The first official photos and information on the 2006 Porsche Cayman S have finally surfaced. Based loosely on the Boxster S platform, the Cayman S replaces that model's soft top with a sleek hatchback roof. Other unique design elements include a more aggressive front fascia with integral foglights, more curvaceous rear quarters with slatted air inlets and a small lip spoiler that automatically rises at 75 mph to increase downforce. Standard wheels measure 18 inches, with 19s being optional.

The Cayman's interior features a unique instrument binnacle in front of the driver and a huge amount of luggage space behind, thanks to the hatchback body style. Combining the front trunk with the hatch's cargo bay yields 14.5 cubic feet of total luggage capacity.

Providing the speed is a midmounted flat six that displaces 3.4 liters and cranks out 295 horsepower. As on the 2005 Porsche 911 Carrera, the Cayman's engine is equipped with VarioCam Plus variable valve timing. This feature will contribute extensively to the Cayman's broad peak torque spread of 250 pound-feet between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm.

Porsche claims the Cayman S (with six-speed manual) will hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and run up to a top speed of 171 mph. That six-speed is the same one used in the Boxster S, but Porsche has recalibrated the shifter to provide shorter, more precise throws. Those who see more gridlock than Grand Prix-style roads will be pleased to know that a Tiptronic five-speed automanual is optional. Performance specs of the Tiptronic version are 5.8 seconds and 166 mph, respectively.

American sales are expected to begin in January of next year, starting at $58,900, following the Cayman's debut at this year's Frankfurt auto show.
(www.edmunds.com)