been sinful to start with a clean slate when a car is as visually appealing as this machine. The 2014 edition features significant revisions to both the front and rear fascias- especially with regards to lighting elements, and the rear of the car features a new spoiler design that bisects the sleek new taillights. Our test vehicle rolls on large, 20-inch, Carrera S wheels (optional) that help give the car a more aggressive stance, while enlarged side air intakes hint at the car's performance potential.
As a larger individual I fully appreciate the Cayman's increase in size. The longer wheelbase helps smooth out the bumps, while its wider track adds to its functional stability. Much of the car's 66 pound weight reduction was achieved through the additional use of aluminum for the body structure, which also increases the torsional rigidity by about 40 percent. The combination of the stiff new chassis and the mild weight reduction enhance the overall driving experience, and bless the car with a level of handling prowess that is usually reserved for much more expensive sports cars.
A host of technologies have been integrated into the car's design in an effort to both improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Two of the most intriguing are the auto start/stop feature which shuts down the engine when the car comes to a complete stop (much like in a modern hybrid platform), and a coasting function which utilizes the PDK gearbox.
The look and layout of the interior has been revised to better reflect the vast improvements Porsche's designers first initiated in their products with the arrival of the stunning Panamera sedan. Decidedly upmarket, the passenger cabin of the new Cayman is a pleasant place to be, especially if you are perched in the driver's seat. From this tidy cockpit you have surprising visibility fore and aft for a sports car, and the high centre console and compact instrument cluster place all controls and switch gear within easy reach of both hand and eye.
With the major redesign comes a higher level of standard equipment and a wider array of available options, which should make the Cayman more appealing and allow buyers to better outfit the car to suit their individual tastes and needs.
Porsche's Cayman S version 2.0 is stunning to look at, invigorating to drive, and priced within reach of the typical midlife crisis victim. If you are seeking a sports car with world-class levels of performance, refined appointments, and massive curb appeal, the 2014 Porsche Cayman assess should reside high on your shopping list.
Technical Specifications: 2014 Porsche Cayman S
Base price (MSRP): $72,900
Price as tested: $95,635
Type: 2-passenger sports coupe.
Layout: Mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive.
Engine: 3.4-litre flat six
Horsepower: 325 hp @ 3500-4000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 266 lb.-ft. at 1750-2500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 7-speed PDK automatic (optional)
Top speed: 281 kph
Acceleration (0-100 kph): 4.9 s
Fuel economy [L/100 km]: City 9.9 L (29 mpg); Hwy 6.6 L (43 mpg)