The 2016 Porsche Cayman offers most of the driving satisfaction and practicality of the fabled 911—and perhaps with even more thrills.
The 2016 Porsche Cayman has been living in the shadow of the more expensive 911 sports car—Porsche's flagship—but in many respects it's a better, more focused sports car.
Although we might choose a 911 to take on a long touring trip, we'd probably rather choose a Cayman to drive, and blast down backroads and canyon highways—and that says something about how these two models have evolved.
The Porsche Cayman is, like its soft-top sibling, the Porsche Boxster, a mid-engined sports car with some of the best balance, poise, and maneuverability on the market. Across the lineup you'll get the best, most accurate and nicely weighted steering, too.
With a choice of three powertrains, it vies for a pretty wide swath of devoted driving enthusiasts, too. The base Cayman uses a 2.7-liter flat-6 rated at 275 horsepower; the Cayman S gets a 3.4-liter flat-6 good for 325 hp; and the GTS, new at the end of last year, gets a 340-hp version of the 3.4-liter. Six-speed manual and 7-speed PDK dual-clutch transmissions are available for all models. When equipped with PDK and the Sport Chrono package—which you'll want to get launch control—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 seconds.
The Cayman GT4 joins the lineup for 2016. It's a lean, focused road racer edition, coming with a 3.8-liter flat-6 delivering 385 hp. Drive goes to the rear wheels via the aforementioned 6-speed manual, and this model can get to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and top speed is 183 mph. And to illustrate how fast they've managed to tune the Cayman, you can take Germany’s Nürburgring with a time of 7:40, which is comparable with times set by the 997-series 911 GT3 and even Ferrari’s 430 Scuderia.
The Cayman is just a great-looking sports car, too. 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 base Cayman comes with a decent set of standard equipment, in a luxury sense, but all the standout appearance or performance-improving options are extra. 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. There's also a Burmester audio system with 821 watts and 12 speakers.
Cayman GTS is outfitted much like a Cayman S with lots of boxes checked, and at a comparative discount to an S with nearly all of the a la carte options tacked on.
In base trim, the Cayman is EPA-rated at 20 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined with the manual gearbox, or 22/32/26 mpg with the PDK dual-clutch automatic.