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    Year 4 Cayman S Report

    My 987 Cayman S is 4 years old next month so I thought I’d jot down my experiences and thoughts so far.  Its quite an essay so here's the quick version - I still love and don't know what to replace it with.

    IMG_0401.jpg

    To set the scene, the car is a Gen II MY10 987 Cayman S in Basalt Black, with Black Partial Leather interior and 18” rims (I hate the effect the 19” has on ride and handling).  Options were:

    TPMS -what a fantastic system but it should really be standard.

    LSD

    PASM

    Xenons - very expensive but good

    Sport Chrono – I have mixed feelings on this

    Short shift - makes a superb gearshift slightly more awkward but then is so much more rewarding to use.  Its funny how some people prefer the rewards from of mastering something difficult the ease of something technically superior.  A sideshow to the manual vs  PDK argument I guess.

    Bose – powerful but a bit heavy handed.  Fine in a car though.

    Sports Seats – soooo comfy and better than the 986/981 in my view

    Crests

    Coloured Wheel Centres

    Floor Mats

    Universal Audio Interface.  £70 for a 3mm jack plug socket is daylight robbery and its poorly integrated.  I also had to go out and buy a cable to connect my IPOD up.  So a bit disappointing but it works adequately.

    I also thought about full leather and PCM but whilst I could afford them, I didn’t really want to spend £10,000 on options for a £44,000 car.  Not getting the leather leaves me with a slight regret but apart from IPOD control, the PCM doesn’t provide any functionality I need or want.  And £2000 for an IPOD controller is not justifiable!  The Aux In and shuffle are adequate.  In Nov 2010 I also bought a spare set of 18” rims with winter tyres.

    The car has clocked up 33,000 miles of very mixed driving and nothing has gone wrong. Journeys have included long motorway hauls, commuting 30 miles a day and most importantly blasts across back roads, moors and mountains.  It hasn't been tracked though because circumstance has seen my odd outing borrowing another car.

    IMG_0393.jpg

    Before going into the minutiae of the ownership experience, I must state that this is a fantastic driver’s car and I am still really pleased with it.  I love the turn in, balance, grip, etc and I get a huge buzz from all driving it hard.  Yet it is a comfy car to commute in or take for a long haul trip on the motorway.  The consummate all rounder, just as a Porsche should be. 

    The engine is wonderful with enough torque low down and high end power to make driving both easy and fun.  It also sounds fantastic (best Porsche sound from that era apart from the GT3 IMHO).  The only niggle is an occasional flatspot at about 1800rpm on full throttle openings, which is more pronounced in Sport mode.  Porsche were pretty useless trying to fix it and some internet research shows quite a few owners have experienced it.  I’ve learnt to drive around it now but occasionally it still catches me out and is not much fun if you’re trying to overtake. 

    Whilst I think the handling is mostly fabulous, there is a little bit to nit pick on.  Firstly Sport Chrono and yes, the Chrono bit is both ugly and useless.  The Sport mode annoys me a bit too.  I find the normal mode throttle response a bit languid and the sport mode too aggressive.  To be honest I don’t really want the choice and I would much rather have a single setting half way between the two that balances speedy response and metered input.  Then the relaxed Sport mode’s PSM threshold still isn’t relaxed enough, particularly on the traction control.  Plus the fact, I would rather it was in the relaxed setting permanently.  If we’re going to have these functions, it would be far superior if they were individually selectable and sticky.

    PASM is a very good system but the way its set up is not quite perfect.  Normal mode is wonderfully compliant but not reactive enough to opportunistic changes in driving style.  If you tootling along and suddenly get a mile of clear road to have a blat down, the first half mile has too much body roll and then when you ease off, you have a crashy ride for a while.  Sport mode is ridiculously firm for the UK and pretty much unusable unless doing go to jail speeds.  I like the concept of choice but I think it needs a mid point for ffast road use.  Ironically this is probably around the standard steel suspension level. 

