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.

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST -

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.

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