2014 Porsche Cayman S Review

Plusher doesn’t mean softer

2014 Porsche Cayman S Review

When the Cayman first arrived in 2006, it was essentially a hard top version of the engaging Porsche Boxster. Featuring a stiff structure and excellent dynamics, the Cayman quickly found fans around the world.

FAST FACTS

1. A 3.4-liter horizontally-opposed six-cylinder makes 325 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque.

2. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, a seven-speed PDK automatic is optional.

3. Pricing for Cayman S starts at $64,750. AutoGuide’s test car costs $84,170.

4. With the PDK, fuel consumption is rated at 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.

But for all it had in apex assaulting prowess, the Cayman lacked in creature comforts. This is not to say it was a bare bones track special, but compared to some of the competition, it wasn’t reeking of opulent luxury. Popular as it was with the enthusiast crowd, Porsche wants to sell more and that means making the Cayman appealing to a broader audience. 
  
So for the second generation Cayman, Porsche is offering a car that is perhaps more in line with its German rivals, delivering more luxury and more style. And oh, what style indeed!

Continuing the design theme started last year with the Boxster, the new Cayman features a similar gorgeous baby-Carrera-GT look that is helped even more by having a roof. Although silver isn’t exactly the most exciting color for a car, somehow Porsche pulls it off. Then again, the Cayman could be painted hot pink with lime green accents and it would still probably look amazing.

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REAL HEAD TURNER

Is it prettier than a 911? Well, that is up to personal opinion, there’s certainly an affirmative argument to be made. Enhancing the overall appearance are red painted brake calipers, cross drilled rotors and 20-inch Carrera S wheels. However, as beautiful as these rims look, some find that they might also be too big for this little coupe.

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Inside, the new Cayman will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has been in a recent 911, Boxster or Cayenne.  That means there are hard buttons for most options, the infotainment unit is not the easiest to use and yes, the swing arm cup holders are still here. The front seats are 14-way power adjustable and are fairly supportive, but lack the powered side bolsters of the 18-way adjustable seats.

See Also: 2013 Porsche Boxster Review – Video

Porsche offers a few different interior color schemes and our test car was finished in the “Yachting Blue” leather interior that found few fans around the AutoGuide office. We did however like the button free thick-rimmed sport steering wheel set in front of a set of metal paddle shifters. There’s also a Bose stereo that produces a clear, powerful sound.

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WONDERFUL BOXER POWER

So the Cayman has new-found luxury, but has this driver’s car suffered in performance? Our Cayman S arrived with a 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine pumping out 325 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. Although we would have preferred the standard six-speed manual, our Cayman was equipped with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission. Hey, if a car has to have an automatic, it might as well have one of the best examples money can buy, right?

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The Cayman S weighs just over 2,900 lbs. with the PDK and Porsche claims it can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package. It takes a lot of revving to get the most power out of this flat-6 engine, but it really comes to life in the proper rpm range. 

Keeping it in the sweet spot of the power band is simple thanks to Porsche’s spectacular PDK dual-clutch transmission. Manuals are magnificent, but Porsche’s PDK is damn impressive. Put it in Sport Plus mode and the car always remains in the lowest gear possible when driving aggressively. It’s ridiculously fast compared to the 20th century way of shifting with your hands and feet. Feel free to use the paddles on a racetrack if so inclined, but the car’s computer works faster than the human brain in sport plus at determining the exact gear and rpm needed when attacking a corner.

PORSCHE STILL THE CHASSIS MASTER

Alright, so we have determined the Cayman is luxurious and fast, but does it still offer that certain “Porsche driving feel?” Are the brakes, steering and overall handling of this car spectacular? In a word, yes.

Steering is direct and responsive on both the road and the track. The Cayman will always do what it is told to through the steering wheel. The chassis is set-up beautifully allowing drivers of differing skill levels to confidently explore their limits on a track, even if those are nowhere near that of the Cayman’s. Thanks to the rev-happy engine, even a novice can use the throttle to help steer the car through corners. The best part is that with the sport suspension turned off, the ride is more than tolerable for how capable the Cayman S is as a sports car.

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Sight lines are great for a mid-engine vehicle thanks to the large rear window and lack of a pillar between the side windows. For a purpose-built sports car, cargo space is quite good with 9.7 cubic feet available in the rear hatch and 5.3 in the front trunk. However, neither cargo area will swallow up a standard set of golf clubs.

See Also: 2012 Porsche Boxster S Review – Video

Pricing for Cayman S starts at $64,750, but like any Porsche, that price can quickly escalate when checking off a few option boxes. With items like the PDK, Carrera S wheels, premium package, infotainment package and Sport Chrono package, our test vehicle ballooned up to $84,170 after destination charges.

THE VERDICT

This price may seem steep, but does gain entry into a truly special sports car. The Cayman isn’t perfect, but the combination of luxury, comfort and performance are hard to beat for under $100,000.

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