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VALUE

The 2.5-litre turbo Cay­man S is $140,300, a $30,000 pre­mium on the 2.0 ver­sion. The RRP is just the start. The most pop­u­lar trans­mis­sion — the seven-speed twin-clutch auto — adds $4990 and a sports ex­haust $4330. With bright or­ange paint ($5390), black wheels ($5600), high-end Bose au­dio ($2650) among other ac­ces­sories, our car was more than $180,000.

COM­FORT

Its one of life’s cruelties that by the time you can af­ford a Porsche you al­most can’t clam­ber in and out of one, given they are so close to the ground. Once on board, the seats are su­perbly com­fort­able and can be ad­justed to get the op­ti­mum driv­ing po­si­tion. Tyre noise can be rau­cous, though, and we ac­ci­den­tally broke the plas­tic flap in the driver’s door pocket which, we dis­cov­ered the hard way, can’t fit a small wa­ter bot­tle.

SAFETY

Six airbags are stan­dard but many safety aids are op­tions or un­avail­able. Auto emer­gency brak­ing (to a stand­still) and lane-keep­ing tech can’t be had, while radar cruise con­trol is $2990. De­spite poor rear­ward vi­sion and the front dip­ping out of view, front and rear sen­sors and a rear cam­era add $1690.

DRIV­ING

The boffins reckon the Cay­man carves cor­ners bet­ter than its 911 sta­ble­mate, be­cause its en­gine is fur­ther for­ward and the bal­ance is more neu­tral. It has seem­ingly end­less grip, sharp and ac­cu­rate steer­ing, and in­cred­i­ble brak­ing power. We did 0-100km/h in the Cay­man (4.6 sec) and Cay­man S (4.1s) in “launch” mode, beat­ing Porsche’s claims by 0.1s in each. It’s not per­fect, though. Even with the sports ex­haust, the four-cylin­der sounds or­di­nary. A shame given many buy Porsches for their unique sound.

ALTERNATIVES

The reg­u­lar 2.0-litre turbo Cay­man (220kW/380Nm) is still a blast and $30,000 less ex­pen­sive than the S. It han­dles cor­ners with the same fi­nesse and goes al­most as quick.

The all-wheel drive RS3 is quicker than the Cay­man S (0-100km/h in 4.0s on our test), has the prac­ti­cal­ity of a five­door hatch and is less than half the price of our test car.

Fully loaded, with blis­ter­ing per­for­mance from the twin­turbo 4.0-litre V8. Benz claims 0-100km/h in 4 secs — the best we did was 4.4 as it strug­gled to get power to the ground.

VER­DICT

If your bud­get will stretch, the Cay­man S is spec­tac­u­lar but the dull ex­haust note needs work.

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