These days it’s difficult to tell what cars are actually supposed to do and how to behave. Thankfully, Porsche is still around to sort everything out. For 2014, the Cayman was the new addition to the Porsche lineup with totally redesigned styling to bring it in line with the new Boxster. The resulting Cayman may be the best driver’s car that you can buy right now. So what did we do? We took it on a tour of New England across five different states.
Our Cayman S tester arrived in Agate Grey Metallic with an extensive list of options checked. Most notably, it featured the Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK for short) transmission, the gold standard for double-clutch units. Sixty miles per hour came in less than four and a half seconds and the engine revved out to an ear pleasing 8,000RPM. Overall though, this car isn’t meant to be a drag queen, with only 325 horsepower. What the Cayman S is most fond of is going around corners. Our car was equipped with all sorts of acronyms to help with that. The optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) allows the car to sit ten millimeters lower than the standard kit, and it regulates the suspension stiffness based on road conditions. This suspension setup has two different modes, Normal and Sport. The difference from Normal to Sport is noticeable over harsher road surfaces. PASM goes into overtime when in Sport mode, making everything as stiff as possible and enthusiast focused. Our car also came with the optional Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), which allows the computer to vary how all 273 lb-ft of torque is sent to the rear wheels via a locking differential. In tight corners, you can feel the rear wheels sorting out their differences as you get back on the power. It’s a great option if you’re planning on bringing your Cayman S to a track, but we didn’t get to experience that during our week. The last noticeable option on our Cayman S was the always popular Sport Chrono Package. That delivers many different customization options as well as a stopwatch mounted right in the center of the dashboard. All these packages work together in conjunction with one another, and allow the driver to customize how the car handles, sounds, and changes gear. When pressing the Sport Plus button the transmission quickens to allow seamless upshifts and throttle blip downshifts in less than 100 milliseconds. When carving up a fun backroad, these systems all work in conjunction and you feel like you’re driving on the best road in the world in the best car in the world. Sometimes, its even as if the road turns beneath you rather than the car moving over the road surface. Many times this week I had to sit back and ask myself if I was dreaming because it was such a sublime experience.
So far there’s been little mention of the interior because, when you’re in a really good driver’s car on really good roads, you don’t need to focus on it. But find yourself sitting in traffic or on a longer stint of highway, the Porsche doesn’t disappoint. The options list was filled with extras that made the interior a very nice place to spend time. The SportDesign steering wheel and sport seats were comfortably firm, properly bolstered, and looked stunning in Agate/Amber two-tone leather. Whether or not the pricy infotainment package and upgraded sound system is worth it became a hot debate. On one hand, who needs a radio when there’s a raspy flat-six breathing down your neck? On the other hand, sometimes its nice to tune out the engine. We could do without the active cruise control and park sensors on this car, if only as a means to reduce some of the sticker shock. When you sit in the Cayman S, you get a sense of the car’s quality and purpose. Everything is laid out functionally but with a focus on incorporating them as design elements while making them ascetically appealing. Its difficult to describe, but the interior strikes as good a balance of form and function as the driving dynamic.
We began our drive from our home base in Albany, New York, and then moved northeast. We breezed through Massachusetts, then had a slight detour in Vermont, then on to our destination in New Hampshire. While spending a few days there we covered all thirteen miles of the stunningly beautiful New Hampshire coastline. After a brief stint in Maine, the holiday weekend was over for us and we headed back to Albany. Driving these mixed roads, consisting of interstates, county highways, and backroads the Cayman S really becomes it’s own shining star. It will settle down and become as comfortable as possible when you’re just driving along, and you can get a solid 30+ miles per gallon; as a matter of fact, we averaged over 31 on our highway stints. Find yourself off the highway and lost in the woods, a few buttons will transform the Cayman into the best car we’ve ever driven.
|2014 Porsche Cayman S
|Agate Grey Metallic||$710|
|Agate/Amber leather package||$640|
|Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV)||$1,320|
|Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK)||$3,200|
|20″ Carrera S wheels||$1,560|
|Color Porsche crest on wheel caps||$185|
|Adaptive cruise control (PAS)||$2,170|
|Porsche Active Stability Management (PASM)||$1,790|
|Sport Chrono Package||$2,370|
|SportDesign steering wheel||$490|
|Power sport seats||$2,320|
|Infotainment Package w/ Burmester||$6,520|
|As Tested MSRP||$91,620|