Few people were surprised when Porsche announced in 2005 its coupé version of the mid-engined Boxster. It was the expected progression of the model range in the way the Cayenne was totally out of the blue.

What did raise a few eyebrows was just how close to the final specification of an entry-level 911 Carrera the top-model Cayman, the S, actually proved to be.

A niche too far for Porsche, perhaps? That's what this test aims to find out: after all, open versions of a coupé are usually more expensive, but this time it's the other way round with just a bit more engine power to justify it.

Little has changed here in the years since launch, although the Cayman range evolved both downwards (a 242bhp, 2.7-litre base model arrived shortly after launch to join the 291bhp, 3.4-litre Cayman S) and onwards with a new range of engines in 2008.

These direct-injection units give 262bhp as a 2.9 and 316bhp as a 3.4, unless it's the pared-down, firmed-up Cayman R with 326bhp.

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Porsche range

Driven this week