Cayman S – this is the name of Porsche’s new Sports Coupé based on the Boxster model series. Ranking between the Boxster S and the 911 Carrera, this truly unique mid-engined two-seater sports car is powered by a 3.4-litre 295 bhp horizontally-opposed six-cylinder accelerating the Cayman S to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds and providing a top speed of 275 km/h or 183 mph.
Benefiting from its supreme body stiffness and superb balance of weight with the power unit upfront of the rear axle, the Cayman S is a genuine driving machine able to lap the Nordschleife, the Northern Circuit of Nürburgring, in just 8:20 minutes – faster than the Boxster S and only a bit slower than the 911 Carrera.
The Cayman S stands out as a genuine Porsche at very first sight, boasting classic design features reminiscent in part of the Porsche 550 Coupé introduced back in 1953 and the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS Coupé, a legend to this day. At the same time the new Sports Coupé stands out significantly in its design and proportions from both the Boxster and the 911.
The front end of the car with its separate foglamps is just as characteristic as the side-line with air scoops upfront of the rear axle, the strongly curved roof, and the rear section slowly tapering down to the bumper. The rear end, in turn, is dominated by the large tailgate perfectly accentuated and rounded off by the sweeping lines of the rear wings and the dual tail-pipe extending out right in the middle.
The six-cylinder horizontally-opposed power unit featured in the Cayman S is based on the 3.2-litre carried over from the Boxster S. The cylinder heads, together with VarioCam Plus camshaft and valve lift adjustment, come in their entirety from the 911 Carrera, VarioCam Plus thus making its debut for the first time outside of the 911 model series.
This elaborate valve management not only ensures supreme output of 295 bhp (217 kW) at 6250 rpm and powerful torque of 340 Newton-metres (251 lb-ft) between 4400 rpm and 6000 rpm, but also provides superior fuel economy of just 10.6 litres/100km equal to 26.6 mpg Imp.
The Porsche Sports Chrono Package is tailored to the driver wishing to use the potential of the Cayman S in every respect. Offering even more powerful engine control maps and management strategies, the Sports Chrono Package pushes the car’s extreme limits to the ut-most. The visual symbol bearing clear testimony to the Sports Chrono Package is the analogue/digital stopwatch on the instrument panel allowing an absolutely precise comparison of driving dynamics down to the last hundredth of a second.
On a race track like the Nordschleife, Northern Circuit of Nürburgring, the supreme performance ensured by the Sports Chorno Package means even quicker lap times, the Cayman S equipped with Sports Chrono lapping Nürburgring an impressive three seconds faster than the same car in “regular” trim.
Compared with the Boxster, the chassis and suspension of the new Cayman S comes with even firmer and more sporting springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars. This particular set-up, combined with the neutrality of the mid-engined concept, the extremely stiff body and performance-oriented 18-inch tyres, ensures supreme agility on the road in virtually every situation. And a high standard of active safety is virtually built in from the start, Porsche Stability Management (PSM) starring as a regular feature in the Cayman S.
A further highlight comes as an optional extra: Porsche Active Suspension Management or PASM for short. This enables the driver, at the touch of a button, to choose either a sporting but comfortable or an ultra-sporting and dynamic damper setting, improving either the car’s already high standard of long-distance comfort or the supreme quality of driving dynamics.
Cross-drilled, inner-vented brake discs measuring 318 millimetres (12.5”) in diameter at the front and 299 millimetres (11.8”) at the rear ensure exemplary stopping power in the Cayman S. Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) available as an option come with even larger brake discs measuring 350 millimetres or 13.8” in diameter and are made of a special ceramic material for even lighter weight. The big advantages in this case are an ultra-high and consistent frictional coefficient as well as wear reduced to an absolute minimum in everyday motoring.
The Cayman S naturally offers the supreme standard of passive safety so typical and characteristic of every Porsche. Full-size frontal airbags for the driver and front passenger, just as one example, ensure superior safety in a head-on collision, while a thorax and a head airbag provide the same kind of protection in a collision from the side. The brand name for this unique safety system is POSIP (Porsche Side Impact Protection) further supplemented by side impact protectors in the doors.
Offering a total of 410 litres or 14.35 cu ft luggage capacity, the Cayman S has everything it takes for all your leisure time enjoyment. Whether it’s your diving equipment or a snow-board – virtually everything fits into the car, with up to 260 litres or 9.1 cu ft of luggage space beneath the large tailgate.Added to this large luggage compartment at the rear, there is the front luggage compartment offering another 150 litres or 5.25 cu ft, not to mention several large and, in part, lockable storage compartments for all kinds of smaller odds and ends.
Introducing the Cayman S, Porsche offers the customer a new Sports Coupé positioned between the Boxster and the 911 Carrera. Based on the Boxster model series, this mid-engined sports car comes in different dimensions and has an even more powerful engine: The new 3.4-litre six-cylinder mounted upfront of the rear axle of the Cayman S develops maximum output of 295 bhp (217 kW) at 6250 rpm, giving this 1340 kg (2955 lb) sports car a power-to-weight ratio of 4.5 kilos per horsepower (6.2 kg/kW) and ensuring acceleration to 100 km/h in just 5.4 seconds. Top speed is 275 km/h or 183 mph, attributable inter alia to the outstanding drag coefficient of just 0.29.
