New Porsche Cayman unveiled in LA

29 November 2012
, CarsGuide

The good news is that the Cayman is closer than ever to the classic 911, in both design and performance, and the bad news is the price.

At the car's official unveiling at the Los Angeles Motor Show the American pricetag is set at just $52,600, but by the time it gets to Australia next year the starting sticker will have blown out to $115,000. The strength of the Australian dollar should make things better but Porsche's down under pricing policy and around $35,000 in Federal and State Taxes - including the hated Luxury Car Tax - means the car is nowhere near as affordable as it is in Europe or America.

Even so, the Cayman seems certain to steal even more sales from the 911 thanks to better performance, more equipment in a bigger cabin, and even 15 per cent better fuel economy. The design also makes it much more than just a Boxster with a coupe roof. "In short, the new version is lighter, more powerful and more fuel efficient. It is more distinctive than ever. It delivers an unmatched combination of driving dynamics," the boss of Porsche, Matthias Mueller, says at the car's unveiling.

The preview of the Cayman in Porsche heartland in California comes at the end of a year when the company has also put an all-new 911 and Boxster on the road. Production of the second-generation Cayman coupe will not begin until the first quarter of next year, with local delivers in the third quarter. "This has been a milestone year for Porsche. Globally, this has been a record setting year," says Mueller.

"We have sold 160,000 cars. This is the best possible proof of the customer desire for our outstanding sports cars." The Cayman does the job too, and Porsche has allowed it to creep closer to the 911 in size and style. That's no surprise, since the basic mechanical package is shared with the big brother. The styling is more mature and the body sits over a chassis that is longer and wider than before, just like the Boxster, with a basic 2.7-litre engine and a 3.4 in the Cayman S.

The starter engine makes 202 kiloWatts with economy of 8.2 litres/100km and a 0-100km/h time of 5.6 seconds as a six-speed manual, while the Cayman S numbers are 239, 8.8 and 5.0. The car retains the mid-engine layout it shares with the Boxster and that, says Porsche's technical chief Wolfgang Hatz is the big difference from the 911.

"For me, the 911 is a car that people use as their first car, where the Cayman is a second car. The 911 is a two-plus-two and that is the difference," Hatz says.