BEHIND THE WHEEL: Porsche Cayman
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 3, 2012
In the quest to look for a mint 997 has made me think, 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 one Saturday, I was presented with 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 hard in the bends, the Cayman was just so balanced despite screeching tires. The chassis' exceptionally talented and steering feel is absolutely spot on. Even at low speeds the steering was remarkably filled with information. The 987S is the best car I have ever driven!
0-100 km/h: 5.1s (4.9s on Sport Plus)
Top speed: 277 km/h
From RM 600,000
The heart of the Cayman S, a 3.4-litre flat-6 is a joy to listen to. Instead of having the optional Bose sound system, simply downshift a gear or two gears. My only complaint would be the stupid gear switches on steering wheel. To downshift, you have to pull the lever on either side and push to upshift. I find this extremely annoying because I still got it wrong after some practice. It is the best to option for the SportDesign steering wheel equipped with normal paddle shifters. Left for down and right for up, no confusion then.
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 most of the time. Lastly, if the world were to end in 2012, life would be meaningless for not having ever driven a car this good.
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 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 quite a 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.
0-100 km/h: 5.7s (5.5s on Sport Plus)
Top speed: 265 km/h
From RM 500,000
When I got into the Cayman, everything's identical to 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 had failed to even impress an accountant. The salesperson suggests taking it for a spin to see what's lacking. First thing I noticed was that the steering wheel was strangely heavy but that might be due to not having sufficient air in its tyres so I'll give that a pass.
Again, the flat-6 in base Cayman is muted compared 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 more people looking. It is also noteworthy where the ride quality is marginally better on 18-inch wheels.