In its design, the Cayman S clearly boasts all the styling elements of a Porsche re-interpreted in a very different look. The new face of the car, for example, is characterised by the asymmetric headlights moved far out to the outside and is further accentuated by large air intakes at the side accommodating the foglamps and position lights integrated in slender trim bars.The Cayman S comes as standard with clear glass H7 main headlights in projection technology, with bi-xenon headlights available as an option. The lines of the car from the side accentuate the particular position of the mid-mounted engine as well as the compact body of this exceptional Sports Coupé. The side view is dominated by flared wheel arches extending far out and rising higher up to accommodate the car’s wheels, as well as the strong curvature of the roof tapering down to the low and dynamic rear end. The side air scoops clearly bear testimony to the Boxster, but nevertheless add a new and unique touch through the vertical slats stretching elegantly from top to bottom.
A further new and unique feature is the special design of the newly developed 18-inch wheels reminiscent in their look of the Carrera GT. And over and above these standard wheels, the customer has the choice of four 19-inch wheels varying in their rim design.
The rear lights and the exhaust tailpipes in the middle of the car also reveal the link between the Cayman S and the Boxster. Each of these features highlights the new design language, with a clear focus on muscle, excitement and tension. This special look is further accentuated by the sweeping rear wings literally “flowing” above the tail lights and the horizontal trim bars merging into the specially designed dual tailpipes to the left and right.
A truly unique feature of the Cayman S is the extra-large 116 x 90 centimetre (45.7 x 35.4”) tailgate integrated into the rear end of the car. Stretching in a muscular, sweeping flow into the roofline, the tailgate offers generous access to the luggage compartment at the rear.
This extra-large luggage compartment is subdivided into two levels separated visually from one another by a stainless-steel trim strip. Luggage capacity at the rear is 185 litres or 6.48 cu ft up to the bottom of the window, with an even more significant 260 litres or 9.10 cu ft when using all the space available up to roof level.
Capacity of the second luggage compartment at the front is 150 litres or 5.25 cu ft, as in the Boxster. In all, this gives the driver up to 410 litres or 14.35 cu ft of luggage space, the Cayman S thus offering not only supreme sportiness and performance, but also a new standard of all-round function and practical value.
Featuring a drag coefficient of 0.29, the Cayman S ranks way ahead of the competition also in terms of aerodynamics. The know-how making this superiority possible comes out clearly in every detail, various improvements reducing lift forces on all four wheels by 14 kilos or 31 lb on each wheel in comparison with the Boxster at a speed of 270 km/h or 167 mph.
At the rear this strong downforce is mainly a result of the new split wing moving up approximately 80 millimetres or 3.15” as soon as the car exceeds a speed of 120 km/h or 75 mph. Contrary to a spoiler of the type to be found in the Boxster, a split wing of this kind keeps air resistance to a minimum while generating powerful downforce through the specific angle of the wing. And, finally, these aerodynamic benefits are rounded off by the underfloor cover extending almost completely from front to rear and side to side.
The power unit in the Cayman S is Porsche’s first six-cylinder outside of the 911 model series to boast VarioCam Plus technology. Based on the 3.2-litre engine of the Boxster S, the power unit featured in the Cayman S comes with the same cylinder heads as in the 911 Carrera, the Cayman S thus combining powerful muscle and acceleration with superior top-end performance and low fuel consumption: In the EU composite test, Porsche’s new Sports Coupé consumes only 10.6 litres of premium plus/100 km, equal to 26.6 mpg Imp.
And it almost goes without saying that the new Cayman S outperforms both the EU4 European
emission standard and the LEVII standard in the USA.
Power transmission in the Cayman S is provided by a six-speed manual gearbox ensuring a precise and ultra-short gearshift. Tiptronic S automatic transmission comes as an option, the five-speed automatic transmission unit in this two-seater Sports Coupé boasting new hydraulic and electronic management with all the benefits of the variable gearshift programs carried over from the Carrera.
The chassis and suspension of the Cayman S is based on the same overall concept as the suspension of the Boxster S, but is far more sporting and dynamic in its overall set-up. This specific configuration in conjunction with the very strong, torsionally and flexurally-resistant bodyshell gives the Cayman S a new standard of driving behaviour and sports handling never seen before – sporting performance with superior safety reserves, but without neglecting driving comfort in any way.
These handling qualities in general as well as the car’s lateral acceleration in particular are further enhanced by the mid-engined concept with its ideal balance of weight front-to-rear. Indeed, this superiority is cleared confirmed by the Cayman S fast lap times, with the car lapping the Northern Circuit of Nürburgring in just 8:20 minutes.
