It was hard not to be impressed with the third generation Porsche Boxster roadster when we first got our hands on it last year. But what excited us about it most was that we knew a hardtop variant would not be far behind. Well it’s here, an all-new Porsche Cayman. Ever since the first Cayman bowed for 2006, it’s been on a mission to replace the 911 as the quintessential, fun to drive Porsche hardtop. Has that mission finally been accomplished?
It’s hard to believe that the 2014 Porsche Cayman is the third iteration of Porsche’s smallest sports coupe. We’re not sure where the years have gone, but they’ve sure been kind to the Cayman.
With age, it’s looking more and more like the 911, and benefits greatly from all the recent upgrades the 911 has received, including electro-mechanical power steering.
Porsche engineers managed to make the new Cayman both bigger and lighter at the same time; and needless to say, it’s one great looking car. The upgraded Cayman S improves on that with bigger 19 or 20-inch wheels, and some great sound coming from the center-mounted dual exhaust.
All of that noise comes from the Boxster S’s 3.4-liter flat-6 mounted mid-ship, just as before. Horsepower is up over the last Cayman S by 5 to 325. Base Cayman models share the base Boxster’s 2.7-liter that gets a bigger increase over last gen to 275-horsepower.
For managing that power as it heads to the rear wheels, Porsche’s PDK is what most will opt for and it works so well, that it’s hard to make an argument for the 6-speed manual transmission; though we enjoyed it very much and it’s nice to feel in control of something these days.
The Cayman, much like the latest Boxster, is one car that hasn’t dialed out all of the driver involvement in the name of progress. It feels more like a traditional 911 than the new 911, and can even get a little tail happy, allowing you to steer it with your right foot. But, it doesn’t feel like a lightweight; rather like it can handle whatever you throw at it and more.
0-60 sprints take just 4.7-seconds for the manual, about a half second behind the PDK, with full quarter-mile blasts in as little as 12.9-seconds at 106 miles-per-hour. The manual shifter is quick, but make sure you get the clutch pushed in all the way, as it doesn’t like to be hurried, and overall operation isn’t as smooth as Porsche gearboxes of old. Brakes are fully Porsche spec, which means they are all business, taking a scant 106-feet to stop from 60.
The Cayman feels just as at home on a street as on the track. Around every day bends, owners will be rewarded with a light on its feet driving experience.
Everything’s great! The wheel falls right to hand, the car is nice and docile, yet agile to the extreme, and it even sounds fabulous. Best of all, you don’t have to be flogging it around at jail time speeds to have a blast behind the wheel.
Take note, the ride is on the firm side, but still comfortable enough. The Sport Chrono pack’s Sport Plus Mode changes throttle mapping and stiffens shock damping to the extent that its best left for track work. Our car’s Adaptive Sport Seats Plus were sports car perfect, with good comfort and grab you just right when you start driving hard.
And we do love the control heavy Panamera-inspired layout of the interior more and more with every new Porsche model. No cumbersome central controller, just a logical array of buttons that do what they’re supposed to do.
We find it odd that Porsche hasn’t gone keyless with the Cayman, even more curious since they did do away with the hand brake. The push-pull electric parking brake is infuriating and it makes us feel like we’re driving a Subaru.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are commendable for such a high performing car, 20–City, 28-Highway, and 23–Combined in the manual Cayman S.
While not the biggest performance bargain on the market, the fact that you can get this much Porsche sports car for $53,550 is still pretty amazing. The S a bit less so, starting at $64,750. Regardless, choose wisely with options, as you can get into 911 territory very quickly.
The 2014 Porsche Cayman definitely delivers more… more power, more room, improved handling, and even more comfort; but somehow with all of that, it manages to stay most true to the Porsche ethos of performance first. In fact, we think it has finally supplanted the 911 as the quintessential Porsche, and we would do just about anything to own one.
Torque: 272 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.7-seconds
1/4 mile: 12.9 seconds @ 106 mph
EPA: 20 mpg city/ 28 mpg highway