2012 Porsche Cayman R

Only the hard-core need apply for the Porsche Cayman R. It dispenses with many of the creature comforts that make the regular Cayman such a fantastic grand tourer in addition to a wonderful sports car. To me, the perfect Cayman would include many of the R's features, most notably its more powerful engine, but I would do without the R's superstiff suspension and unpadded door armrests. I'd probably also ditch the fixed-rake racing seats, although I was quite comfortable in them during my 45-mile commute. Otherwise, I love the R: its fierce styling, its somehow-even-better-than-the-regular-Cayman exhaust note, the ultra-basic radio, its loop-pull inner door handles (although how much weight can those really save?).

I haven't had a chance to drive the very similar Boxster Spyder, but the Cayman R strikes me as the more reasonable choice between the two, simply because the Spyder's roof is a lot more complicated to operate than that of the regular Boxster. I was disappointed to see the PDK automatic transmission when I got into the car, but it really is a phenomenal gearbox. During one hard kickdown to pass slower traffic, however, the powertrain's supreme urge caused the radio to stop working. I had to cycle it off and back on before the tunes returned. It must have taken that long for the radio waves to catch up to the speeding Cayman...

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

For anybody but a track junkie, the base Cayman provides 95% of the fun for 75% of the price.

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