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