Besides being known for its engineering and automotive heritage, Porsche is also associated with high prices. Historically, there have been several models in the Porsche lineup that are dubbed the “Poor Man’s Porsche” by brand purists because they are considered entry-level models to the brand.
We can talk about the 944, produced between 1982 and 1991, or more recently the Boxster, which in its first-generation reached distributors in 1996 and served as the basis for its “brother”, the Cayman. The Cayman is a coupe derived from the third-generation Boxster roadster and was introduced by Porsche in 2006.
The Cayman is currently marketed as the 718 Cayman T. And not only did it replace the Cayman as an entry-level Porsche, but it also inherited the nickname of the “poor man’s Porsche” since its figures fall short compared to the 911 or even the Taycan, the electric sedan of the German brand.
The Origins Of The Cayman
The Porsche Cayman is the coupe version of the third-generation Boxster, the one from 2005, and was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show that year. It shares most of the elements with the Boxster 987: from the platform to the engine, passing through most of the rest of the mechanics and interior. As with the Boxster, its long body is the work of the Chinese designer Pinky Lai and is inspired by classic Porsche models, such as the 550 from 1953 and the 904 from 1964. These models are perhaps the reason why so many people love Porsche.
Porsche chose the name Cayman for the car’s ease of ‘crawling’ between curves. The assembly of the Cayman was carried out at the Finnish Valmet Automotive plant, where the Boxster was also manufactured.
What Porsche set out to do with the Cayman was to create a more earthy sports car than the flashy and expensive 911 and make the driving experience just as addictive in both models. They achieved such a perfect result that is even called into question the untouchable 911.
To understand why the Cayman is often called the “poor man’s Porsche” we need to put into perspective the price difference between the original Cayman and the 911 of its time: the former cost $49,000 while the latter was between $71,000 and $99,000.
The biggest difference between the 911 and the Cayman is the engine layout. In the 911, it is located hanging behind the rear axle while, in the Cayman, the engine is placed in a central position according to the laws of physics that dictate the perfect behavior in a car that is achieved when the heaviest part (the engine) is located within the wheelbase of the vehicle. And this is precisely the main reason the Cayman is dynamically flawless.
The Non-S Cayman
When Porsche launched this car, it was offered in two versions: Cayman and Cayman S. The “regular” or non-S version of the Cayman (987C) produced from 2006 to 2009 can reach 60 mph in 6.1 seconds thanks to its 2.7- liter flat-six engine that makes 245 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. These numbers made this car slower than the S version. Nevertheless, you couldn’t really call it a “slow” car by any means.
There was a considerable price difference between the two versions, which made the Cayman “just plain”, hence the “poor man’s Porsche.” However, in the current second-hand market, they have a very similar value, so it is always more advisable to look for a unit with a 3.4 propeller.
In either of the two variants, the standard equipment is complete: it includes Alcantara and leather upholstery, air conditioning, radio-CD, a retractable spoiler that raises 80 mm if we circulate at over 75 mph.
The Cayman S
The 3.4 six-cylinder boxer engine (M97.21) derives from the 3.2 that equipped the Boxster but with a cylinder diameter greater than 96 mm and the variable valve VarioCam Plus of the 911, which alters the phase and the lift of the valves.
It has dry-sump lubrication with four oil pumps that distribute the lubricant throughout the engine and develops 295 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 250 pound-feet of torque from 4,400 rpm. Of course, being just behind the seats, it is quite noisy. The six-speed manual gearbox is signed by Getrag. The Cayman S reaches 60 mph in less than 5 seconds.
A Facelift For The Cayman
In 2009, Porsche renewed the image of the Cayman by introducing new bumpers, headlights, taillights. In addition, the 2.7 engine increased its displacement to 2.9-liters, from 245 to 265 horsepower. The 3.4-liter engine gained 25 horsepower to a total output of 320 thanks to the introduction of direct injection.
Another modification brought by the 2009 restyling was the replacement of the outdated optional Tiptronic five-speed gearbox and torque converter with the new seven-speed dual-clutch PDK. The latter is much better for speed and precision and is very suitable for this model; the Tiptronic is slow and penalizes the performance of the engine.
Current Generation Cayman
In 2016, the Porsche 718 Cayman became the successor to the Cayman, with which it shares not only the philosophy and much of the design language but also has a convertible version that complements the coupe, in this case, known as Porsche 718 Boxster.
Among its updates, it has counted with four-cylinder turbo engines, which for the first time are present in the Porsche 718 Boxster and Porsche 718 Cayman. It is manufactured at the new-build, high-tech plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen (Germany), after leaving the Osnabrück factory lines belonging to the Volkswagen Group.
The standard version comes with a turbocharged boxer 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. The Cayman S is available with a turbocharged boxer 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that increases the output to 350 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. Then there’s the Cayman GTS with a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter boxer 6-cylinder engine that pushes out 394 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque.
Not only is this ride awesome to look at but the Taycan Turbo S is also considered groundbreaking.
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