BEHIND THE WHEEL: Porsche Cayman

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 3, 2012

[Cayman S]

In the quest to look for a mint 997 has made me thought, why not a Cayman instead? For about the same money, you could get a Cayman S in adequate condition coupled with PDK. Yes I do think that a 911 is more of a matured gentleman's car but I'm not all that old hence a Cayman makes more sense. So I did a little bit of reading and it is said that the face-lifted Cayman S is the best car Porsche makes. That said I had to get behind the wheel of one.

 

On some Saturday, I was presented a beautiful Cayman S wearing 19" rubbers. On paper it does 0-100 in 5.1 seconds, having had a go in one, I have no reason to not believe in those numbers. Pushing it hard in the bends, the Cayman was just so balanced despite the tires were screeching. The chassis's exceptionally talented and the steering was absolutely spot on. Even on low speeds the steering was was remarkably filled with information. This S is the best car I have ever driven! Period!

PRO

 Sublime handling

Great proportions

More involving than a 911

Surprisingly practical

CON

Noisy cabin

Dreary for long commute

SPECIFICATION

2.9-litre flat-6
265hp 300Nm
7-speed PDK
0-100 km/h: 5.7s (5.5s on Sport Plus)
Top speed: 260 km/h

From RM 500,000

That wasn't all. The heart of the Cayman S, a 3.4-litre flat-6 was a joy to listen to. Instead of the Bose sound system, simply downshift a gear or two gears. My only complaint would be the stupid steering wheel with gear switches. To downshift, you have to pull the lever on either side of the steering, pull to upshift. I find this extremely annoying because I still got it wrong after doing some practise. It is best to option for the SportDesign steering wheel equipped with proper paddle shifters. Left for down and right for up. No confusion.

I find the Cayman S a car that can race off almost anyone in the streets of KL and a strict two-seater to keep uninvited guests out. Let's not forget, it is more practical than most hatchbacks with 410 litres of boot space in total. To me, boot space is just an added bonus because they are left empty for almost all the time. Lastly, if the world were to end in 2012, life would be meaningless for not having ever driven a Porsche Cayman S.

​[Cayman]

Having driven a Cayman S, it sparked me to think that why not a Cayman equipped with Sports Chrono? For a start, acceleration isn't too bad as it does 0-100 in 5.5 seconds versus 5.1 seconds on the S. Plus the road tax for the 2.9L Cayman is 1863 ringgit opposed to 4092 ringgit for the 3.4L S. Obviously it'll sip less fuel but that's irrelevant as it differs only by 0.9 mpg on a combined cycle. Needing to only pay less than half the tax for similar performance does make the entry model look like quite the bargain. Let's be honest, these cars would spend more time in the garage than on the road so the 2.9 does look like exceptional value.

When I got into the Cayman, it is indeed just like an S until I turn to ignite. I must say the 2.9-litre block sounds noticeably quieter than the one in a Cayman S. It failed to even impress the humble gardener. The salesperson suggests taking it for a spin to see what's what. First thing I noticed was that the steering wheel was strangely heavy but that might be due to not having sufficient air in the tyres so I'll ignore that. Again, the flat-6 in base Cayman is muted compare to the S but by no means quiet. Back when I was in the Cayman S, it did really feel like it did 5.1 seconds but in this 2.9L Cayman, it did feel somewhat slower than claimed. I expect that the Cayman to be torquier than the S on the lower band but to really keep it going, you really have to rev the engine.

Porsche's Launch Control system is the easiest to engage; activate Sport Plus, keep one feet on brake while the other on throttle and release the brakes when you wish to go. Since the Cayman was painted in red, it does get people looking. Furthermore the ride quality is by no surprise better on 18-inch wheels.

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