Other options include the Sport Chrono package, which brings dynamic engine mounts that constantly alter their stiffness and damping characteristics to reduce load change for more neutral handling. A further must-have is the optional sports exhaust, if only for the added aural entertainment it brings.
Response, flexibility, smoothness are central to the engine’s appeal. There is a pleasing immediacy to the delivery at lower revs range. But it is through the midrange and up high where it is at its most engaging – and it’s nothing less than brilliant. The revised engine demands more revs, but that only extends its allure.
The truly compelling factor with the new Cayman S is just how much performance you get for your money, particularly with the optional dual clutch gearbox and sport chrono package. So configured, it will accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 4.7sec, 0 to 124mph in 16.9sec and reach a claimed 175mph.
The inherent liveliness these figures allude to is fully present when the Cayman S is given sufficient room to move and there’s never any doubt about its ability to carry its revs to the 7600rpm redline, such is the voracity of the delivery.
The changes to the chassis also provide added levels of straight line stability and a calmer feel to the steering. Above 150mph there is a lightness to the front owing to positive lift, but while it knocks your confidence initially it never becomes unmanageable.
The Cayman S is, by class standards, fast. But the gains in straightline potential over its predecessor can’t all be directed at its reworked engine. The optional seven speed dual clutch gearbox also plays a pivotal role.
On the one hand, it endows the new coupe with the sort of relaxed usability that makes it a highly desirable everyday proposition, providing excellent part throttle operation in stop and go traffic. But it is the decisive action of the shifts when you switch to manual mode that leaves us in no doubt that it will be the preferred choice of gearbox.
With contemporary fuel saving features such as automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation as well as a coasting function all coming as standard, the Cayman S’s combined cycle fuel economy has improved by a creditable 4.6mpg to 35.3mpg in combination with the dual clutch ’box. It also reduces average CO2 emissions from 221g/km to 188g/km.
After flinging the Cayman down a broad six-lane autobahn, we headed on to some brilliantly smooth mountain roads south of Stuttgart. But even before reaching the first corner, we’d already made some interesting observations.
Firstly, it is easily placed on the road. Despite its larger dimensions, it rarely feels any bigger than the old Cayman. The newly adopted electro-mechanical steering is tremendously engaging. It might lack the subtle feedback that characterized the earlier hydraulic system but what it lacks in ultimate communication, it more than makes up for in consistency of weighting, eagerness to self centre and sheer directness. There’s also a new found calmness that makes the new car less demanding when driven hard for long periods.
In line with German regulations, our test car came shod on high performance winter tyres, a set of 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport A/S in the same 235/40 and 265/40 profile as the regular pneus. But even they couldn’t mask the breathtaking delicacy, astonishing agility and sheer composure of the Cayman‘s handling, which unquestionably remains the benchmark in the class.