Driven: Track Tested – 2013 Porsche Cayman – A Controlled Cornering Machine
This week I had the opportunity to test drive the 2013 Porsche Cayman at the Porsche Experience Centre, Silverstone – if only all weeks were this good! Porsche’s Experience Centre has a selection of purpose-built circuits to develop and demonstrate the capabilities of Porsche’s sports cars. It is the only one of its kind in the world, upon purchasing their new car customers are invited to go there and learn how to handle it in a safe environment. We will be discussing the Experience Centre in more details in a separate article so keep an eye out for it.
I have always been slightly confused about the positioning of the Cayman, I’ve never truly understood exactly where it sat between the Boxster and the 911, and whether it really stood out in the middle with its own independence. However after 90 minutes behind the wheel of the 2013 Porsche Cayman my question had been answered! The Cayman is a sports car in its own right.
The model we tested was the 2.7-litre, 275bhp, manual gearbox model, starting at £39,694, which is £9,089 cheaper than the 3.4 Cayman S which has an additional 50bhp and tops out at 175mph.
The Cayman Recipe
So what are the ingredients in the Cayman recipe, it’s a mid-engined, 2.7-litre, rear wheel drive, 6 speed sports car which weighs 1,310Kgs and gets from 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds, with a top speed of 165mph. Let’s be honest, we are never going to win top trumps with these kind of numbers.We are frequently persuaded that we need enormous performance statistics to build a great sports car, but Porsche haven’t conformed to this – the Cayman isn’t about top trumps it’s all about the driving experience and that is where they have got things nailed.
Let me tell you about the driving experience, being mid-engined you are sitting with your spine about a foot away from the engine, you can almost feel the mechanical movements of pistons and valves going on in the background, you’re literally that close and I love it! Being so local to the engine gives you the benefit of hearing that addictive induction noise when you’re hammering the throttle. The Cayman now feels very mature, very well planted and has lots of mechanical grip, when the mechanical grip runs out there is an array of acronyms to keep the car with the shiny side up, Porsche Active Suspension Management(PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) and Sport Chrono Package with dynamic transmission mounts (SCP) are all there to keep the Cayman safely on the road. Similar to most new performance cars, it now uses electronic steering, moving away from the hydraulic steering we know from the previous model. However I can’t complain about the lack of feel experienced on Porsche’s handling circuit, the feel and response of the steering is lightning fast and crystal clear, in fact the Cayman’s turn in was exceptional, the car pulls itself into any apex with great ease, which gives the driver a great sense of achievement kissing the kerbs with precision at every corner.
The Cayman now has a very self-distinguishing look separate from both the Boxster and the 911, it looks brilliant! From any angle the car has a truly distinctive appearance and as well as having a sports car that is great to drive it also looks great on the road or at the track.
So what are my thoughts after my hour and half in the driving seat of the Cayman, I now recognise exactly where it fits in and there is no need for sibling rivalry. I don’t believe it should be compared to its little sister or older brother – no parent has a favourite child, they are all special in their own ways.
It’s sharp, It’s alive!
The Cayman stands out from everything else in its class, it’s alive, it’s sharp, it has all the power you need on any UK roads and if you disagree then there is still the Cayman S. The great thing about the Cayman is alongside the performance it gives you, it also has everything you need to keep in control, the steering is accurate and responsive and the brakes are great as standard. For those wanting ultimate stopping power there is also the option to upgrade to ceramic composite brakes, which perform really well on the track.
The Cayman is tremendous fun to drive. Throughout my test drive I learnt that the Cayman is a fantastic driver focused and rewarding sports car. The only problem I can see is that with it being a two seater you can only take one person with you at a time to enjoy the experience.
Author: Paul Hadley