KBB Editors' Overview
By Zach Vlasuk - Updated Date: 2/28/2013
Contrary to popular belief, the vaunted Porsche 911 is not the brand's most dynamically endowed performance car. Delivering the same weight balance found in the world's most sophisticated racecars, the mid-engine 2014 Porsche Cayman is perhaps the purest embodiment of a true driver's car. Lighter, wider, faster, and more efficient than its predecessor, the all-new Cayman is also more refined, offering a newly available Burmester premium audio system, optional adaptive cruise control, and top-notch interior materials. Like its drop-top twin, the Porsche Boxster, the 2014 Cayman offers a pair of flat-6 engines and a brilliant new design both inside and out. While rivals like the Chevrolet Corvette, Audi TTS, and the less expensive Nissan 370Z deliver comparable straight-line performance, none can match the Cayman's inimitable combination of handling prowess, sensory fulfillment and curbside presence.
You'll Like This Car If...
Contemporary mid-engine sports cars are an endangered species in today's marketplace, and most are unattainable for all but the well-to-do. If you are looking for the near-handling perfection and superior balance of a mid-engine coupe in an affordable package, the 2014 Porsche Cayman is the only game in town.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Snowbelters who plan to trudge their sports car through messy winter conditions might express a preference for the all-wheel-drive Audi TTS. On the value side of the ledger, the Cayman's extensive list of costly a la carte options can quickly vault the sticker price into the $90,000 range.
What's New for 2014
The 2014 model year marks the third generation of the Porsche Cayman. With a new aluminum-intensive body structure at its core, the 2014 Cayman is lighter, more agile and 40-percent stiffer than the outgoing version. And despite the price difference, well-appointed Cayman models exhibit the same premium look and feel as the flagship 911.
The 2014 Porsche Cayman is designed for enthusiasts who like their performance doled out in a user-friendly fashion. Driver inputs are met with pleasingly predictable responses, and the precise, communicative steering is nothing short of a revelation given the fact that it's electrically assisted. Braking in both the Cayman and Cayman S is urgent and powerful, without feeling overly sensitive. The highly rigid chassis and taut suspension of the Cayman S is well suited for track days, but have a tendency to transmit much of the road's bumps and rumbles. In "Normal" mode, however, we found the available Porsche Active Suspension Management improves overall ride comfort without sacrificing dynamism, making the Cayman markedly more livable. Like the Nissan 370Z, the Cayman's manual gearbox incorporates a new rev-matching feature that automatically matches engine rpm to wheel speed during downshifts for smoother clutch re-engagements. Hardcore traditionalists need not fret, as this feature is offered only through the Sport Plus drive setting.
For the greatest acceleration regardless of variant, the Cayman's optional dual-clutch PDK transmission is the way to go. Beyond its performance credentials, the 7-speed PDK automatic provides a happy medium for drivers who need the traffic-friendliness of an automatic, but desire the raw, hard-wired feel of a conventional manual gearbox.
PORSCHE TORQUE VECTORING (PTV)
Based on vehicle speed, steering angle and throttle position, the optional PTV system gently applies the brake on the inside rear wheel to help minimize understeer (loss of front end traction) while entering corners.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…