Porsche Cayman S

6 Dec, 2008 12:30pm James Disdale

German firm tweaks its class-leading coupe in an attempt to make the best even better.


Incredibly, Porsche has improved an already superb model. The Cayman’s new engine is a masterpiece, and few cars are as involving to drive. The PDK box isn’t such a success, as its counter-intuitive controls and clunky nature spoil the experience. Stick with the six-speed manual and get the optional diff, and you save £1,920 – and have not only one of the world’s finest sports cars, but also the best Porsche!

Is it possible to improve on perfection? Porsche thinks so. Having reworked the drop-top Boxster (Issue 1,040), the firm has now given its Cayman coupé a mid-life refresh.

You’ll have trouble spotting the changes from the outside, though, as restyled front and rear lamps are the only clues. Inside, there is even less to mark it out, apart from a new optional touchscreen sat-nav.

Engineers have focused on the mechanicals instead. The range-topping Cayman S gets a fresh 3.4-litre flat-six with direct fuel injection and 20bhp more power, at 315bhp. For the first time, the two-seater can be had with the quick-shifting seven-speed PDK twin-clutch gearbox, too – although it still gets the confusing steering buttons found on other models.

Performance from the tuneful powerplant is impressive, as is its 30.7mpg fuel economy.

On the road, the Cayman cements its status as one of the world’s finest-handling cars. Grip is strong, while the direct steering and mid-engined layout combine to give incredible agility.

Better still, a £727 optional limited slip differential can be added for better traction out of bends. All this for about £20,000 less than an entry-level 911.

Rival: BMW M3 Coupé
The M3 packs a bigger, 414bhp V8 punch than the Porsche, and has a practical four-seater layout. But it’s not as involving to drive as the Cayman, and costs more.

Key specs

* Price: £44,108
* Engine: 3.4 flat-six, 315bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed man/ seven-speed automated, rwd
* 0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
* Top speed: 171mph
* Econ/CO2: 30.7mpg/221g/km
* Standard equipment: Climate control, 18-inch alloys, LED lights, CD, automatic hill hold
* On sale: February