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2011 Porsche Cayman

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2011 Porsche Cayman Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 7/27/2011


Since being introduced in 2006 and 2007 respectively, the Porsche Cayman S and Cayman have taken a lofty place in the two-door sports car class amongst rivals such as the Audi TTS Quattro Coupe, BMW Z4 M Coupe, Nissan 370Z and Mercedes-Benz SLK350. In just a few short years, the Cayman has become a benchmark sports car that many Porsche-philes claim is the best and most balanced platform in the lineup. In 2011, the Cayman will have an even more focused variant in the (very) performance-oriented Cayman R. While none of the Cayman models can be considered inexpensive, the price difference between the base Cayman and 911, along with the Cayman's mid-engine design, may leave you wondering: Which Porsche is the one to aspire to own?

You'll Like This Car If...

If you pine for the thrill of a truly balanced sports car with precision German engineering, the 2011 Porsche Cayman could be the car of your dreams. The fact that pricing starts $10,000 to $20,000 below the 911 is just icing on the cake.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If being inside a small sports coupe makes you slightly claustrophobic, or you need large rear sightlines or amounts of storage space, the Cayman simply isn't going to cut it in your motoring world.

What's Significant About This Car?

The Cayman and Cayman S haven't been changed for 2011 so much as refined; there have been tweaks to the lighting (both front and rear), the chassis, the optional Sport Chrono Mode and the Stability Management system. There are new popular equipment packages and some new colors. The biggest change for the 2011 Cayman is the addition of the Cayman R model, which adds a lowered ride height and retuned suspension while shedding 121 pounds of air conditioning, stereo and the like – all the while receiving a boost to 330 horsepower.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Even among all the legendary Porsche models, it's hard to recall a car that feels so utterly right under virtually all dynamic conditions. The Cayman's super-stiff structure provides a rock-solid suspension platform that has allowed engineers to maximize its potential. The already great but improved Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) gives quick, responsive steering feel and the clutch-and-shifter combo is near-perfect on both models. Each of the three Cayman trim levels has its own virtues: The base Cayman, at 265 horsepower, delivers a world-class sports car experience combined with a smooth ride. The Cayman S gives you 320 horsepower of thrust without sacrificing livability. The Cayman R is definitely for the hardcore driver; while it only packs an extra 10 horsepower over the Cayman S, the Cayman R's reduced weight and sportier suspension make it a car that won't give the driver a moment to consider the lack of a stereo or air conditioning.

Favorite Features

Mid-Engine Balance
Automotive theory holds that putting a car's engine between the two axles will contribute to superior handling, and the Cayman S is real-world proof. We're hard-pressed to remember a car that feels so "just right," in so many driving situations, as the Cayman S.

Head-Turning Style
Porsche sports coupes over the years have been iconic designs in automotive history. Despite being a young model, the Cayman's flowing lines and restrained aggressive stance make it a worthy addition to the Porsche design canon.

Vehicle Details Interior

Plenty of Porsche heritage is evident in the detailing of the Cayman's compact but well-finished and comfortable cabin, starting with the signature dash-mounted ignition to the left of the three-spoke steering wheel and lots of leather and brushed aluminum accent trim. Gauges are handsome, coming in black trim on the base model with aluminum trim on the S. The seats are comfortable with more than enough support for enthusiastic corner-carving. However, with stowage space under both the front hood and the rear hatch, the Cayman has a good deal more practicality than might be apparent at first glance. Sightline issues on the 2010 car are addressed in the 2011 with new, larger wing mirrors.

Exterior

The 2011 Cayman is unmistakably Porsche, displaying classic styling cues not only from the 911 but from a host of the marque's iconic street and competition cars. Easily the most eye-catching touch is its sweeping C-pillar treatment, a flourish that harkens back to the elegant 904 racing coupe. The wide stance and flowing fenders on the base and S models are given a harder edge in the R, with its fixed rear spoiler and lip spoilers.

Notable Standard Equipment

The Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system that encompasses traction control, engine throttle control and enhanced functions of the anti-lock vented disc brakes comes standard in all Cayman models. The Cayman mounts Z-rated 205/55 front and 235/50 rear tires on 17-inch alloy wheels, while the Cayman S gets bigger front brakes and steps up to 235/40 front and 265/40 rear rubber on larger 18-inch wheels. The Cayman R gets 235/35 fronts and 265/35 rears on lightweight 19-inch wheels. As for comfort and convenience touches, the base and S models come with the creature comforts of air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio, speed control, remote keyless entry, trip computer and an anti-theft immobilizer. The Cayman R is downright spartan, having shed just about everything not vital to the relationship between driver, car and road, though niceties like air conditioning and a stereo can be optioned at extra cost.

Notable Optional Equipment

For 2011, Porsche's PDK dual-clutch transmission replaces the Triptronic as the "automatic" option. The PDK is essentially two half-gearboxes in one unit that anticipate gear selection and execute shifts at astonishing speed. The optional Sport Chrono Package Plus allows the driver to monitor information such as lap times for track days and features Launch Control when equipped with the PDK. Also available are racing-derived Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB), both manual and full-power sport seats, bi-xenon headlamps and four different kinds of 19-inch alloy wheels. An Infotainment Package brings a 6.5" touchscreen unit with navigation, XM satellite radio and MP3 connectivity. As usual with Porsche models, the combinations of interior materials, matching color pieces and other design options is near endless.

Under the Hood

The 265-horsepower 2.9-liter "boxer" flat-six engine that sits amidships in the 2011 Porsche Cayman and the 320-horsepower (330-horsepower in the Cayman R) 3.4-liter six in the Cayman S both benefit from the same VarioCam Plus technology used on the flagship Porsche 911. This system precisely controls intake camshaft timing and valve lift to enhance both total response and fuel efficiency. While the entire Cayman family comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, those who prefer an automatic can opt for the PDK (Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) dual-clutch auto-manual transmission, featuring steering-wheel-mounted shifters. Porsche claims a manually-shifted PDK Cayman S can hit 60 miles per hour in under five seconds, with the base Cayman getting there in about 5.5 seconds and the Cayman R hitting 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. For buyers who opt for the Sport Plus Package with Launch Control, Porsche claims even faster 0-60 times.
2.9-liter Boxer 6
265 horsepower @ 7200 rpm
221 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400-6000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 20/29 (PDK)

3.4-liter Boxer 6
320 horsepower @ 7200 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (manual), 20/29 (PDK)

3.4-liter Boxer 6
330 horsepower @ 7400 rpm
273 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (manual), 20/29 (PDK)

Pricing Notes

The 2011 Porsche Cayman has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting under $53,000; the Cayman S stickers closer to $63,000 and the Cayman R at $66,300. The PDK transmission adds about $3,500. In the past, Cayman models have sold for their full sticker prices, but the kbb.com Fair Purchase Price, which represents prices consumers are actually paying at any given moment, can differ substantially, so be sure to check that out before heading to the dealership. Over time, the Cayman S is projected to hold slightly more of its original value than a base Cayman. Its resale percentages also are expected to be slightly higher than key competitors like the Mercedes-Benz SLK350 and remain on par with the Audi TTS, BMW Z4 and Nissan 370Z.

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