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Porsche Cayman

981 Cayman

Porsche logo1 Jun 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

In mid-2013 Porsche introduced a longer, lower, and yet lighter iteration of its mid-engined Cayman sports coupe.

Related to the latest 911, the Cayman’s party trick is that it is significantly bigger and 40 per cent torsionally more rigid, yet up to 30kg lighter than before for about a 15 per cent decrease in fuel consumption and emissions from more powerful (if not torquier) engines.

Larger wheels fill the completely redesigned body, which differs from the Boxster in having changes in the way the bumpers, front air-intake, front fog lights, rear diffuser, and pop-up spoiler look and/or operate.

The vehicle is 30mm longer overall, but with a cut in front overhang, the wheelbase has seen a considerable 60mm stretch, for a sizeable leap in cabin space for the two occupants inside.

Aluminium is utilised more than before, accounting for around 44 per cent of overall construction.

A total of 425 litres of storage space (versus 280 litres in the Boxster) makes for a 15-litre improvement over the last Cayman.

With the engine mounted just back of centre amidships, the 981’s yaw, roll and pitch axis virtually intersect right where it is at, Porsche says. The front to rear weight balance ratio is 46:54.

Suspension continues to be MacPherson struts all round, but with lighter components where necessary, and with wishbones helping support the rear axle, while larger discs form a revamped brake system have been introduced.

But the really big news is the adoption of electric rack and pinion steering, which contributes strongly to the Cayman’s overall efficiency gains.

The all-new Euro-V rated 2.7-litre direct injection flat six-cylinder aluminium engine (0.2-litres down from before) produces 202kW of power at 7400rpm and 290Nm of torque between 4500rpm and 6500rpm, for a power output per litre of 74.6kW.

Driving the rear wheels is a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission – which now offers a ‘sailing’ function which allows the engine to run in neutral when coasting along to save fuel.

Meanwhile, the Cayman S uses a revised version of its predecessor’s direct-injection 3.4-litre flat six unit, delivering 239kW at 7400rpm and 370Nm from 4500rpm to 5800rpm, for a 69.6kW/L output, 5.0s 0-100km/h rating (PDK: 4.9s), 283km/h V-max (PDK: 281km/h), and consumption/emissions levels of 8.8L/100km (PDK: 8.0L/100km) and 206g/km (PDK: 188g/km) respectively.

Optioning up the $2428 Sports Chrono Package with special launch-control software shaves around 0.2s off the acceleration times in PDK-equipped cars.

Other elements important to the Cayman’s efficiency hikes include electrical system recuperation that charges the battery during braking and coasting phases, saving on alternator output, while map-controlled thermal management works on the engine and transmission cooling systems in a more systematic manner for more optimised operating temperatures.

A new-generation of option upgrades include PASM active damping for improved control and ride qualities, while the PTV torque vectoring system works on the rear differential lock and brakes for more precise steering response through corners.

The park brake is now electric, a hill-hold function has been introduced in the PDK, while larger wheels (beginning with 18-inch items, ranging up to 20-inch alloys) have been incorporated, with reduced rolling resistance tyres to help cut consumption.

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