The 2014 Porsche Cayman is all-new. It sits on a slightly longer wheelbase, wears attractive new sheetmetal, has a classier interior, and is faster than ever before. It's also more efficient: the base model achieves 30 mpg on the highway...
The 2014 Porsche Cayman is the coupe companion to the excellent Boxster convertible. It shares with the Boxster a mid-engine layout and nearly all of its mechanical components. The latest version of the Cayman, the third-generation, has grown into a more mature, better-looking, more powerful car than its predecessor. It still isn't as fast as some of the powerful coupes you can buy for $50,000, but it is one of the best to drive.
The 2014 Porsche Cayman is one of the best sports cars you can buy for any budget. It debuted in 2005 for people who wanted a Boxster with a fixed roof (necessary for driving on most racetracks). Like the Boxster, the Cayman recently underwent its most significant redesign to date. The biggest improvement may be the styling. Porsche's design team, under the direction of Michael Mauer, has nipped and tucked the Cayman's sheetmetal so that it looks like a sensuous sports car rather than a watered-down 911.
The 2014 Porsche Cayman is also a more convincing luxury car thanks to its new interior. The sweeping center console and tasteful trim lend a premium feel even to the base car -- a good thing since that model commands more than $50,000. Just as important, the improved interior doesn't feel out of place when the Cayman is loaded with options. We've driven Caymans costing more than $95,000 and found them a compelling argument at that price.
As with the latest 911 and Boxster, Porsche has managed to make the Cayman slightly bigger and more powerful but at the same time more efficient. The Cayman S, in particular, has become something of a muscle car: 0 to 60 mph takes as little as 4.4 seconds, according to Porsche. Even so, the Cayman loses a lot of spec-sheet battles. Similarly priced cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette and the Audi RS5 offer more power.
To understand the appeal of the 2014 Porsche Cayman, you need to get out on a winding road or, better still, a racetrack. The mid-engine layout offers wonderful handling balance, such that the car seems to dance through corners. The steering is precise and perfectly weighted. The flat-six engine responds precisely to your right foot as only a normally aspirated engine can, producing a thrilling wail as it climbs toward its peak power (7400 rpm for both the base and S models). That's true, we should add, regardless of whether you opt for the six-speed manual or the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. If we have to complain about something, we'd say the new electric power steering doesn't communicate as well as the old hydraulic rack, especially at lower speeds. Overall, though, the Cayman is one of those special cars that reminds us why we like driving.
The Cayman's biggest competition probably comes from the other sports cars in the Porsche showroom. The Boxster performs just as well, can lower its top, and costs less. For a bit more money, the 911 offers more power and two (small) rear seats. That said, the Cayman, more than ever before, has carved out its own niche.
- Audi RS5
- BMW M3
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Jaguar F-type