The Porsche Cayman surrounds its midengine chassis with a rigid hardtop structure.
The base Cayman's 2.7-liter flat-six is updated with Porsche's VarioCam Plus, the variable-timing and lift system for intake valves adopted for 997-series 911s. This combines with detail cylinder-head changes and a higher 11.3:1 compression ratio for 245 horsepower at 6500 rpm (up five from the 2006 rating) and 201 pound-feet of torque at 4600-6000 revs (a nominal 2 pound-feet gain).
The Porsche Cayman S and 2007 Boxster S carry a new 3.4-liter engine, basically the familiar 3.2 with a 2mm larger bore (at 96mm/3.78 inches), plus 3.6-liter Carrera cylinder heads and 3.8-liter Carrera S cam profiles. Porsche also specifies larger main bearing journals to support the crankshaft and a stronger aluminum crankcase similar to the 911's. All this plus 11.0:1 compression nets 295 horsepower at 6250 rpm and 251 pound-feet at 4400-6250 rpm.
Of course, not all these cards were on the table in 2006, which somewhat negates early road-test comments about the Cayman S being so precisely slotted between that year's Boxster S and 911 Carrera in power, performance and price.
With the 2007 engine realignment, Porsche seems to be treating the Cayman and Boxster as a four-model group, not two separate cars, public posturing to the contrary.
Nevertheless, driving the Cayman provides a very different "Porsche Experience" than either the Boxster or 911.
Fixed-top cars are naturally stiffer than counterpart convertibles. The Porsche Cayman is no exception. Helped by that rear strut-tower brace, it exceeds the Boxster by 150 percent for tensional rigidity and 100 percent for bending resistance.
The Porsche Cayman line grew for 2007, adding this 245-horsepower base model.
Not surprisingly, the Cayman's Boxster-sourced suspension was calibrated for sharper handling, with higher-rate springs and shock absorbers, thicker antiroll bars, and the addition of strut "stop springs" to control body sway in hard transient maneuvers like S-bends.
Like Boxsters, Caymans boast variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering and standard Porsche Stability Management antiskid/traction control. Likewise, they can be ordered with Porsche Active Suspension Management, the "adaptive" shock absorbers that change firmness to suit speed and road conditions within driver-selected normal and sport modes.
Brakes are the usual four-wheel discs with antilock control (ABS). Rotors on the base Cayman are 11.73 inches front, 11.78 rear. Cayman S gets 12.5-inch-diameter front brakes. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes are available, priced at $8150. Tire sizes are also per Boxster. The base Cayman uses 205/55ZR17s up front and 235/50ZR17s in back. The S gets 235/40ZR18s and 265/40ZR18s, respectively. A 19-inch wheel/tire package is available for both.
Transmissions are no surprise, either. A five-speed manual for the base Cayman, a six-speed with fortified internals as standard for the S and available for the base car. Optional for both is Porsche's five-speed Tiptronic S automatic with steering-wheel buttons for manual shifting.
Cayman also follows Boxster and Carrera with an optional Sport Chrono Package ($920 for 2007). Pushing a button "remaps" electronic controls for the engine, ABS, antiskid system, and, where equipped, the PASM adjustable shocks and Tiptronic transmission. It's all for "greater freedom when driving at the limit," Porsche says. Translation: the various digital nannies don't interfere so soon, so drivers can more easily indulge in power-on tail slides and similar antics.
As in other Porsches, the Sport Chrono option is aimed mainly at weekend "club racers," though it's just as handy for hard-chargers on encountering a deserted twisty road. Other Cayman equipment also parallels the Boxster lists: standard trip computer, power windows and mirrors, keyless-entry power door locks; optional power seats with memory, adaptive sport seats, navigation system, bi-xenon headlamps.
Despite the steel roof and big glass backlight, Caymans weigh about 10 pounds less than equivalent Boxsters, so performance is virtually identical.
The base-model Porsche Cayman has the same attractive shape as the S model.
For prices, reviews, and more on Porsche from the Auto Editors of Consumer Guide, see:
- Porsche new cars
- Porsche used cars
- 2007 Porsche Cayman and Cayman S
- 2006 Porsche Cayman S