Baby Cayman has plenty of bite, but lacks thrills


The Porsche Cayman is a lovely looking car - even when it's standing still.

It’s a beautiful car, but DAVID HOOPER says Porsche’s entry level Cayman has plenty of bite, but not enough thrills for the money.

The view most people will probably see of the Cayman!

MEET the Cayman, the Porsche which can easily be overlooked by those more familiar with the iconic 911, or even the Boxster.
With gorgeous coupe looks all of its own, even in its basic form as tested here, the Cayman still has plenty of bite.
Based loosely on its convertible Boxster sister, the Cayman, with its sloping tailgate, traditional flared rear arches, large air intakes and Porsche’s timeless front end has looks to die for and even though I knew I only had it for a few days, just admiring it sitting on  my drive each morning was enough to make my heart beat faster.
There are now three versions of the Cayman on sale, this “entry” level car, the Cayman S and Cayman R, each one becoming progressively more hard-core in performance terms.
A strict two-seater, interior space is limited. There are a couple of narrow door pockets and a small glovebox inside, but you do get two boots – one at each end of the car. The one at the front is the largest, big enough for a bit of shopping or a couple of modest weekend bags, while at the back you could stow a couple of sweaters and jackets, and that’s about it.
The instruments ahead of the driver are dominated by a large central rev counter, with a speedo to the left and temperature and fuel gauges to the right. The speedo is actually quite hard to read because it is cluttered with so many numbers, so I tended to rely on the digital display.
My test car was equipped with air conditioning, although not climate control, and Porsche’s slick Communication Management system which controls your phone, plays your music and guides you to your destination.
While this particular model may be the first step on the Cayman range ladder, it still completes the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 5.8 seconds and has a potential top speed of 165mph from its 265bhp six-cylinder engine.
My test car featured my preferred six-speed manual gearbox, although for those who like to play with paddles and have gearchanges done for them, an automatic PDK gearbox is an option.
Anything with a sub six-second 0-62mph time is clearly no slouch, but for me, this Cayman lacked the “punch in the back” acceleration I would want if I were to invest almost £50,000 on a sports car.
Once on the move, it was quick enough, and working the gearbox made overtaking A-road traffic easy and fun, while the roar from six-cylinder engine sitting just behind you quickly becomes addictive. There’s even a button to make the exhausts noisier to heighten the thrill.
The ride quality is sportingly firm with very little body roll and the car is a delight to drive. For those brought up on front-wheel-drive cars it needs a slightly different driving style to get the best out of it, but once you’re used to the lighter feel from the front end, the Cayman turns-in sharply and feels reassuring stable as you feed in the power and the rear wheels bite into the road.
Driven “properly” the fuel consumption dips to the low to mid-20s, but a lighter right foot and a bit of motorway cruising saw me achieve just under 30mpg, which I don’t think is too bad for a car like this. Its C02 emissions are 221g/km
The Cayman, as with any Porsche, is a head-turning car, but if it was my money, I would spend it on the more powerful 3.4-litre engined S or R models which give you more thrills to go with the great looks.

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A timeless coupe shape, the Cayman is certain to turn heads.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Porsche Cayman 2.9 manual.
From 2.9 litres 2dr (£39,207) to 3.4 litres PDK 2dr (£53,731).
2893cc, 265bhp six-cylinder engine, driving rear wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
Top speed 165mph.
0-62mph in 5.8 secs.
City: 20.5mpg.
Country: 40.9mpg.
Combined: 30.1mpg.
Fuel tank: 64 litres.
Group 42.
3 years/Unlimited mileage.
• All data correct at time of publication.