The regular Cayman comes with a 2.7-litre engine, but opt for the Cayman S and you'll find a 3.4-litre unit nestled in the back.
Whether or not the larger engine is preferable is a matter of personal preference and your intended use of the car. It's less effort to make faster progress in the S, thanks to its additional torque, but it's perhaps a little less enjoyable to work hard.
The 3.4-litre unit is claimed to be over half a second quicker to 62mph, and it feels more urgent out of the mid-range. But the smaller flat six is no pale shadow; it’s a stirring boxer engine in Porsche’s grand tradition, and what it lacks in tractability, it makes up for in high-rev sparkle and road-biased usability.
On the mile straight at MIRA’s proving ground, full of fuel and two up, the 2.7-litre version broke the 60mph tape in 5.9sec – a few fractions outside Porsche’s claim. But the Cayman driver should be concerned with away-from-the-lights performance least of all.
This is a car built to captivate when it’s already in motion. The in-gear performance speaks to this theme – 60-80mph in 3.9sec out of third, 80-100mph in 5.6sec from fourth – as does 30-70mph in 5.1sec.
Yet even numbers like these offer only a skeletal guide to the engine’s vibrant character. It doesn’t come fully on song until peak twist arrives at 4500rpm. The unit isn’t at all unco-operative beneath this point, either; in fact, it’s wonderfully smooth and biddable.