First Drive: 2014 Cayman S
The all-new Porsche Cayman’s are finally hitting dealer showrooms after a long wait. Porsche’s mid-engined sports car has been a favorite of enthusiasts given the phenomenal handling and moderate price point. 9 Magazine had the opportunity to spend the day with the next-generation Cayman S and put together this report for our readers.
For 2014, the Cayman features many of the same styling tweaks that were first displayed on the coupe’s convertible cousin, the Boxster. If you recall the Boxster is an all-new generation as well and Porsche has essentially added a hard top to the new two-seat design.
The new Cayman features mechanical changes, more power, less weight and better efficiency. Engineers stretched the new Cayman wheelbase by nearly 2.4 inches and widened the front track by 1.6 inches, and the result is a car with all four wheels pushed well to each corner. Thanks to shorter overhangs both front and rear, the total vehicle length has grown by 1.3 inches from front to back.
Overall, the look of the new generation resembles the Carrera GT styling, and features more masculine and aggressive lines than its predecessor. The front trunk area is identical to the new Boxster, however the rear provides slightly more storage space due to the shelf in the hatch area.
The interior is also identical to the new Boxster with the now trademark center console that is present on all the models Porsche offers. The console began with the Panamera and has been carried over. On the dash, an LCD display provides information such as navigation, map, radio and phone controls along with important vehicle information like temp, and oil pressure.
The Cayman S we tested came with a 3.4-liter flat-six engine that puts out 325 horsepower at a screaming 7,400 rpm and 272 pound-feet of torque from between 4,500 and 5,800 rpm. More impressively, the flatsix can rev all the way to 7,800 rpm before hitting the red-line. While a six-speed manual transmission is standard equipment, our test vehicle came equipped with the PDK dual-clutch seven-speed transmission.
To further differentiate this model from its predecessor, the Sport button, formerly included with the Sport Chrono package, is now standard. The sport button changes the driving dynamic by firming up the suspension, providing a higher revving shift point, and quicker shifts. The $1850 Sport Chrono package, (which was equipped on our test car) takes each of those computerized parameters one step further and also provides launch control on PDK-equipped cars.
The new generation also has an auto start/stop feature which is engineered to enhance fuel efficiency. This can be deactivated by a switch in the console or by choosing the Sport mode. We chose to keep this off. Our goal for this piece was to test drivability not fuel consumption, although the new Cayman provides better fuel efficiency than the previous model. Enhancements such as DFI or Direct Fuel Injection make this possible.
We took the new Cayman around town and out on the highway for some real world driving. And although we did not have the opportunity to put the new Cayman to the test on the track, we were able to find some back roads to open it up a little and feel the balance this mid-engine masterpiece had to offer.
Pressing hard on the throttle resulted in blistering response, and a seriously quick 0-60 time. Officially, Porsche says the Cayman S can do a 0-60 sprint in 4.7 seconds – our test car in Sport Plus mode, came dam near close to those figures . While in Sport Plus mode, the shifts were hard and neck-snapping. The engine felt riotous, and the low end torque was perfect for around town driving. Rev-matched downshifts with the PDK made it super fun to drive.
The addition of electronic power steering in the new generation provided a vivid steering feel which allowed me to put the nose exactly where I wanted. The mid-engine balance of the Cayman contributed to a sublime driving/handling experience. The handling of this car is as good as can be, and it seems impossible that Porsche could have improved on the previous generation, but frankly it’s true.
All of these new features help push the Cayman into a new era and provide an extremely close to 911 driving experience than before. With this third-generation car, Porsche promised lower weight, more power, and new chassis technologies, all of which are provided. For the price, this is one of the best driving cars on the market. Period.
Photos: 9 Magazine