The 2014 Porsche Cayman adds power, lightness, and comfort improving on the strengths of the last generation while fixing the weaknesses.
The Porsche Cayman presents an interesting quandary: opt for the iconic but increasingly luxurious and high-tech 911, or save a little cash and get most of the same fun in a smaller, more traditional sports car package?
Like its soft-top sibling, the Boxster, Porsche's Cayman is mid-engined, providing innate balance and maneuverability--as well as compact, svelte good looks. Smooth, flowing curves sweep up from the low nose over the fenders and into the teardrop roof profile. Muscular haunches rise at the rear, wrapping around the simple, tidy tail. Inside, the Cayman is all modern Porsche, with clean lines and smooth surfaces broken only by a plethora of buttons.
Two engines are available in the 2014 Cayman, to match the two primary trim lines. The base Cayman gets a 2.7-liter flat six-cylinder rated at 275 horsepower; the Cayman S gets a 3.4-liter flat six good for 325 horsepower. Six-speed manual and seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmissions are available for both models. When equipped with PDK and the Sport Chrono package, the base Cayman accelerates to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds; the Cayman S makes the run in 4.6 seconds.
Despite the brisk acceleration and strong horsepower outputs, the Cayman is surprisingly fuel efficient. Gas mileage ratings for the base Cayman, per the EPA, are 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 22/32/26 mpg with PDK. The Cayman S rates 20/28/23 mpg with the manual and 21/30/24 with the PDK.
The Cayman handles at least as well as the Boxster and Boxster S it shares its core architecture with; in other words, it's brilliant. The Boxster's electric power steering is among the best in the industry, and the Cayman's is every bit as good. In fact, the only real difference between the Boxster and the Cayman, aside from a little extra power in the Cayman's favor, is the roof.
Available equipment and features are impressive, with a decided bent toward the luxury end of the spectrum, though without some of the more advanced technology and safety items you'll find farther up the Porsche range. Much of the Cayman's feature set is optional, however, meaning the price will rise for each gadget and gizmo you add to the purchase list.
Some of the highlights of the options list include: Porsche Communications Management, or PCM, which offers a seven-inch touchscreen display, CD/DVD/MP3 player, available six-disc CD/DVD changer, iPod/USB connectivity, navigation, and more; a Bose Surround Sound audio system with 445 watts and 10 speakers; a choice of three different steering wheels, one with multi-function audio, phone, and navigation controls; a choice of three seating options, including the standard sport seats, power sport seats, and adaptive sport seats with available heating and ventilation; a leather interior package to enhance the look and feel of the dash, doors, and more; dual-zone automatic climate control; built-in quad-band GSM telephone; and a "light design" package that adds dimmable, multi-zone LED illumination to the cabin.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash-tested the 2014 Porsche Cayman, but with a rigid aluminum chassis, potent brakes, advanced traction and stability controls, plus a full complement of airbags including Porsche Side Impact Protection System (POSIP), the Cayman should prove to be a safe sports coupe in the event of an accident.