Review

Porsche Cayman coupe

Price  £39,694 - £55,397

Porsche Cayman coupe

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Great fun to drive
  • Roomy and beautifully finished interior
  • Surprisingly low running costs
Cons
  • Not much standard equipment
  • Expensive options
  • Strict two-seater

At a glance

The greenest
2.7 3dr £39,694
The cheapest
2.7 3dr £39,694
The fastest
GTS 3.4 3dr £55,397
Top of the range
GTS 3.4 3dr £55,397

“Few performance coupes are as fun to drive as the fast, stylish and high-quality Porsche Cayman.”

The Porsche Cayman may be an expensive car, but it ticks so many boxes that it actually seems like decent value. It's one of the best handling cars on sale and few models are as much fun to drive overall. The Cayman looks better than ever thanks to a facelift for the most recent model, and the quality of the interior has never been better.

At the heart of the Cayman is its big six-cylinder engine and buyers can choose between 2.7-litre and 3.4-litre versions. Both are quick and even the basic model can hit 165mph, while the larger engine fitted to the Porsche Cayman S has performance that is more accessible, more of the time. The GTS model is slightly quicker still thanks to a 15bhp engine upgrade - an optional sports suspension makes the car's handling razor sharp too.

All Porsche Cayman models get equipment such as leather seats and air-conditioning as standard, but the omission of items such as a Bluetooth phone connection seems miserly on a car costing this much money.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.5 / 5

Holds its value, but servicing is expensive

The Porsche Cayman wasn’t built to be economical, but it’s not too expensive to run when you consider the performance on offer. The new model is said to be 15 percent more efficient than the old car and much of that comes thanks to its lighter weight. The difference between the two models is only marginal, but the smaller engine is slightly more economical. It can return 34.4mpg, while opting for the hi-tech PDK automatic gearbox actually improves economy by more than 2mpg. Both models cost £265 to tax every year. The Cayman S is also more economical with the automatic gearbox (35.3mpg versus the manual’s 32.1mpg figure), while the auto’s road tax bill of £265 annually is £20 cheaper than that of the manual version.

Porsche servicing does not come cheap, so you’ll have to factor it in before you sign on the dotted line, while insurance will also be expensive.

Engines, drive & performance

5.0 / 5

Fast and lots of fun

The Porsche Cayman is one of the best handling cars money can buy and should be lots of fun down your favourite twisting road. The steering gives lots of feedback, while the car goes round corners with little body roll. The engine is one of the best parts of the Cayman – no matter what model you choose – mangaging to sound raucous and sporty when you want it to but quiet and refined when cruising.

All three models are quick, with even the slowest version getting from 0-60mph in just 5.7 seconds, while the GTS does it in just 4.9 seconds. The PDK automatic gearbox actually makes the Cayman marginally quicker, while being handy for driving in town by bypassing the need for constantly operating the clutch pedal.

The optional sports suspension for the range-topping model makes the Cayman GTS one of the best handling cars on the road bar none and, while the extra 15bhp isn't particularly noticeable, the engine pulls consistently hard.

Interior & comfort

4.0 / 5

Surprisingly comfortable for day-to-day use

There’s plenty of space for two in the Porsche Cayman, while the driving position is also excellent thanks to a wide range of adjustment. The ride meanwhile is firm but not uncomfortable and you can choose an adjustable suspension system that lets you make the ride softer or firmer depending on how you want to drive.

At a steady cruise, the car’s interior is surprisingly relaxed with little wind or road noise to upset you on long journey. It scores points over the convertible Porsche Boxster in this respect.

The range-topping GTS model comes with the adjustable suspension as standard but is also available with a sports suspension system, which lowers the ride by 10mm compared to the adjustable system and 20mm compared to the basic setup on the standard Cayman. The sports suspension is very firm and while it's possible to live with it, the adjustable suspension is more comfortable. If you plan to take your GTS on the track regularly, you'll want the sports suspension but otherwise you're better off with the standard-fit adjustable system.

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

Spacious for a high-performance coupe

Given its strict two-seater layout, the Porsche Cayman is a surprisingly practical choice. The interior is roomy and there’s plenty of storage space, including a large glovebox and decent-sized door bins, plus a deep and well-shaped 150-litre boot in the nose of the car. As with the Audi TT, the Porsche Cayman benefits from a versatile hatchback tailgate, which opens to reveal a 162-litre load area. Fill this space to the roof, and the capacity increases to 275 litres. However, it’s worth noting that there’s no cover to protect your luggage from prying eyes when you use the full capacity. And, unlike the Lotus Evora, there’s no option to add a pair of occasional rear seats.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

Robustly built and very safe

The Porsche Cayman didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey but the company has a good reputation for durability, which is particularly impressive considering it makes sports cars, which tend to be more temperamental. The new Cayman feels better built inside than the old model, and should prove hardwearing. Porsche’s new-car warranty covers its cars for four years/50,000 miles, but the company also offers costly extended warranties for extra peace of mind.

As an exclusive model, the Cayman hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but you can expect it to be safe. The new model is 30 per cent stronger than the old model, while the mid-engined layout means the front of the car affectively acts as a huge crumple zone. Standard fit safety features include six airbags, stability control, and traction control. And, if you’re willing to spend more money, there are plenty of other features – such as powerful ceramic brakes that cut stopping distances – that make the Cayman even safer.

Price, value for money & options

4.0 / 5

Excellent value for performance, but options are expensive

The Porsche doesn’t come sparsely equipped, but you might expect to get more kit on a car costing as much as it does. Equipment such as Bluetooth isn’t standard and choosing sought-after extras such as a leather-trimmed dashboard, switchable sports exhaust, adjustable suspension, and limited slip differential (for extra grip and quick cornering) adds more than £10,000 to the total price of the car.

The styling tweaks, slight power increase and sharper handling of the Porsche GTS cost more than £6,000 extra on top of the price of a Cayman S. The additional expenditure is only worth it for buyers who will really push the car to its limits often.

Resale values should be strong for all models, however, and kitting the car out with desirable equipment will make it more appealing when you come to sell it.

What the others say

5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
5.0 / 5
"Not only is the Cayman as fantastic to drive and as quick as the firm's flagship 911 Carrera, it undercuts its legendary brother by nearly £24,000. When you look at it like this, the Cayman is actually one of the performance car bargains of the year."
5.0 / 5
"The new Porsche Cayman works exceptionally well on so many levels, from a handsome two-seater that's dead easy to live with, to an out-and-out sports car that will utterly involve the enthusiastic driver. And it works just as well at every level in between. It's still, arguably the Porsche sports car that is the most rounded proposition of any."
5.0 / 5
"The Porsche Cayman is now in its third generation and just like a good wine it is getting better as it matures. The chassis is new, the wheelbase is 60mm longer, it's 30kg lighter and 40 per cent stiffer. The six-cylinder petrol engines are more powerful too. This is without a doubt is the best version of the Cayman to date."
Last updated 
23 May 2014

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