Following the successful launch of the Boxster Spyder, a lightweight, more potent version of the mid-engined Boxster S, Porsche has come back to the Los Angeles Auto Show one year later to give a similar treatment to its mid-engined coupe, resulting in the Cayman R.
Essentially a more extreme version of the Cayman S, the Cayman R loses 121 pounds and gains 10 horsepower. Curb weight is down to a manufacturer-claimed 2849 pounds, while the 3.4-liter flat-six engine boasts 330 horsepower, good for a power-to-weight ratio of 8.5:1. The result is a 0-60 mph sprint that is claimed to take just 4.4 seconds with the optional PDK dual-clutch gearbox and 4.7 seconds for those who still prefer the involvement of a conventional manual transmission. Those opting for the latter will see an additional mph at the top end, with a maximum speed of 175 mph - 4 mph more than the current Cayman S.
To make the Cayman R feel a little more at home on the track, a limited-slip differential is added (an item also introduced to the Boxster Spyder) and a lower, stiffer sports suspension is fitted. The front and rear spoilers from the factory Cayman Aerokit are lended to the R version, and unique 19-inch wheels sit at all four corners.
The Cayman R's diet involved several old Porsche tricks - namely, ditching unnecessary components (those "not associated with driving performance," as Porsche puts it) and substituting lightweight materials in the place of heavier ones. In the process, the Cayman R loses its air conditioning and stereo systems, gets a 2.6-gallon-smaller fuel tank, trades the standard steel door skins for aluminum units with simpler 911 GT3 RS interior panels, and gains carbon-fiber-backed seats.
Further cosmetic revisions include black-framed halogen headlights, contrasting side mirrors, and "Porsche" side stripes in the vein of the Boxster Spyder, GT3 RS and classic Carrera 2.7 RS. The Cayman R will hit showrooms as a 2012 model in February 2011 with a U.S. price of $66,300. It is currently unclear whether that price includes standard destination fees.