1 Feb 2006
TAKE the second-generation version of Porsche’s super-popular Boxster roadster.
Then add a fixed roof and a more powerful six-cylinder boxer engine.
And, hey presto, the iconic German sport carmaker has produced one of the most exhilarating and best-value performance coupes ever available.
It wasn’t that simple of course, as there were critical design and technical issues to be resolved. Plus, serious marketing concerns had to be considered, such as how much power to give a Boxster-based coupe, what to call it and what price to put on it.
Described as a Boxster derivative rather than a fourth model line, the Cayman S offers a 50 per cent stiffer body than the open-topped, second-generation 987 Boxster upon which it’s based.
Porsche claims Cayman "sets a benchmark in the area of driving dynamics and active driving safety".
While the 3.4-litre boxer six in the Cayman S musters 217kW from its 3.4-litre boxer six at 6250rpm plus 340Nm of torque from 4400rpm – enough to propel it to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 275km/h – a 206kW 3.2-litre boxer pushes the Boxster S to 100km/h in a claimed 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 268km/h.
The Cayman S constitutes a compact two-seater coupe that will vie for sales with the Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW’s forthcoming Z4 coupe.
Featuring separate fog lights and the Boxster’s trademark side air inlets, Cayman’s hallmark is a tapered rear-end that features an 1160 x 900mm rear hatch.
Apart from increased luggage capacity of 410 litres (260 beneath the tailgate, with a further 150 litres available up front), Porsche says the result is a body that sets new torsional rigidity benchmarks for the sports coupe segment, which at 31,500 Nm/degree is almost as stiff as the 911.
Featuring the Boxster’s variable power steering system with just 2.62 turns lock-to-lock, riding on 18-inch wheels and set-up with firmer springs, dampers and (front) anti-roll bars than Boxster S, Cayman S comes standard with Porsche Stability Management (PSM) and 318mm front and 299mm rear brake discs.
Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM, which lowers the car by 10mm), 350mm Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) and four 19-inch wheel types are available as options.
When it was new