Matt Prior
15 February 2013

What is it?

This is the new Porsche Cayman, driven here for the first time in its base 2.7-litre form and, joy of joys, with a manual gearbox instead of the dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission.

You’ve probably read elsewhere how good the new Cayman is in S form. In this sub-£40k base trim it is 730cc down on capacity and, therefore, comes up shy of the S by 50bhp, making 271bhp.

Elsewhere, the differences are more slight. The 2.7 is just 10kg lighter (at 1340kg) than the S and has a rear track 4mm narrower, because it wears 8-inch rather than 8.5-inch-wide rear wheels. Both models wear the same width rubber, mind: 235-section at the front and 265 at the back, on 18-inch (2.7) or 19-inch (3.4) rims as standard. The manual 2.7 has slightly shorter gear ratios than the manual S, though the PDK's ratios are the same for both models. The rest of it is as the Cayman S, so should prove just as lovely.

What is it like?

No surprises: it’s just as sweet as the S model. Depending on where you drive and how, you might even argue it’s more enjoyable because it’s a touch slower (bear with me). Instead of a 0-62mph time that starts with a four, the 2.7-litre Cayman wants 5.7sec to hit 62mph from rest in manual form, which is still plenty quick but means that, for the same throttle inputs, you’d spend more time to enjoying what the Cayman offers – a brilliant noise and a slick gearshift – before you hit the legal or safe limit and have to back off.

The power delivery is similar in both cars. Their power peaks both come in at 7400rpm (both rev to a touch under 8000rpm) and their torques peak from 4500, with the 2.7's 214lb ft hanging around around until 6500rpm. And the noise is equally fantastic. Some said that the first-generation Cayman was a little short on drama and emotion, but that's not a charge you’d level at this car.

Then, of course, there’s the handling. The Cayman is the sports car refined, honed and perfected until it’s so complete, so capable, that you almost feel sorry for any carmaker who takes the trouble to compete with it. It rides well, it steers sweetly (I'll come back to that), it controls its body movements over crests and dips sublimely and its handling is first rate: a touch of understeer at first, a touch of oversteer later, all to the degree you want it, with outstanding levels of controllability and adjustability for a mid-engined car. You’d have to try it back to back on a mix of circuits and roads before deciding whether this or a Lotus Evora was the better handler. It’s that good.

I said I'd come back to the steering: you could argue that it's a little short on feel; it’s an electric rather than hydraulic set-up, so perhaps that’s inevitable, and it’s slick, accurate, precise and has a really lovely weighting to it. Truth be told, I mention it only because of some obligation to pick a hole somewhere in this car. Um, what else? It could have more storage on the centre console. The cupholders don’t hold bottles very well. And, er, well, um ...

Should I buy one?

Sure. The case for the Cayman is every bit as compelling as it is for the Cayman S. No, it’s not as fast but that might not be a deal breaker, while it uses a bit less fuel, emits fewer CO2s and is a respectable amount cheaper.

Those who say that the Cayman is a Porsche for those who can’t afford a 911 have always been wrong. But they’ve never been more wrong than now.

Porsche Cayman 2.7

Price £39,694; 0-62mph 5.7sec; Top speed 165mph; Economy 34.5mpg (combined); CO2 192g/km; Kerb weight 1340kg; Engine 6-cyls, horizontally-opposed, 2706cc, petrol; Installation mid, longitudinal, RWD; Power 271bhp at 7400rpm; Torque 214lb ft at 4500-6500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
26

Whats this, a pretty German

1 year 22 weeks ago

Whats this, a pretty German car ? Have the Germans being taking pills ?

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

What a car!  

1 year 22 weeks ago

What a car!

 

No they accidentaly designed a nice looking version of the Beetl

1 year 22 weeks ago

No they accidentaly designed a nicer version of the Beetle and just kept flattening it and flattening it added some fancy LED's and TAHDAH! done.

I prefer this to the yellow one

1 year 22 weeks ago

This sounds like it would provide the ideal excuse for avoiding the motorway network, using A and B roads, and not having to pay the £150 toll charges that James Ruppert is campaigning against.  Just need to find the £40k first, though...

It'll be interesting to see

1 year 22 weeks ago

It'll be interesting to see what will happen with the 4C. Similar price, similar power, but the Porsche weighs 400kg more. That really is a lot. Obviously the Alfa has a more spartan interior but surely it will leave the Porsche for dead on any road or track.

This does sound a really good

1 year 22 weeks ago

This does sound a really good package. And whilst £40k is a big chunk of cash, it doesnt seem bad value for what you get.

Superb!

1 year 22 weeks ago

I was blown away by how handsome this car looks in the first photo of the slide show above. I really really want one of these - its my perfect car!

Cyborg

montgomery wrote: It'll be

1 year 22 weeks ago

montgomery wrote:

It'll be interesting to see what will happen with the 4C. Similar price, similar power, but the Porsche weighs 400kg more. That really is a lot. Obviously the Alfa has a more spartan interior but surely it will leave the Porsche for dead on any road or track.

When the hype is over and the cars are on the scales, I wouldn't be suprised if the real difference would be less than 200kg. Sure, the Alfa would be the lighter car, but probably the Porsche would be the more complete one.

Question to Matt: this test car, did it have PASM, sports chrono and/or torque vectoring? How necessary are these to enjoy this car? Including sideways action? Cheers

 

<p>This has to be the third

1 year 22 weeks ago

<p>This has to be the third best sportster in the Porsche inventory after the Cayman S and Boxter. Why bother with a 911 GT3 or GT2 when you can have as much fun in one of these.</p>

The World's Most Perfect Enthusiast's Car

1 year 22 weeks ago

I think they've hit the "sweet spot", in more ways than one.  I can't imagine anything I'd do differently that would not also lower the net Performance/Cost ratio.  Matt's comment about initial understeer, transitioning to later oversteer, shows a balance point that almost NO other cars have achieved: what he did not say is that the vehicle retains a neutral-steering blend for a long time in between those states.  Well done, Porsche! 

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Our Verdict

Is the Porsche Cayman a Boxster with a fixed roof or a mini 911?

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