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LA show: Porsche turns out R-rated Cayman

Fast buck: The Cayman R will be the most expensive Cayman model available in Australia but also the quickest.

Lightweight, higher-performance Cayman R due here in March, priced from $165,000

Porsche logo18 Nov 2010

By TERRY MARTIN

PORSCHE has unveiled a higher-performance and slightly stripped-out version of its Cayman coupe, dubbed the R, at the Los Angeles auto show this week ahead of its arrival in Australia late in the first quarter of 2011, priced from $165,000.

With performance paramount and the loss of some equipment part of the sacrifice, the Cayman R will be the most expensive Cayman model available in Australia but also the quickest and, Porsche claims, even better in terms of driving dynamics and agility.

Sitting above the Cayman S, which is priced from $147,500 (plus on-road costs), the R-rated coupe should also herald the first of a number of new R-spec models across the Porsche range, which includes the Boxster, 911, Cayenne and Panamera – and will expand further in the next couple of years to include the Cajun mid-sized SUV.

The Cayman R benefits from unique lightweight components, specific chassis tweaks and an extra 8kW of power, bringing the maximum output of its mid-mounted 3.4-litre direct-injection six-cylinder boxer engine to 243kW.

Peak torque remains at 270Nm, and the aspiration is still natural, with Porsche continuing to resist the temptation to introduce forced induction on Cayman – at least for the time being.

Specific Australian specifications for the Cayman R are still to be confirmed, but the weight savings will not be as large as in overseas markets with Porsche Cars Australia unprepared to lose “key features” such as climate-control air-conditioning and the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system incorporating radio, six-disc CD changer, Bluetooth and iPod functionality and satellite-navigation.

25 center imageAs a result, the Australian-spec Cayman R will be only around 40kg lighter than the Cayman S sold here, with Porsche advising that weight reductions come predominantly from the use of aluminium doors, lightweight sports bucket seats, super-lightweight silver-painted 19-inch alloy wheels (the complete rim set is said to weigh less than 40kg) and “other small but critical weight-saving measures”.

That should see the Cayman R sold here tipping the scales at around 1310kg, compared to the 55kg saving achieved in overseas models.

Tipping the scales at 1295kg when using the standard six-speed manual gearbox, Porsche claims the overseas R version can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 5.0 seconds, shaving two tenths of a second off the time achieved in the Cayman S.

With the optional PDK double-clutch gearbox – which will be a $5700 option in Australia – the overseas-spec Cayman R weighs in at 1320kg and sends the vehicle to 100 clicks from rest in 4.9 seconds, or 4.7 when the optional Sport Chrono Package with launch control is fitted.

The manual R can also now hit 160km/h in 10.7 seconds (PDK: 10.5, with Sport Chrono down to 10.2), which is 0.7 seconds quicker than the S, while top speed increases 5km/h to 282km/h on the manual and 280km/h with the PDK.

Fuel consumption increases slightly despite the weight savings, with the combined-cycle figure now 0.1L/100km thirstier – 9.7L/100km for the manual and 9.3L/100km for the PDK.

Porsche says ‘R’ stands for responsive, refined and racy. The chassis sits 20mm lower and the bodywork has a distinctive fixed rear spoiler (replacing the current retractable wing) and racing-inspired black highlights, including black-framed headlights and black exterior mirrors.

Depending on the body colour, a black or silver ‘PORSCHE’ decal is also attached on the side of the R model.

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