    Interestingly, there was an article recently where a Porsche engineer stated that PASM would be better if it had a single algorithm but the market demands the choice of normal and sport, which compromises the system.  As the market dictates we must have choice, I wonder if it would be better without the continuous variability and you simply select a fixed damping rate that you want.

    The other problem with PASM is that in Sport mode, the car is far too prone to understeer.  The LSD probably makes things worse but this is the problem with too much choice – there is no single optimised setting.  If the car’s turn in has been optimised in Normal mode that seems a bit pointless.  Anyway, I am thinking of trying some geometry changes to see if it can be improved and I have also been contemplating some PSS10 coilovers (if anyone has done this on a Cayman S please let me know your thoughts).  But the LSD is a superb addition.  I was lucky enough to try 2 cars back to back at Porsche Silverstone, one with and one without.  The LSD adds so much stability at speed and traction out of slow corners.  The traction still isn’t as exploitable as the 911 but I love the more aggressive turn in of the mid engined car

    IMG_0395.jpg

    Steering feel is reasonable and a damn sight better than the 981/991 EPAS but I still find it a bit mute and would prefer the linear rack of the 986

    Winter tyres have impressed me.  This is the first time I’ve had them and I’ll probably always have them now, if for no other reason than the look of astonishment on 4x4 driver’s faces when you overtake them in the snow.  Priceless!  Oh, and the hilarious lack of grip when its warm.  I didn’t think it was possible to drift at such slow speeds in a Porsche.

    If anyone is worried that I am a complete loon overtaking 4x4s in the snow please understand that very few people in the UK are used to driving in the snow and walking pace seems to be the acceptable speed to many.

    So at 4 years old, the question of what next starts to rear its financially ruinous and ugly head.  This is tricky because I’ve driven Porsches for nearly 20 years but I really dislike the 981/991.  I’ve gone into the reasons in detail elsewhere but it revolves around the steering and size/wheelbase increase.  The GT3 would suggest that steering could be improved with software updates (perhaps not rectified) and rear wheel steer would enhance agility.  But the cars are just too big for my taste (parking is a nightmare where I work and sometimes I can get in the space but not open my door).  Factor in other annoyances like the handbrake, seats that give me back ache and I think its doubtful that I’ll be driving new Porsche.

    There is no obvious car on the market that provides the mix of sporting brilliance, analogue feel, compactness, daily usability and reliability/quality of the 987/997, which leaves me in a bit of a quandary.   Factor in the possibility that I might me getting a company car, which has to have a minimum of 4doors/4 seats and perhaps a 2 car solution would be better – mildly sporting daily driver and hardcore weekend toy. 

    The daily driver might be the easier decision because the soon to be revealed Alpina D3 is of considerable interest ( I am having a taster test driving the B3 tomorrow).  But what sports car to accompany it?  The Singer, 997 GT3 or new Lotus Exige S V6 would be lovely but the budget won’t stretch to those, which leaves Elise (I loved my old S1), Caterham (a car I’ve always wanted to own but never signed on the dotted line), current Cayman S with PSS10 or perhaps a 993…

    Anyway, its all a bit moot because for the moment I am more than happy to keep the Cayman in its current form. 


    --

    Gen II Cayman S


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    GR:

    I still love and don't know what to replace it with.

    Make a test drive with a new Cayman, and you'll find out what to replace it with Smiley


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    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    SportCarGroup:

    Make a test drive with a new Cayman, and you'll find out what to replace it with Smiley

    Sorry - already driven it and I'm not very keen.  As an aside, 991 and 981 are still a very rare sight in the UK and I haven't yet seen a single 981 Cayman S on the road.  Sales must be pretty slow.


    --

    Gen II Cayman S


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    SportCarGroup:
    GR:

    I still love and don't know what to replace it with.

