Cayman feel the noise – roar of Porsche makes for a sound buy
German engineering was music to the ears of Frederic Manby when he got behind the wheel of this twoseater coupe.
HERE’S a quiz question for free. What car has four clocks? What car has a mirror which matches the shape of the view through the back window? Oh, you guessed. Yep, that’s right, this Cayman. More of which after this business update.
Porsche s UK sales trickled ahead by a meagre 1.06 per cent in the nine months to October. It still gives Germany’s most covetable marque record sales, with the figure just topping 6,000 – and more to come by the year end. September saw a cheery 11 per cent boost, but lagging behind Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
However, Volkswagen, its owners since August 2012, is more than happy with Porsche’s boost to group profits. Porsche is the most profitable of the 12 brands in VW Group. Third-quarter results show a 55 per cent rise in Porsche profits of more than a fifth of VW’s earnings. That deserves a big WOW!
It’s not as if Porsche is standing still with models, either. The Panamera saloon has had its first facelift and the addition of a high economy, high performance hybrid. The enviable 911 has been celebrating its 50th birthday and the Boxster has had a major remodel.
August’s Which? car survey put the Stuttgart brand top for customer satisfaction and reliability for the second year running. Auto Express gave its best roadster gong to the Boxster and best coupe award to the Cayman. In the USA the J D Power survey marked it top in Initial Quality.
What’s not to like? A Porsche does seem like an idiot-proof buy. The market is far from swamped, which helps resale values, and there’s a special cachet to Porsche ownership.
The Cayenne SUV stills sells well, and on the way is the Macan sports SUV. It will put Porsche on course to sell more than 200,000 cars a year and keep it the world’s most profitable car brand.
The new-look Boxster roadster and the Cayman coupe – tested here – now look less like a 911. The lamps run back into the wings and the rear lights have a silvery lateral bar which links with the sharper tailgate crease.
There’s new shaping for the wings, too, and unless you want rear seats or the extreme power options, the Boxster/ Cayman pair make a stronger case against buying a 911.
Do you want a legend – or just an acolyte? One thing I do know, is that even the weakest engine makes a howl which few cars can match.
There were times in the Cayman when I realised I was driving for the noise. The flatsix engine peaks on 271 bhp at
There were times in the Cayman when I realised I was driving for the noise.
7,400 rpm and you can enjoy the screaming most with the extra-cost PDK seven-speed automatic gearbox, and more than that even when you add the selectable loud exhaust and sports chrono kit. Among other things, this livens the engine response, blipping down a gear and automatically engaging the loud pipes and disabling the stop-start ignition. Mama mia.
If you are feeling just a shade shy you can re-select the standard exhaust sounds.
The Cayman costs about £1,500 more than the Boxster and gains another 10 horse power in both 2.7 and the 3.4S versions. My test car was the Cayman 2.7 – so without Cayman S badging.
The regular car did well enough anyway, and at £39,694 is some nine grand less than the 320bhp Cayman S (more power, more kit). As a fresh-air kind of driver I’d probably go for the Boxster, which has the same fore and aft luggage boots. However, the Cayman also has a parcel shelf under the sloping tailgate and a couple of deep pockets with sliding covers.
Did I like it? Rather. The door action is lighter than on a 911 – so when age starts catching up, you’ll be able to swing yourself out more easily.
It retains a standard turn-key ignition, using a bladeless key which in profile looks like the silhouette of the Panamera. It’s a kind of hint that one day you may move up to the fourdoor super saloon. No doubt some households may have a Boxster/Cayman, Panamera and a Cayenne.
What did I do in my week with the Cayman? A short trip to Italy to try the new Skoda Rapid Spaceback left the Cayman dormant for the best part of three days. Not before I’d enjoyed the fun and finesse for a day, with more pseudo legal driving when I got back.
There’s many a chat in the Smallbore Bar about the point of cars like this if you are going to adhere to speed limits. Even this weakest Cayman can reach 164 miles an hour. No, I didn’t. You can take it track racing but few tracks emulate the joy of a natural road and none of them is in Britain.
What are the glitches of Cayman ownership? Well, the cabin’s rather noisy – a combination of the rear engine in the coupe body and you might initially query space for oddments but look around and you’ll find coat hooks, pull-out compartments, pop-out cup holders etc.
Verdict: Cayman sera, sera...
The Porsche Cayman certainly looks the part but will also have you driving just to hear the engine howl.