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Holding center stage on its expansive display at the 2010 LA Auto Show, the 2012 Porsche Cayman R made its world debut to become the lightest, hottest and undoubtedly coolest iteration of this mid-engined two-seater. Porsche says it was created for one reason: pure driving dynamics. With the mega dose of meaningfully focused changes it embodies that add performance while reducing weight, that is very good news indeed.
To help trim excess mass on the 2012 Porsche Cayman R, the factory's weight wizards dipped into the same bag of tricks as they did in creating the Boxster Spyder. In addition to brooming non-performance essentials like the air conditioning and stereo system, the Cayman R swaps steel door skins for lightweight aluminum alternatives and uses carbon-fiber-backed sport bucket seats and interior door panels from the 911 GT3 RS to ultimately yank 121 pounds from the curb weight, bringing it down to 2,849 pounds.
While sharing the same 3.4-liter direct-injected flat-six as its Cayman S cousin, here, the "R" engine gets tweaked to make 330 horsepower. That 10-pony advantage over its kin makes it the most powerful current mid-engine Porsche offering. Paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission it will send the Cayman R streaking 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, 0.2 second quicker than a Cayman S. Match it with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) transmission and Sport Chrono package, and that interval dips to just 4.4 ticks. Top speed with the former is 175 mph, while the latter can reach 174 mph.
Other Cayman R performance enhancement include as special sport suspension that drops ride height by 20mm (0.8-inch), a limited slip differential that optional on the Cayman S, the lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels used on the Boxster S and the front and rear spoilers from the Cayman Aerokit. If there is a bit of lightweight vanity in evidence, it's strictly limited to the car's black-framed halogen headlights, contrasting side mirrors and "PORSCHE" side-stripes.
Due in dealerships next February, the 2012 Porsche Cayman R will carry a pricetag of $66,300.