Any new Porsche model is bound to be met with considerable attention and not a little enthusiasm, but few are likely to be greeted with the anticipatory fervour that the Porsche Cayman generates.

The first generation quickly became a benchmark – not just for its compelling, forgiving and beautifully resolved mid-engined handling, but also for the obvious completeness of the product around it, and its comparative affordability.

Introduced in 2005 as the covered-over version of the Boxster, the original Cayman came with either a 3.4 or 2.7-litre straight six. A facelift in 2009 replaced the 2.7 with a 2.9, and the more powerful Cayman R was introduced to universal acclaim in 2011.

When launched,  the question that it gently prompted – why would you buy a 911? – turned into a detailed and convincing thesis by the end of the car’s life cycle. Porsche recognised most clearly of all, thus ensuring, figuratively at least, that the Cayman couldn’t outgun its notional better.

That trend continues with the second generation. Despite sharing the 3.4-litre flat six engine, the new Porsche Cayman S model’s output is almost 25bhp behind the entry-level 911’s.

The basic Porsche Cayman is further back still, with 271bhp, but it’s also substantially cheaper than the baseline 911.

Can the new Cayman continue the previous generation's trend of being easy to use, engaging and reassuring? Will it be the bargain of another decade, or victim of our unreasonably high expectations? Let's find out.

Top 5 Sport coupes

  • Porsche Cayman
    The Porsche Cayman is now in its second generation

    Porsche Cayman

  • The stated criteria for the GT86 read like a purist's manifesto: rear-drive, no turbo, ordinary tyres

    Toyota GT86

  • BMW M235i
    The BMW M235i is a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged coupé which rivals the likes of the Porsche Cayman

    BMW M235i

  • Costliest car gets the deftest chassis to ever underpin a TT - the best reason yet to buy into Audi’s coupe.

    Audi TTS

  • Peugeot RCZ R
    The front-drive RCZ R packs a 266bhp turbocharged engine

    Peugeot RCZ R



Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    Track Edition GT-R takes key elements from the range-topping GT-R Nismo and offers them at a more affordable price
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    We've driven the Golf R Estate abroad and thought it was top drawer, but we need a UK drive to be sure. Here we do just that
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    Does Hyundai’s entry-level diesel leave us feeling short-changed? We drive it on UK roads to find out
  • First Drive
    1 October 2015
    'New' turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine is entry-level route into the X-Trail range, but is it worth it in this range-topping trim over a diesel alternative?
  • Car review
    1 October 2015
    Is it seventh time lucky for Vauxhall’s British-built Focus fighter?