    Make a test drive with a new Cayman, and you'll find out what to replace it with Smiley

    Don't replace it. If you love the car as much as we did our 06 Boxster S then keep it. Don't be tempted to change it even if you think the new Cayman is better. We've never really satisfactorily replaced our much loved and much missed Boxster. We don't even have the same emotion about our current 997/2, great car that it undoubtedly is.


    --

     

    Porsche 997 Carrera S PDK Aqua Blue / Black - Skoda Octavia Mk.3 daily drive


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    Really great write up GR! Thanks very much!


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    Great write up. Just enjoy your Cayman S, Porsche ownership gets really expensive when you always need to have the latest model.


    --

    2012 Cayenne S White/Espresso 

    Ex: 993 Targa, 986S, 986 and 964 C2


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    Thank you GR for sharing your experience with the Cayman S.

    • I have a feeling that you analyse things too much (see PASM for example) and if you do that with most aspects of life you reduce your enjoyment.   You are an analytical and educated driver but ultimately tou allow things that in others go unoticed , to bother you. The enemy of the good is always the better.

     

    • If you like this car more than the new models, just keep it. These cars last for a very long time even in wet Britain if properly garaged,  and they don't get out of style like a BMW for  example. It it no shame not to have the latest model. On the contrary owning an older car from a famous marque adds more style and a feelgood element.  Maintaining an older sportscar is much cheaper than jumping to the new models. I've been to many workshops that maintain old Porsches (from the UK to California) and all owners are so enthusiastic and passionate. Something you don't see in a PC dealing only in new cars.

     


    --

    "Form follows function"


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    GR:

    ...
    ...  Factor in other annoyances like the handbrake, seats that give me back ache and I think its doubtful that I’ll be driving new Porsche.
    ...

    Thank you for that very detailed report.  It's a great read and your car looks fantastic - I especially like the how well the 18" wheels look and flow with the body style of the 987.

    I have one question though, if you care to enlighten me.  I too do get quite a lot of back ache from driving the 981.  While it must be the seats it has not dawned on me what it really is.  I am surprised to read that I'm not the only one who experiences this nuisance and even more that this appears to be a phenomenon completely unknown in the 987.  Why is t that?  And what is it?  What is the difference in between the seats of the two model generations?  I'd like to know and understand more about it.

    Many thanks.


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

     Anyway, I am thinking of trying some geometry changes to see if it can be improved and I have also been contemplating some PSS10 coilovers (if anyone has done this on a Cayman S please let me know your thoughts).  But the LSD is a superb addition. 

    I have KW v3 suspension on my Boxster, which I fitted pretty much from new (chose standard suspension from the factory for this reason).  It was also set up for fast road/ track use by a Porsche suspension specialist over here.  It was a night & day difference - mine is not at all understeery (I also have LSD) and feels very agile and you feel a lot of detail through the wheel.  Under most circumstances I feel it is more compliant than the factory suspension - high frequency bumps being the only thing it doesn't seem to deal with well.  I really like it.


    --

    2011 987S, 1964 Type 1


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    Great write up! 

    I'm looking forward to my own Cayman too, taking delivery next week!

     


    Re: Year 4 Cayman S Report

    Thanks everyoen for your comments.  Its definitely a keeper unless I have to get a company car and then I have a dilema. 

    A quick update:   I've been on holiday taking in some of the best roads Yorkshire and Scotland have to offer.  It was fantastic and I honestly can't think of any other manufacturer who provides a sports car that can do a long haul followed by a back road blast with such aplomb.   Alas, my mate's camera broke so no photos but my wheels are matte black from brake dust.  BTW he was in a Jag XK8 and I was amazed how composed it was in the twisty stuff.  I had time to think about this because he was still holding me up

    Now I have an unusual new angle on manual vs PDK debate.  I was on a fantastic and very twisty B road in Yorkshire (Barnard Castle to Hexham) which required hundreds of gearchanges, with the upshot that my left hand was very slightly bruised at the end of it!  Perhaps its because I have got the short shift but I'm not complaining - it was an epic drive.

     

     


    --

    Gen II Cayman S


     
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