What makes for a good sports car? Something that corners as if on rails? Acceleration that’ll raise your pulse? Perhaps steering and a suspension setup that allow you to really feel the road? And what about balance? If you’ve found your nodding as you read along, there’s a pretty good chance that the Porsche Cayman is a good fit.
With its mid-engine rear-wheel drive configuration, the Cayman offers perfect weight distribution, delightfully tactile steering and a ride that manages to inform the driver without punishing him or her. A cozy but well-made cabin is a fixture of the Cayman lineup, with a driver-oriented but button-heavy design. Meanwhile, the fastback coupe shape affords a decent sized rear trunk in addition to its second front trunk. Ah, the benefits of a mid-engine layout …
For 2016, Porsche has delivered what might very well be the ultimate performance Cayman – the GT4. This hard-edged machine is the result of Porsche engineers cherry-picking select 911 GT3 components including suspension and brakes, with the engine of a 911 Carrera S, all housed in a Cayman body with 911 GT3-inspired front and rear spoilers. A weight-reduction program that sees the removal of the stereo and climate control ensure that the 385-hp, 309 lb-ft of torque 3.8-litre delivers rocket-like performance. It’s all routed to the rear wheels exclusively via a six-speed short-throw manual transmission. Conceptually, the GT4 is similar to the Boxster Spyder, but it’s driving experience is further focused due to the fact it uses GT3-sourced components instead of mere Carrera S parts.
As with the 911 and Boxster, the Cayman gets a new Black edition trim level which builds upon the entry level Cayman. Select it, and you’ll find commonly chosen options like upgraded wheels, dual-zone climate control, a Bose stereo system, and more for less money than you’d otherwise spend on a standard Cayman. The only price to pay, other than the $7,600 upgrade fee is a lack of choice in colour. Only black is offered.
The Cayman and Cayman Black Edition use a 2.7-litre naturally aspirated boxer six engine which revs strong and clean. It produces 275 hp, which is stronger than most rivals’ turbocharged four-cylinders, but it’s relatively light on torque with just 213 lb-ft. Still, with crisp throttle response and a pair of fine transmissions (six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch), it is plenty of fun to drive.
Both the Cayman S and GTS use a 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine borrowed from the base 911. Here, you’ll find 325 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. Opt for the GTS package, and on top of a lowered and firmed-up suspension, 20-inch wheels, adaptive dampers, and plenty of Alcantara interior trim, and the power levels climb to 340 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Cars with the 3.4 use the same transmissions as the 2.7.
As a strict two-seater, the Cayman is oddly positioned in the world of sports cars. Most coupe versions of popular sports cars other than the Chevrolet Corvette offer seating for four. BMW’s M235i Coupe may provide greater performance compared to the standard Cayman, but isn’t as pure in its driving experience. Much the same can be said about Chevrolet’s Corvette, which even in basic trim will out-accelerate any Cayman, GT4 included – and for significantly less money. Nevertheless, as far as well-rounded sports cars go, the Cayman is difficult to top.
An option-free Cayman 2.7 sells for $59,900 before freight or taxes, rising to $85,800 for the GTS. At $96,500, the new GT4 is more expensive than a base 911, but performance connoisseurs may find the price of entry worth it.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed