The Porsche Cayman is a close relative to the Porsche Boxster, and it has many shared elements in its construction. The Cayman first hit the showrooms in 2005. It is a rear-wheel-driven sports car, available as a two-door coupe with a cabriolet version on the market as well. Porsche has developed the Cayman as a grown-up version of the Boxster, but they still share the same platform, front bumpers, boot lid, light clusters, and much of the interior.
The first facelift given to the Cayman in 2009 saw it achieve more of its own individuality with new bumpers, LED indicator lights, and better-performing engines and transmission systems. Further changes were introduced in 2011 with the Cayman R model, which featured a completely new body shape, 19-inch alloys, and new doors and seats all made with lightweight aluminium. The radio, storage cubbies, air-con, and door handles were removed to create a super lean sports car.
The second-generation Cayman went on show in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show. While it still contained the Boxster references, this Cayman was very much its own master. This model is marginally longer and slightly narrower, with a lower roofline making the car more streamlined and therefore naturally faster.
The first-generation cars were fitted with a 3.4L Boxer engine, a less powerful but more fuel-efficient 3.2L, and the basic 2.7L drove the entry-level Caymans. These engines were linked to either a standard 5-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed Getrag automatic unit in the S models. The latter gearboxes were replaced in 2007 with the 7-speed PDK transmission, a duel clutch robotic manual transmission system.
The Cayman’s sporty performance and handling were further enhanced by ceramic disc brakes, Damp Tronic (PASM) shock absorbers, an electronic sport mode, and xenon headlights. After 2009, Porsche also offered limited slip differential, which many owners had retrofitted themselves before it became an option.
The car’s performance was rated as 217kW for the 3.4L engine with 340Nm of torque with the smaller 2.7L unit putting down 180kW of power and 273Nm torque. This could take the Cayman from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds in the basic model, while the S model achieved this in 5.4 seconds and had a top end of 275km/h. The super lightweight Caymen R managed to get these figures even lower thanks to its remodelling, and it hit 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds.
There has been a lot more aluminium included in the latest Porsche Cayman, with doors, bonnet, internal supports, boot lid, and wheels saving around 30kg. This means that its improved fuel-efficiency requires only 8.8L/100km in the car.
The latest Cayman model, the second generation, comes with a sunroof, keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, performance-enhancing Sport Chrono pack, flashy sports exhaust, and a range of alloy wheel options. The idle stop/start feature is now standard on all Caymans and a coasting function also serves to further help conserve fuel when the engine is not necessarily required.
Inside the cabin is a straight 2-seater arrangement, no 2+2 attempts here. The swish-looking dashboard has an excellent 7-inch infotainment system with satnav, Bluetooth handsfree, and USB ports. The front has enough space to take weekend suitcases, and there is room in the rear for additional storage. Porsche also declines to use the ANCAP tests but for safety reasons, they do include plenty to keep occupants from injuring themselves. There are 6 airbags, stability control, ABS, and adaptive cruise control. Further safety comes with the option of the Porsche Active Safe (PAS), which detects and warns the driver of potential dangers.
Option packages include passenger powered seat, satnav, CD changer, heated memory driver’s seat, additional speakers, headlight cleaning, and wood or leather trim finish inside.
The Cayman sees its kissing cousin, the Boxster, very much as a competitor, and despite the higher price tag for the Cayman, the pair sell in roughly the same amounts. The 911 Carrera is also seen as competition for the Cayman. The other mid-engine sports cars that position themselves in the same bracket as the Porsche are the Audi TT RS, BMWs Z4, and the M3 along with the Mercedes Benz SLK. Other competition includes the German engineering you would expect buyers to look at the Nissan 370Z, Lotus Esprite V8, and Aston Martin V12 Vantage.
Choice-wise, there is not a lot of difference between the Cayman and the Boxster. The Cayman costs more but has marginally better performance. The later model is more removed from the Boxster’s lines but still similar enough, and their interior spec and packages are very much alike. In its own right, the Cayman is a great little sports car; it’s well put together, with a sleek design and fast, assured road handling.