The Porsche Cayman began its life several years ago and immediately threatened the position of the Carrera as Porsche’s top dog in performance. No one quite expected this while the car was in development, but once it hit the market the buzz was everywhere. The Cayman has undergone some major changes throughout it’s run and 2011 adds several previously unavailable features.
As an entry level model for Porsche, the base Cayman still has plenty to offer. It is considered a luxury-sports car and therefore brings strong performance and craftsmanship to the table. Nestled nicely in between a Boxster and a base 911, this entry level Cayman fills what would otherwise be a void in the portfolio. Most Cayman buyers enjoy the Boxster size and efficiency, but also want the torsional rigidity and tighter handling provided by hardtop 911 models. Starting at $51,900 for a manual transmission, this Porsche can give you the best of both worlds.
Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Porsche Cayman.
The sculpted body of the Cayman remains highly unchanged this year and we don’t think anyone is complaining about that. The car is well proportioned with powerful lines and one of the most well integrated hatch back designs on the market. It baffles us how Porsche was able to make the rear-end of this car so beautiful and then botch the Panamera’s so badly.
Redesigned halogen headlights and changed rear taillights highlight the main exterior modifications in conjunction with slightly freshened bumpers front and rear. One other addition for 2011 will be standard heated exterior mirrors, steering wheel, and seats. For those driving their Cayman to work in the snow, this will be greatly appreciated, but for most of its customer base, we fail to see the necessity. Four piston calipers and 17-in wheels remain the rolling stock and brake setup for the base Cayman, and manage to look classy rather than cheap. In the coming years, expect a full redesign for Porsche and its entry level sports car, but until then the Cayman is more than on par with its competition.
The way we enter the Cayman may be the biggest change this year with Porsche’s introduction of the new key fob. Inside is a transponder acting as an engine immobilizer. The vehicle can also be fitted with radar-based interior surveillance and tracking. Green tint added to the windows allows the interior to stay cooler on a warm day. This technology is not new, but seems to fit nicely in Porsche’s more efficient and eco-friendly business model.
For those who want to really go about driving this Porsche on some winding back roads will certainly want to upgrade to the adaptive sport seats. These will help keep our butts planted firmly to the Porsche as we reach higher speeds and g-forces. The Cayman comes standard with an array of power features, leather seats, and radio. Options include a Bose surround sound system, Porsche’s Communication Management (PCM) system, fully automatic climate control, park assist, and ventilated seats. If you are a buyer on a budget than be careful with how many options you select; Porsche is notorious for having some of the most expensive options on the market and enough of them to make your head spin.
Being a mid-engine car, the Cayman features two trunks for a total of just over 14 cubic feet of luggage space. Passenger safety is also of importance to Porsche and has included front and side curtain airbags. It also features a side impact damage prevention system built into the frame of the car. These systems not only help in an emergency, but can further increase the stiffness of the car.
The rear-wheel drive Cayman features impressive performance figures for a car with such a small power plant. By keeping the weight down and stiffening up the structure of the Boxster with the hardtop, engineers have been able to manage 5.5 second 0-60 mph runs in the base Cayman. The engine is a horizontally opposed (H) 6-cylinder. At just 2.9-liters the engine produces 265hp at 7,200 rpm and 221 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. Efficiency is increased through the use of dry-sump lubrication. In this system, a fuel pump has to work less in order to provide the engine with a constant supply of oil, which in turn benefits fuel consumption and power.
The transmission that comes with the base car is decidedly old-school sports car – the short throw 6-speed manual is standard on all Cayman models. It will help the money conscious once again here by saving nearly $4,000 over the PDK transmission and losing only a few tenths of a second to 60 mph. However, the PDK transmission does provide a boost to fuel economy over the manual.
Few manufacturers can offer such a precise division between luxury and sport as Porsche is able to with the Cayman. The Mercedes SLK line is a close comparison by bringing timeless Mercedes luxury and a performance edge. The SLK offers a smaller 1.8-liter engine than the Porsche for increased economy, but the larger V6 model that is also available brings the SLK from 0-60 mph only 1/10 of a second faster than a 6-cylinder Cayman.
The base model provides everything that a sports car enthusiast wants while also being a competent daily driver.
A more performance oriented sports car is the Chevrolet Corvette. It will give you a big V8 and 6-speed manual gearbox in stock form and have a larger single trunk than combined in the Cayman. The Corvette is lacking in luxury and refinement when compared to the Porsche, but does provide a good bang for your buck. In the end it is hard to compare other models to the Cayman because of the way it is able to perform strongly while remaining efficient and luxurious. The base model provides everything that a sports car enthusiast wants while also being a competent daily driver. One can only imagine that if Porsche engineers took the handcuffs off than this model could blow the doors off of a 911 Carrera.