The Cayman is Porsche’s answer to those who wanted a hard top version of the Boxster. It does share much of the Boxster chassis, although it is wrapped in its own body panels. This came from the inherent tradeoffs made when working with a convertible. Less rigidity is all but inevitable, as is higher weight, lower performance, and more money. The Cayman addresses most of these directly. It retains the razor sharp handling and great braking. In fact, given the stiffer chassis, the handling and braking are actually improved over the Boxster. It seems likely, however, that the limited power available on the Cayman was intentional of Porsche to help keep a sense of strong differential among models.

There are two different models the Cayman. The base comes with a 2.9 liter, flat six cylinder, making 265 HP or the updated 3.4 liter flat 6, good for 320 HP. Power is routed through either the standard 6 speed manual transmission or Porsches exclusive 7 speed PDK transmission. The PDK is Porsches dual clutch, automatically actuated, manual transmission. The PDK is becoming a more and more popular option.

Bodystyle: Coupe
Engines: 2.9L flat-six, 3.4L flat-six
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Models: Cayman, Cayman S

For the 2010 model year, Porsche limited the changes to a new steering-wheel design. Clearly, it’s hard to mess with near-perfection. Yet in the quest for that absolute, Porsche will be treating the Cayman to a thorough update for the 2011 model year. So stay tuned. Or keep your eyes out for great deals on the current car.

Lean, muscular, and purposeful, the Cayman recalls Porsche’s purebred sporting machines of the 1950s. It’s perhaps most striking from the rear — check out that wide, aggressive stance, and those excellent, center-mounted exhaust pipes.

Like most Porsches, the Cayman is biased toward functionality rather than pizzazz. But if you want goodies, the Cayman offers everything from ventilated adaptive sports seats to a heated steering wheel, navigation, and Park Assist.

Unfortunately for Porsche, the Cayman is so good, many buyers wonder — why do I need a 911? Indeed, it’s the Cayman that boasts the more balanced mid-engine layout. And with its lightweight body and sweet-singing sixes (including a 320-horsepower direct-injection version in the S), the Cayman runs and handles superbly. Think of it as a Porsche pared down to its bare essentials.

Seat-belt pre-tensioners, Porsche’s Side Impact Protection (POSIP) system, and standard four-piston monobloc aluminum fixed caliber brakes front and rear ensure a high level of driver and passenger security. Extra-bright Bi-Xenon headlamps are optional.

Cayman: 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway (man), 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy (PDK)
Cayman S: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway (man), 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy (PDK)

  • Athletic body
  • Poetry-inspiring handling dynamics
  • Sweet flat six
  • Fabulous shifters
  • Tight cockpit
  • Watching options launch the sticker price

Makes you wonder about getting that 911


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