Audi TT 2012 review
Blood banks give you a cup of tea, a biscuit and a lie down in exchange for a litre of your best...
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
There are those who will disagree strongly with this statement: “The new Porsche Cayman is simply the best vehicle ever produced by the iconic German marque that specialises in sports machines.”
The disagreement will come from those who insist that the famed Porsche 911 is better. They will insist that the character and personality of the Cayman simply doesn’t match that of its big brother 911.
Let me put my argument in favour of the Cayman; the Cayman has its engine in exactly the right spot - behind the seats and in front of the rear axle, thus making it a true mid-engined machine. This placement of the engine (the gearbox is mounted immediately behind it) gives the best possible chassis balance and is used by all pure racing cars, from Formula One down.
The fact that the Cayman/Boxster cost about half the price of the 911 is a major factor in the equation. While a starting price of $107,100 doesn’t exactly put them into the affordable category, anyone with a decent income can certainly put them seriously onto their wish list.
The all-new Porsche Boxster arrived in Australia in June 2012; exactly a year later its closed-coupe brother Cayman now takes pride of place in Porsche showrooms Down Under.
Cayman shares most of its body parts with the Boxster. Indeed, there are many components from the 911 under there are well. Obviously, the fixed roof of the Cayman takes an altogether shape to that of a Boxster with its roof closed.
To our eyes the styling of this fixed hardtop Porsche is simply brilliant. There’s a strong hint to the iconic rear window shape to please 911 purists, yet the Cayman definitely makes its own statement.
Porsche Cayman differs in appearance in its lower areas of the body, with changes to the style of the the front air intakes and rear diffuser. Like the Boxster, the Cayman has been on a diet and uses a substantial amount of aluminium to trim weight. This results in even nimbler handling, reduced fuel consumption (down by about seven per cent on official measurements) and lower emissions.
Powertrains on offer are a 2.7-litre flat-six with 202 kilowatts and 290 Newton metres driving through a six-speed manual or seven-speed double-clutch PDK automated manual. Or a 3.4-litre 239 kW / 370 Nm unit with the same transmission options.
Zero to 100 km/h acceleration from the smaller engine is 5.4 seconds, that from the larger unit is an impressive 4.7 seconds, in both cases this requires the PDK gearbox and the Sports Chrono package.
Though our initial road testing of the all-new Porsche Cayman involved far too much Sydney traffic crawling (OK, it’s what people do in real life, but…) the open road and twisting segments of the Porsche organised program showed just what a stunning car this is.
The close-to-perfect balance, well sorted suspension that comes with various electronic settings, and low centre of gravity make it a delight to push hard and fast. Steering is nimble and Cayman is more than happy to change direction mid bend if need be.
Tyre noise is extreme at times on coarse-chip surfaces, to the extent that the occupants have to significantly raise their voices.
The sound from the engines, we tested both powerplants, is sensational and even at low speeds there’s an eagerness from the flat sixes that makes the driver feel alive within the car.
New Porsche Cayman is a brilliant sports machine at an extremely affordable price when compared with the supercar brigade. We would be more than happy to have one in our garage – or better still out of it – any day.
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data