Apart from the pack
DRIVING a new car each week is a fact of life when you are a road tester. This never-ending parade includes good cars, ordinary cars and, occasionally this year, cars that qualify as extraordinary. Then there are the dogs. The bottom line is always simple, regardless of what you are driving: how does it compare with its rivals and would you be happy to put your best friend, or your mother, into one?
So the Ford Focus is a winner and the Mitsubishi Colt is, for me, a loser.
Same for the Bugatti Veyron and the Holden Commodore, except it’s the Holden that wins, because I can see no real sense in a car that costs $2.7 million.
Generally speaking, cars come and go. Most score between 60 and 70 out of 100 on the road-test scale. Occasional standouts do even better; a few drop into the daggy zone.
Then there is the Porsche Cayman. This car, along with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon and the Renault Megane R27, is a personal favourite.
The Benz estate has been top of the list since the 1980s and still sits there despite the obvious appeal of the Cayman.
But there is a difference. I actually ordered a Cayman. The purchase was derailed by a new house, but last week I had a chance to drive ‘‘my’’ Cayman.
It had won me at the preview in Italy, when I drove it as hard as I have driven on public roads, and all its strengths came back to me as I slid into the car for a few days. It is compact, responsive, good looking and— for a Porsche — great value.
I also believe a Cayman is more responsive and enjoyable to drive than a 911, and probably just as quick on regular roads.
The personal tweaks, from the carbon-fibre trim pieces to the wonderful Bose sound, make this Cayman even more special.
But it was, ultimately, just another test car and another week with another car, even if, for me, this one scores 85 from 100.
Now, if I can just get the mortgage under control . . .
the Porsche Cayman is compact, responsive and good looking.