The Cayman was originally conceived as a more hardcore driver focussed hard-top variant of the Boxster that sat between it and the 911. But these days, with identical chassis and engine, the 718 is priced below the Boxster. It is now the stepping stone to the Porsche sports car range and that means you can have what is arguably the best handling sports car in the world for a little over what you pay for a Mustang.
The 718 Cayman is so practical to live with everyday. Yes, you have to deal with a lot of eyes as you drive along in a yellow sports car and people wanting to click photos with it when you park it – but that aside, it is a perfect daily. The interiors reek of quality, the ergonomics are spot on and the new infotainment unit sits flush with the dashboard and is intuitive. It is easy to see out of, easy to place on the road, very compact and though it has no rear seats, surprisingly practical with two boots that can swallow a load of stuff. There is good ground clearance, it can tackle most speedbreakers and get on ramps without scraping the front bumper. And the ride quality on the 18 inch wheels, as our test car came shod with, is excellent for a sport car. It is also surprisingly fuel efficient when driven leisurely, giving over 11.5kmpl. Now that we have got the old man information covered, let’s get on with the stuff that makes it a Cayman.
In this new Cayman, the springs are stiffer, the dampers are uprated and the steering is 10 percent quicker, the rear wheels are half an inch wider and the brakes are better. While the lack of a flat six motor (Porsche is going back to it) is depressing, the 2.0litre boxer does a great job of making the car fast. Does it sound as good as the old flat six? No. Does it sound wrong? No. It’s just different with a near 911 like base note, only ever so slightly discordant because of the missing two cylinders. It turns even better as you wind up the revs, and it is not muted that much by the turbo sitting in the path of the exhaust especially if you have opted for the sports exhaust.
It is essentially a 911 3.0litre flat six with two cylinders removed. The smaller engine also lowers the centre of gravity, but isn’t necessarily lighter. The addition of turbocharger with the relevant plumbing and intercooler means, it is heavier than it would have been with a flat six. Yet, it makes up for it with an extra 35bhp and 100Nm more than the old 2.7L engine. The fixed geometry turbocharger in this one (The 2.5 litre S variant, gets a variable geometry turbo)runs up to 20.3psi with peak torque of 380Nm coming in at just 1950rpm and holding that way till 4500rpm. It puts out 296bhp at 6500rpm, which is good for 0-100kmph in 5.1 seconds. The engine revs up to 7500rpm which is quite lofty for a turbocharged unit. You do get caught on some turbo lag lower down in the rev range, but beyond 3000rpm, the engine does its best to feel like a naturally aspirated unit. The strong throttle response is the result of the engine preconditioning the turbo by retarding the ignition and keeping the throttle partially open.
On a winding road, there is very little that can keep up with a well driven Cayman. There is so much stability you can pile on the speed and yet the crisp adjustability can make it exit corners any way you like. You can be careful and concentrate on exit speeds, or be playful with it and get the tail hanging out. The precise steering, tells you exactly what the front wheels are doing and make delicate adjustments all along. The steering wheel is similar to the one on the 918 supercar and the rack is borrowed from the earlier 911 turbo. The Cayman has near perfect 46/54 weight distribution and the wider rear track borrowed from a Cayman GT4. The bigger brakes are borrowed from the earlier S models (the S now gets the ones from the 911) and feel astonishing.
For sheer driving thrills, you cannot possibly beat a Cayman. It hasn’t got a huge lot of power, but you get what you need to explore the fantastic chassis on our roads. You have to wring its neck and the driving experience is unparalleled. This is a car for keen drivers who aren’t caught up on big exhaust notes and straight line speeds. With Ex.showroom prices starting around Rs.85 lakhs, the Cayman is now better value than ever!