date : 7th May 2006
new Porsche Cayman has introduced an element of intrigue
into the Porsche range, which until now was pretty clear-cut…
the 911 for the purists… the Boxter for the less
well-heeled who want open-topped fun as well as a degree of
boulevard posturing potential… and the
more-on-than-off-road Cayenne, which has sold surprisingly
well despite being more of a family orientated station
wagon-cum- supercar than a real SUV.
So why the Cayman, which as everyone and his dog named
Ferdinand will know is essentially a Boxter with a roof
Would this be seen as a sort of afterthought from Porsche, a
kind of relatively-poor man’s 911?
David initially asked the same sort of questions but by the
time he arrived in Hilton he reckoned he knew most of the
When you see the Cayman in the flesh, so to speak, all
pre-conceptions are blown out the back door.
The Cayman has a symmetry that digs deep into Porsche
heritage – and triggers memories of the Abarth Carrera,
circa 1960, and even the 550 Spyder that so tragically
became forever linked to the memory of film star James Dean.
The Cayman is smaller than the 911, with a shorter wheelbase
which gives it a chunkier, more classic profile. And the
detailing work on vents, wheels and air intakes gives it a
look all its own.
big difference between the 911 and the Cayman is that there
are no rear seats, although 911 seats are something of a
joke anyway unless you are toting toddlers under two years
old, or midgets around with you.
The interior is not as up-market as a 911’s but by no
means in the shabby category. There is more plastic,
but GOOD QUALITY plastic.
Porsche flat-sixes have always had a distinct engine note, a
flat bark overlaid by a high-pitched mechanical symphony
that was probably accidental when the original 911 motor was
conceived in the early 1960s.
The Tiptronic transmission a la Porsche is the real
business. It holds the gears until you shift when in manual
mode, and the changes are so quick they make nonsense of the
automatic clutch sequential manual transmissions offered by
the likes of Alfa Romeo with its Selespeed and BMW with its
You lose none of the pure Porsche pleasure with this Cayman,
and as the motor is mid-mounted rather than slung out the
rear as it is in a 911, everything seems more immediate in
The engine note is a constant presence and a pleasurable one
at that, making the high quality audio system almost
The chassis is so stiff it feels as if you could drop it off
a cliff and it wouldn’t suffer so much as a kink.
And yet it’s comfortable over a long haul, especially in
Tiptronic auto form.
The 911 is Car Torque’s favourite car. But now, along
comes the Cayman, oh so close to 911 levels and two hundred
grand cheaper. What’s not to like?
If we could find any reason to choose a 911 over the Cayman
S it would be that the cabin ambience perhaps is a little
lacking in the sound-deadening department.
There’s an almost tin-drum tautness about it that is not
up to the suave quality particular to the 911 and this is
maybe due to the greater immediacy of the engine, thanks to
mid, rather than rear location.
In short, it’s the enthusiast’s choice.
Porsche Cayman S Tiptronic
Horizontally-opposed six-cylinder petrol, 3 387 cc
- Power: 217 kW @ 6
- Torque: 340 Nm @
4 600 rpm
Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h: 5,8
- Top speed: 268
- Fuel consumption:
13,4 litres/100 km (estimated)
- Price: R730 000
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