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First look: Porsche Cayman uncovered!

Super-coupe: Porsche says Cayman sets new dynamic benchmarks.

Porsche reveals its Boxter-based Cayman coupe ahead of its Frankfurt show debut

24 May 2005

PORSCHE has officially exposed one of the company’s worst-kept secrets by revealing pictures and basic details of the groundbreaking new Cayman coupe that’s due on sale here in early 2006.

As expected, the compact hard-top two-door will be priced and positioned between Boxster S and Porsche’s flagship 911 coupe, meaning a pricetag upwards of $150,000.

Though derived from the German sportscar brand’s pivotally successful Boxster convertible, Cayman – a name already revealed by Porsche for its C7-codenamed coupe - represents a third sportscar model line for the famed Zuffenhausen marque.

It will join the new 997-series 911 coupe launched here in October 2004 (opening with the $195,225 Carrera 2) and the second-generation 987-series Boxster that arrived in Australia in February (comprising Porsche’s entry-level $107,400 2.7 Boxster and the $132,500 3.2 Boxster S).

However, a new, mid-mounted 217kW 3.4-litre six-cylinder boxer (which, in terms of output and capacity, also falls between the 911’s 239kW 3.6 and the up-spec Boxster’s 206kW 3.2-litre boxer), could allow the compact Cayman coupe to achieve even greater dynamic heights than Porsche’s top-shelf, rear-engined 911.

In fact, despite the risk of undermining its iconic 911, Porsche claims the rear-drive Cayman’s aluminium chassis "sets a benchmark in the area of driving dynamics and active driving safety".

So far revealed only in Cayman S form, indicating a less powerful (read: cheaper) base model may follow, the new two-seater will go on sale in Europe on November 26, two months after its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show.

In manual form, Porsche claims Cayman sprints to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds (a tenth quicker than Boxster S), on its way to a top speed of 275km/h – 7km/h faster than Boxster S.

Utilising Porsche’s VarioCam Plus intake camshaft and valve timing control system, previously reserved for use in the 911, the Cayman 3.4 delivers 340Nm of torque between 4400 and 6000rpm. Boxster S produces 320Nm at 4700rpm.

Along with a Boxster-derived six-speed manual will be the option of Porsche’s familiar five-speed Tiptronic S auto with steering wheel shift buttons, scotching rumours that Cayman would be equipped with a VW/Audi-style double-clutch transmission. The semi-auto does, however, feature a new electronic and hydraulic control unit.

25 center imageThe wide-track Cayman S will come standard with unique 18-inch alloy wheels and Porsche Stability Management (PSM), with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) – which also lowers ride height by 10mm - available as an option.

Visually differentiated from Boxster by its fixed roof and from 911 by its side intake gills, Cayman presents a new face featuring oval-shaped main headlights and foglights integrated into the outboard air inlets.

While the roof profile is accentuated, from the rear Cayman’s styling is dominated by a large, upward-opening tailgate, twin central exhaust outlets and an automatically extending wing.

Behind this and ahead of the engine and cabin resides 260 litres of luggage space with numerous storage compartments, which combines with 150 litres of cargo area under the bonnet.

* Also this week, Porsche announced it will use the September Frankfurt show to outline a plan to build a hybrid version of its Cayenne luxury SUV, following increasing fuel prices and a 27 per cent sales drop this year in the US, its largest market. While it won’t present a hybrid Cayenne concept in Frankfurt, Porsche says it is in talks with a number of potential partners to produce a hybrid version of its next-generation Cayenne, due around 2008/2009.

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