There might not be a more appealing new sports car today that starts below the $75K mark than the Porsche Cayman S. Having spent extensive time behind the wheel of one on a racetrack earlier this year, I’m quite taken by the second-generation Cayman.
It begins with the midship engine layout, which is exactly where the engine should be in a proper sports car. Each and every time you get out of a Boxster or Cayman, you can’t help but be impressed by how delightful it is to throw the car around. They are easy to push hard with a platform that’s so communicative from the driver’s seat.
Handle reflexes are good with the Cayman eager to listen to all steering commands immediately. Hitting your marks is easily done with the rear of the car a cinch to rotate around using the throttle if needed.
And, yes, I even like how the electromechanical steering is tuned on the Cayman S. Unlike the Carrera, the Cayman S is quite responsive off center, offers lots of feedback through the wheel, and has a fair amount of weight tuned into it. Of course, I’m not about to say it’s anywhere near as good as the previous hydraulic steering system, but efficiency reasons are making carmakers use electric assisted units and it’s up to manufacturers to tune them correctly. In the Cayman and Boxster, I think Porsche has done a nice job with it.
The boxer six-cylinder is another thing worth praising, with just the right amount of power to have fun on track and on the street. There’s instant throttle response, it likes to rev and it doesn’t sound half bad at wide-open-throttle at all. Given the choice of transmissions, I’m going to go with the manual every time in the Cayman, but that’s not to say the ZF dual-clutch gearbox is bad. It’s not; in fact, it’s near the top of the list for best performing dual-clutch transmissions out there behind the ones found in Ferraris and possibly the Nissan GT-R.