REVIEWS: 2009 Porsche Cayman S

August 11, 2009
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No, I didn't abandon my family to be with the Porsche Cayman S, but I was extremely tempted, taking several detours on the trip home to my tiny baby and my understanding wife. Nothing demands a joy ride like a Porsche. I know, I know: the 911 is iconically divine. But for my money, I'd rather own a Boxster or a Cayman than a tail-heavy and much more expensive 911. More specifically, I'd probably pick a Boxster S because of its opening roof and smaller price. Yet every time I see a gorgeous Cayman--or am exposed to the lusciously rumbly sound track filling its cabin--I become torn. I suppose it's very fortunate, then, that I'm not in the market for one of these cars. Sigh.
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I am a sucker for the Cayman's blessed engine note, slick shifter, excellent balance, sublime steering, fantastic brakes ... all of these items meld perfectly with form-fitting seats, a very attractive exterior, and surprisingly practical packaging, making this a car for which it's hard to surrender the keys. To paraphrase a January 2005 Automobile Magazine story in which we compared a Porsche Carrera GT, a Ford GT, a Lamborghini Murciélago, and a Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR: heaven is a Cayman (or Boxster) on forever empty mountain roads, with a permanently full fuel tank and perpetually perfect tires. Double sigh.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Step By Step

When it comes time to sign out a car for the weekend, I usually eschew two-seaters in favor of something with a trunk, because my husband and I are usually hauling our golf clubs and/or our dog somewhere. There are few cars that make me want to make an exception to this rule, but the Cayman is one of them. I was more than happy to forgo cargo capacity for the chance to drive the Cayman for the weekend. There's just something about this car: it's got a great engine, sounds great, and is a blast to drive. Plus, it just seems to fit me to a tee.
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Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
I work a mere ten minutes from my apartment, but the commute home took two and a half hours in the Cayman.
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It's really hard to describe the Cayman without overusing the word perfect. There's a perfectly powerful engine--enough grunt to fly but not enough to overwhelm the brilliant chassis--mounted in the middle of the car. The inputs? Perfect. Steering that's neither overboosted nor artificially heavy, neither too slow nor too quick. The notchy yet precise and slick gearshifter. Oh, and that noise, that hellish flat-six wail. It's soo perfect.
The Porsche Cayman is a car that doesn't make all that much sense on paper (it costs nearly as much as a Chevy Corvette Z06 but has less power than a Nissan 370Z). But behind the wheel, it's, you know, perfect.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Give me a Cayman any day over its much more common and slightly less satisfying sibling, the Boxster roadster. In terms of dynamics, of course, the Cayman's fixed roof gives the car considerably more structural rigidity, which translates to that much better chassis responsiveness. In terms of aesthetics, the Cayman's pure form is, arguably, more pleasing to the eye than the Boxster. And in terms of specialness, the still-rare Cayman offers a lot of exclusivity for the buck. In that sense, the Cayman reminds me of the early-2000s BMW M Coupe, another high-performance, fixed-roof sibling to a much more common ragtop, the Z3 roadster. Both the M Coupe and the Cayman are the type of vehicle that I could see myself buying as a vintage car in 25 or 30 years. Of course, I'd like a Cayman right now, as well.
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Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
2009 Porsche Cayman S
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Base price (with destination): $61,150
Price as tested: $68,215
Options:
Self-dim mirrors and rain sensor $690
PCM 3.0 w/ extended navigation $3110
Heated front seats $500
Automatic climate control $550
Bluetooth interface for mobile $695
Bose high end sound package $990
Floor mats in interior color $90
Universal audio interface $440
Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined)
19 / 26 / 22 mpg
Engine:
Size: 3.4L 6-cylinder
Horsepower: 320 hp @ 7200 rpm
Torque: 273 lb-ft @4400 rpm
Transmission:
6-speed manual
Weight: 2976 lb
Wheels/Tires:
18 x 8-in aluminum wheels in front, 18 x 9-in aluminum wheels in rear
235/40ZR18 front tires, 265/40ZR18 rear tires

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2009 Porsche Cayman

Base RWD 2-Dr Coupe H6
starting at (MSRP)
$50,300
Engine
2.9L H6
Fuel Economy
19 City 27 Hwy
2009 Porsche Cayman