IS the Porsche Cayman S as good as or, whisper this, even better than the evergreen 911? Can it really offer the magic of its bigger brother for a pricetag which is £20,000 cheaper?
The answer to both questions is no, but that doesn’t mean the Cayman S doesn’t warrant serious consideration if your managing director wants a top-notch sports car but hasn’t quite got the funds to stretch to £65,000 for a Carrera.
For a basic price of £44,328 Porsche will supply you with a seriously rapid and amazingly well-balanced sports coupe which offers much of the magic of a 911 for much less money.
I say ‘basic’ because I don’t believe a standard Porsche has ever left the Zuffenhausen factory – the firm has an extensive list of options which allows plenty of scope for personalisation. But the same applies to a 911, so that price gulf should remain fairly constant.
Using the Boxster S as its base, Porsche has added a coupe roof and a slightly uprated flax-six engine to create the Cayman S. With 295bhp it is seriously quick – top speed is in excess of 170mph and 0-62mph takes just 5.4 seconds.
But bare figures can’t convey just how good the Cayman S is to drive. Everything is so beautifully balanced and confidence inspiring that it makes hard driving seem natural to most levels of driver.
That boxer engine sitting behind you sounds glorious, offering a meaty bark as the revs rise, while the six-speed manual gearbox has one of the slickest shifts around.
But it’s the chassis which stands out, delivering masses of grip and providing such a solid stance that fast direction changes and hard cornering feel utterly composed.
And this is why it’s not quite as good as a 911. Settle in behind the wheel of a Carrera and it feels like an event, and its rear-mounted engine means you have to think a little more about driving than in the Cayman.
The Cayman S is special, but the 911 remains magical.
However, there are some more prosaic benefits to the Cayman S in company car terms – it retains nearly half of its price new after three years and 60,000 miles and it will cost 64ppm to run over the same period – slightly less than an Audi A6 Avant 3.2 FSI Quattro. That’s not bad for a 170mph sports car.
A FANTASTIC driving machine which offers most of the thrills of a 911 for £20,000 less. And just because it’s a Porsche doesn’t mean it will cost a fortune to run.
Max power (bhp/rpm): 295/6,250
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 251/4,400
Max speed (mph): 171
0-62mph (secs): 5.4
Fuel consumption (mpg): 26.6
CO2 emissions (g/km): 254
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £44,328