As an option the Cayman S is available with Porsche’s electronically controlled Active Suspension Management (PASM) lowering the entire car by 10 millimetres or almost 0.4” and enabling the driver to choose two different suspension set-ups at the touch of a button: The PASM Normal set-up activates a sporting but comfortable configuration, the PASM Sport set-up makes the suspension extra-sporting and dynamic.
In its basic features and components, the brake system is the same as in the 911 Carrera and Boxster S, thus offering brake power and resistance to fading of the highest calibre. At the front brake power is generated by four-piston monobloc fixed callipers acting on inner-vented brake discs measuring 318 millimetres or 12.52” in diameter. At the rear the Cayman S likewise comes with brake discs measuring 299 millimetres or 11.77” in diameter and also featuring four-piston monobloc fixed callipers. All four callipers are finished in red as a particular sign of distinction.
As an option the Cayman S is available with Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes or PCCB for short. This brake system excels above all by its four extra-light ceramic brake discs ensuring a high and consistent frictional coefficient without the slightest delay and keeping wear to an absolute minimum under regular driving conditions.
The Sports Chrono Package is yet another unique and exclusive Porsche option also available on the Cayman S. Giving various functions of the car a particularly sporting and dynamic set-up, the Sports Chrono Package modifies both the car’s engine management and Porsche Stability Management (PSM), as well as the shift behaviour and the gearshift speed of Tiptronic S and the particular characteristics of Porsche’s active PASM suspension, where fitted.
As a result, the Cayman S responds even more dynamically and directly to the gas pedal, offering the driver even greater freedom when driving to the limit thanks to the car’s more sporting and dynamic set-up. Using the Sports Chrono Program, the Cayman S Sports Coupé laps the Northern Circuit of Nürburgring another three seconds faster than usual.
Offering supreme structural stiffness all round the passenger cell, the Cayman S has everything it takes to ensure passive safety of the highest standard. Apart from three-point inertia-reel seat belts complete with belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters, two-stage full-size airbags on the driver’s and passenger’s side come as standard. A further standard feature is the POSIP Porsche Side Impact Protection System comprising, inter alia, a thorax and a head airbag on each side of the car, again in the interest of extra all-round safety.
About half the car wears carryover sheetmetal, including the hood, door skins, and front fenders. The rest is fresh tin. The new lower front fascia incorporates built-in driving lights, and the front spoilerettes will be finished in silver, whatever the body color. Standard 18-inch wheel designs are unique to the Cayman, with 19s optional. The Cayman’s center of gravity is about 15mm higher than the Boxster’s, but the slipperier shape, and the Cayman’s more effective rear wing, yield a Cd of 0.29, putting it between the Boxster S’s 0.30 and the 911’s 0.28. That twin-stanchion rear wing raises 3.1 inches at speeds above 75 mph, and overall aerodynamic lift is reduced front and rear.
While the I.P. and sport seats are gleaned from the Boxster S, everything aft of those seats is new. The large hatch opens high to reveal a two-tiered luggage compartment; add this 9.1 cubic feet to the 5.25 cubic feet in the front trunk, and you’ve got a sports car that’s good for more than just a weekend’s worth, although soft luggage is recommended to get the most into it.
The suspension architecture is the same as the Boxster’s, but shock, spring, and anti-roll bar rates are Cayman specific and more aggressive overall. While there’s no shortage of standard equipment given the Cayman S’s sub-$60K base price (including standard leather upholstery and six airbags) a lot of the most popular goodies—the ones that maximize its performance—are optional. Add the 19-inch rolling stock, bi-Xenon headlights, the Sports Chrono package, nav, and PCCB ceramic brake rotors, and the $70,000 mark will come and go in a hurry.
Porsche claims the Cayman S will lap the North circuit of the Nuerburgring in eight minutes, 20 seconds (running 19-inchers and with Sports Chrono), just a few seconds slower than the Carrera. We’ve heard, but can’t substantiate, the opposite; that in fact the Cayman is actually a few seconds quicker than a base 911, although still not the measure of the 355-horse Carrera S.
For a change, the U.S. market version gets a more aggressive exhaust note than do Euro-spec cars. This one sounds great, combining the whirry sweetness of the 2.5- and 2.7-liter Boxster engines, with the guttural burbles issued by the Carrera S’s 3.6. Blend this exhaust note with a reedy intake roar and the engine’s mechanical noise, and the result is a symphonic voice, especially when the VarioCam switches to its more aggressive mode just below 6000 rpm.
A bit of heat soaks into the cabin if the car sits at idle for long periods of time. It’s nothing objectionable, or that the A/C can’t handle, but you may notice it when parked with the windows up. If we have a design complaint about this sexy thang, it’s that the roofline is a bit bubblish. That same curving roofline also nixes the availability of a sunroof, a popular option in North America. So if you want a tan, buy a Boxster.
In the Cayman S, Porsche has conceived and delivered a superb driving instrument. It combines precision, balance, gusto, style, and what we’re sure will be impressive test-track performance. It’s silly fun to drive; a hot-looking partner you’ll enjoy on your first date and never tire of. That storied master, the 911, has a new baby brother that’s got moves. Fortunately, the sports-car universe is big enough for both of them.