Less really is more with the new entry-level Porsche Cayman. Despite being fitted with a smaller engine than its predecessor, the two-seater coupe is actually faster and more efficient than ever.
The on-paper figures certainly look impressive: the new 2.7-litre flat-six engine produces 271bhp, which is 10bhp more than the old 2.9-litre car, while around 30kg has been slashed from the latest model’s kerbweight.
As a result, the Cayman will cover 0-62mph in only 5.7 seconds, yet return a claimed 34.4mpg at the pumps. Alternatively, you can go for the excellent PDK automatic gearbox, which cuts the sprint time by a tenth of a second and improves fuel economy to 36.7mpg.
From behind the wheel, the car doesn’t feel as muscular at low speeds as the range-topping S model we drove earlier this month. But once the revs climb above 4,000rpm, it accelerates strongly to the 7,400rpm red line.
Our test car was also fitted with the £1,473 optional twin-exit sports exhaust. This enhances the engine’s trademark flat-six bark when you press the button on the centre console, plus delivers a series of enjoyable pops and bangs when you lift off the throttle.
Thanks to its lower kerbweight and wider stance, the Cayman is every bit as brilliant as the S through corners. The beautifully weighted steering allows you to place the car accurately, the grip on offer is incredible and the ride is stiff, but never uncomfortable.
With a little less power than the S, the standard Cayman feels a little easier to exploit at its limits, too. There’s less of a tendency for the back to kick out if you get a bit exuberant with the throttle through bends.
Elsewhere, the powerful brakes are guaranteed to deliver fade-free stopping power, while the six-speed manual box’s action is so slick you’ll find yourself changing gear just for the fun of it.
Externally there’s little to distinguish the Cayman from the more expensive S – the oval centre-exit exhaust and smaller 18-inch alloys are the biggest clues. It’s a similar story inside, where there’s the same classy, comfortable cabin – although it could do with more standard kit.