Porsche Cayman Review: Hands-on

The Porsche Cayman triumphs as the coolest of coupes

What is a hands on review?
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Porsche Cayman review: Hands-on
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Porsche Cayman review: Hands-on
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Porsche Cayman review: Hands-on
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Porsche Cayman review: Hands-on

The Porsche Cayman is boasted to be even better than its popular predecessor which easily saw off rivals such as the Lotus Evora and Audi TT ROS. Based on the latest Boxster, the newcomer is lighter, more powerful and even faster than before

Porsche Cayman: Features

Slip on your stay-creased action slacks, grab your string-back driving gloves for extra purchase, and perfect your Alan Partridge impression: the all-new Porsche Cayman can still be had with a manual gearbox and classic flat-six petrol engine. The car is the bitch and you’re the queen. The most anal of driving purists will approve.

But hang on. Porsche’s tin-top take on the open-air Boxster, itself recently refreshed, is also a technological tour de force, available with a dual-clutch robot transmission and active everything. It’s a 165mph digital-to-analogue converter. Is this cool? Well is it? IS IT?

Actually, yes. From the hybrid steel-and-aluminium construction, which shaves about 30 to 40kg from the old model to the panoply of active drive-enhancing systems, this is very cool indeed. Pretty much everything from the gearbox and suspension to the rear differential can be optionally enhanced with cyborg powers. Want active engine mounts that soften or stiffen according to your level of driving arousal? It’s got ’em.

Porsche Cayman: Tech

Porsche Communication Management – PCM, if you will – is based on seven-inch touch in the centre console, with an extra screen in the instruments.

Hit the sport plus button to unleash sharper throttle response, stiffen the suspension, firm up the engine mounts and – yes, log lap times.

If a single feature sums up the new Cayman, it’s the software-generated steering feel. Porsche purists are aghast but the simple fact is that the new car’s helm is as smooth as honey.

Porsche Cayman: Specs

TOP SPEED 165MPH
0-62MPH 5.7 SECONDS
ENGINE 2,706CC FLAT-6, NATURALLY ASPIRATED
GEARBOX SIX-SPEED, MANUAL
POWER 271BHP
TORQUE 214LB/FT
FUEL CONSUMPTION 34.4MPG
CARBON EMISSIONS 192G/KM
WEIGHT 1,320KG

Porsche Cayman: Performance

The Cayman makes for a flawless drive that grips to the road with tank-like-traction. Its little wriggles and writhes you get through the steering wheel rim are, in part, simulated by software, with games-console- style force feedback.

It’s a purist’s nightmare, but the Cayman’s array of digital tricks pull together in a seamless, harmonious package that flatters your driving. It’s like the “magic realism” of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in automobile form. As Alan Partridge would probably not put it.

It’s astonishingly rapid, too. Even the little 2.7 is a 271bhp, 165mph car. Spec up a 321bhp 3.4 with big wheels and all the kit and the result is a motorised missile.

Don’t forget, you can still option one with a manual gearbox and passive suspension, and whatever the car’s digital enhancements, that soulful, naturally-aspirated flat-six engine is the real analogue deal. If you’re any kind of car enthusiast, the high-rev howl will plunge deep into your chest and shake your heart to bits.

If that isn’t enough, the new model does it all while significantly improving fuel efficiency and emissions. Go with the dual-clutch PDK gearbox and you get both start-stop and a sailing mode that disengages the clutch on coast-down. Result: nearly 50mpg on the extra-urban cycle. A-ha!

Porsche Cayman: Verdict

The new Porsche Cayman offers something for everyone, it may flashy with enough tech to sink a battleship but with a flat-six petrol engine the competition will be indefinitely silenced. No longer an entry-level Porsche, this is high accomplished sports car that can keep with the best of them.

Porsche Cayman: Out now

Porsche Cayman: From £39, 694, Car-on-test: £44, 360

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.