The new generation of the Porsche Cayman, the German car manufacturer’s most affordable sports coupe, has made its international debut.
Porsche refers to this Cayman as the third generation, though technically the second iteration was only a major update.
The latest Cayman is released seven years after the original was launched as a hardtop twin to the Boxster convertible that led Porsche to financial recovery in the 1990s.
The new Porsche Cayman, which reaches Australia in late April, shares about half of its parts with the Boxster that went on sale locally in early 2012.
Those parts include some bodywork, though of course not the roof and rear bodywork that now produce a more harmonious-looking coupe than the previous Cayman.
Proportions also adjust for a sports car that grows in size.
The length of the Porsche Cayman has extended 33m to 4380, but overhangs are reduced while the wheelbase – the gap between the front and rear axles – stretches by 60mm.
The windscreen also moves forward by 100mm.
Ride height is reduced by 10mm (11mm for the S variant) and front and rear tracks widen to make the Cayman sit lower to the ground and occupy a larger footprint.
The body is 40 per cent stiffer than its predecessor though with a the body also moving from all-steel to incorporate 44 per cent aluminium, the entry-level Cayman weighs 20kg less than before and the sportier S sheds 30kg.
Engines mirror those in the Boxster though with extra power: a 2.7-litre flat six-cylinder that loses 200cc but gains direct injection and produces 202kW and 290Nm, and a 3.4-litre flat six with 239kW and 370Nm that is virtually identical to the one used in the base 911.
Both engines feature a 7800rpm redline, develop their peak power at 7400rpm, and send power to the rear wheels through either a standard six-speed manual gearbox or optional seven-speed ‘PDK’ dual-clutch auto.
The base Porsche Cayman accelerates from 0-100km/h in a time that ranges between 5.7 and 5.4 seconds depending on transmission and whether an optional Sports Chrono package that brings a launch control system is purchased.
The PDK gearbox uses half a litre less of fuel per 100km compared with the manual – 7.7L/100km v 8.2L/100km.
The Porsche Cayman S makes notable gains in the benchmark sprint, varying from 5.0 to 4.7 seconds. Its top speed is also superior: 283km/h v 266km/h.
Fuel consumption is higher, at 8.0L/100km for the PDK or 8.8L/100km for the manual.
Porsche says the new Cayman is 11 seconds faster – 7 minutes 55 seconds – around Germany’s Nurburgring circuit, the famous 21km track that’s considered an industry benchmark for dynamic testing.
New features for the Cayman include adaptive cruise control, optional Burmester audio system, optional keyless entry and start, and a ‘coasting’ function that can save fuel by putting the engine into neutral in certain scenarios.
Also additional is a torque vectoring system that will brake the inside rear wheel to provide the Cayman with extra cornering stability.
The six-speed manual now features an auto-blipping function if the Sport Chrono Package option is ticked.
Practicality improves, with an extra 50 litres of capacity, with a total of 425L divided by the 150L front compartment and 275L rear compartment.
The Porsche Cayman starts at $115,500 - $400 higher than before – and the Cayman S costs from $150,400, an increase of $2900.
PDK is a $5300 option.
Porsche Australia has yet to confirm final specifications for local models.
The Cayman again goes against the industry trend by costing more than its convertible twin. The Cayman starts $8500 than the entry-level Boxster, and there’s a $17,100 gap between the Boxster S and Cayman S.
As the sportier half of the pair, however, the Cayman gets extra performance and some additional features.
Click to read a review of the new Porsche Cayman.