2007 Porsche Cayman

The new Cayman (minus the S) is not the lightest, cheapest, or cutest, Porsche, but it may be the smartest one to buy. What the 245-hp, 2.7-liter flat six lacks in low-end vim it more than makes up in 7300-rpm vigor; lighter engine internals and electric throttle response hurl a heavy-footed operator to 60 mph in less than six seconds on the way to 160 mph. The stout coupe body and mid-engine layout are the ideal serving tray for the chassis engineers' most inspired work. And a base price that's barely over $50,000 means that "value" and "Porsche" can share a sentence. Upgrades--such as a six-speed manual, sport seats, eighteen- or nineteen-inch wheels, a navigation system, active dampers, and the Sport Chrono Package--are dear, so don't linger too long over the options list.

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