Review: Porsche Cayman S 2013

Don't mistake the new Cayman S for a dead log... it'll easily gobble up huge chunks of any given stretch of tarmac

We’re not ashamed to admit we enjoy the new Boxster S (well, current Boxster S, by the time you read this) immensely, especially since the latest iteration has now been endowed with decidedly sportier looks to accentuate its inherent ahem, sportiness – an aspect of its character that was never in question, well at least to the driving enthusiasts who were prepared to look beyond the earlier model's 'softer' styling and positioning in the brand's hierarchy. The Boxster S impressed many with its competent blend of agility and entertainment value that could be enjoyed without recourse to highly illegal speeds, which augured well for the Cayman S, which was expected to offer even greater rigidity due to its fixed-roof form.

Even then, we were floored when we discovered just how much more rigid the two-seater Cayman was to be: its impressive 42,000 Nm/° torsional rigidity surpasses that of the 991 Coupe's 30,400Nm/º, but it never seems overly stiff for daily-road use and really comes into its own on a perfectly paved circuit. Like the Boxster S, the Cayman S features the integrated boot spoiler that takes the form of a horizontal 'blade' across the car's curvy derrière when not deployed; unlike the Boxster S, the spoiler on the Cayman S is higher and steeper. For cross-country touring purposes, there's a decent amount of storage space for the two occupants' belongings – since this is mid-engined, there are bins in front and behind – that tallies up to 425-litres when loaded to the roof.

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The new models have longer wheelbases but the overhangs are shorter

The new model boasts a longer wheelbase and wider track widths, but also rides lower for a more purposeful, athletic appearance. Despite growing some 33mm in overall length, Porsche has shortened the Cayman S's overhangs by 26mm, which helps in placing the car more accurately; visually from the driver's position, the ends of the front fenders and rear haunches are exactly where the wheels are.


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The integrated boot spoiler here differs from the one in the Boxster S, being both higher and steeper

Instead of going the way of the horsepower arms race, Porsche has adopted a more holistic approach to enhancing the performance and balance of the Cayman S with the use of mixed aluminum and steel construction. In fact, lightweight metals are used wherever possible, such as, die-cast aluminum, aluminum sheet, magnesium and high-strength steels, but rigidity is often boosted in the process. Approximately 44 per cent of the new Cayman body-in-white consists of aluminum, which includes front body, floor assembly and rear body, doors, as well as the front and rear lids. The weight-savings of the new aluminum rear-lid is particularly impressive since it tips the scale at just 6.6kg – half the weight of the previous part – but boasts  close to a 150 per cent increase in static torsional rigidity. Furthermore, the downforce on the latest iteration is even more pronounced compared to its predecessor, as aerodynamic lift on both axles has been reduced by up to 25 per cent, which endows it with a surefooted steadiness on the move.

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The Cayman S comes in a comfort package in its basic configuration; carbonfiber seats and such are cost-options

As before, the carbonfiber sports bucket seats are a cost-option, as is the sports exhaust and sports steering wheel – all of which we feel are essential for the maximum enjoyment of the car. Needless to say, we tested the Singapore model so the standard transmission available is the PDK dual-clutch, although a stick-shift is also available as a no-cost option. To cater to changing tastes and markets, Porsche offers a range of personalization options for the Cayman S, including an extensive color-coding palette and fully keyless operation. Despite its proportions, there is nevertheless an intimacy to the Cayman S that never manifests itself as claustrophobia; the car can be driven with the same kind of confidence that typically accompanies smaller vehicles.

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Porsche offers a full suit of personalization, including color-coding options


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With 325bhp at 7400rpm, you'll want to keep track of the Gs

The flat-six engine displaces 3436cc, which translates to 325bhp and 370Nm. The 100km/h sprint is dispatched in a little over 4.5 seconds and top speed is rated at 281km/h. Cars like the Cayman and Boxster aren't about their straight-line prowess but the sheer thrill that accompanies perfectly stringing together a series of corners, especially since these cars are the sort that make the enthusiastic driver actively seek out the most convoluted routes to the end destination! With the Sports Exhaust engaged, the Cayman S is a car you'll enjoy wringing every last rpm out of, as it emits an appealing mechanical overture from its dual tail-pipes.

Like the Boxster S, there's an innate balance to the car that makes tossing it around such a joy, yet it can be driven precisely for maximum track attack times. Flogged hard, the Cayman S can be driven accurately and cleanly but there's a frisky aspect to its personality it is also very keen to show-off. The telepathic partnership between man and machine allows drivers of different abilities to really enjoy the car. Even when you find yourself overcooking it mid-corner, the Cayman S is mostly benign and never spits you into the bushes or worse, off the edge of a cliff, in anger. Besides, the steering is always feel-some and sufficiently communicative so that there's seldom any question as to what the car's grip levels are up to.

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The Cayman S is built more for winding country roads than the track so there is no competition with the 911

Despite the prowess of the Cayman S, there is often more emphasis on its bigger sibling the iconic 911, due to the Cayman's positioning in the Porsche scheme of things... The unenlightened tend to regard it as an 'entry-level' Porsche but then it all depends on your perspective in car ownership: more show or more go? After all, some critics are of the impression that if you can't confidently drive a 911 with all the traction control systems disabled on a race-track to play with all that weight-shift goodness (due to the 911's rear-engine rear-drive configuration), you haven't really driven a 911...

We think it is no coincidence that most Cayman/Boxster or even last generation's Cayman R/Boxster Spyder owners tend to be driving enthusiasts, who appreciate the agile package of these models. They invariably spend more time on small winding roads than the race-track and are consequently in search of something that is compact and enjoyable, yet unlikely to bite their heads off if one happens to miss a beat while going fast on an unfamiliar stretch of road. If anything, the Cayman's bite is certainly worse than its bark...

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Technical Specifications

  • Model: Porsche Cayman S PDK
  • Agent: Porsche Centre Singapore, tel: +65-6472-4433
  • Engine: 3436cc, 24-valves, flat-6
  • Power @ rpm: 325bhp @ 7400rpm
  • Torque @ rpm: 370Nm @ 4500-5800rpm
  • 0-100km/h: 4.7 seconds (PDK + Sport Plus)
  • Top speed: 281km/h
  • Transmission: 7-Speed PDK

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