The 2015 Porsche Cayman remains a focused 911 alternative, at an easier-to-swallow price.
The 2015 Porsche Cayman is, in many ways, the Porsche 911’s little brother, but despite being smaller and less expensive, it is arguably the more focused sports car. With the latest generation of the 911 growing larger and more comfortable—but still inarguably quick—the Cayman is, more than ever, the focused sports coupe.
Like its soft-top sibling, the Boxster, Porsche's Cayman is mid-engined, providing excellent balance and maneuverability. It's also relatively compact, with 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 up only by the center stack and its button-filled controls.
The 2015 Cayman offers a choice of three powertrains, one for each of three trim levels. The base Cayman uses 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; and the GTS, new at the end of last year, gets a 340-hp version of the 3.4-liter. Six-speed manual and seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmissions are available for all 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, and the Cayman GTS manages it in only 4.5.
The Cayman handles at least as well as the Boxster it shares its core architecture with; in other words, it's brilliant. The electric power steering is among the best in the industry, and it's shared among the two. 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. The two even weigh about the same with similar equipment.
Standard and available 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. The one exception in all of this is the well-equipped Cayman GTS, which is outfitted much like a Cayman S with lots of boxes checked, and at a comparative discount to an S with all of the a la carte options tacked on.
Some of the highlights of the options list include: 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; a "light design" package that adds dimmable, multi-zone LED illumination to the cabin; 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; and a Burmester audio system with 821 watts and 12 speakers.
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash-tested the 2015 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.
Despite its ever-more-powerful engines, the Cayman is surprisingly fuel efficient. The EPA rates the base car's fuel economy at 20 mpg in the city, 30 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 22/32 mpg with PDK. The Cayman S rates 20/28 mpg with the manual and 21/30 with the PDK. At the top of the range, the Cayman GTS scores 19/26 with the manual and 22/31 with PDK.