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    My Cayman S review

    Last week I contacted mcdelaug (another Houston based member) and we decided to contact the Houston dealers for a test drive. Momentum Porsche was out (sold out) and Advantage Porsche had one left in the lot. After taking to the sales manager Carlos (very nice guy) we decided to meet up there this morning and take one for a spin.

    First off I should thank Carlos' generosity because they had only one left in the show room and while I was waiting for mcdelaug he turned down 2 customers that requested test drive.

    Once the place was clear he pulled the car out of the show room and gave us the key and just begged us not to put too many miles on it, the car had 28 miles on it. The specs were as follows: 18", no SportChrono, standard breaks, Seal Grey/Black, standard steering wheel, 6 speed.

    Mcdelaug took the driver seat first and we left the dealer very slowly and cautiously. Mcdelaug drove one way and I drove the way back which was in total around 20 miles; 10 miles each way. I let mcdelaug write his review.

    But as far as my thoughts on the Cayman S. I will compare it to my 2000 996. The car looks very nice and in proportion the acceleration from the get go is, if not better, as good as my 996. It sounds as good as my car with PSE; the engine's sound from out side is very throaty and sporty but from inside you hardly hear the beautiful roar.

    I noticed the mid-engine set up right away since the car felt more in balance than my car (please remember I'm comparing it to a 2000 996 not 997 or 997S). My engine and Cayman's engine are both 3.4L but I could immediately notice the throttle response which I believe is due to VarioCam Plus. The steering is very very tight and precise much more nimble and responsive than my 996. Gears and clutch felt much better than my car too. The gear change was very direct and precise no hiccups what so ever, better than the 996 too. Breaking was absolutely great I would say up to par with the 996.

    Since we drove it in the HWY I can't talk about the turns, twists and so forth but it sure felt more solid than the 996 and I believe that it is due to it's smaller size and for sure the reinforced body roll and rigidity. But I could tell that the first and second gears were quite long, if some after market tuner can shorten the gears (1 and 2 only) this car will be a killer. But overall not bad at all.

    In general if I had the option of buying a 911 (996) or the Cayman S I would pick the Cayman S hands down.

    Porsche needs to pump some more horsepower to this bad boy. I know we had many discussions regarding this but this car needs a bit more HP I would go for even 335hp and price it at 997. Anyway, I don't mean to start another 10 page threat on this, PLEASE.

    Likes:
    Pretty much everything

    Dislikes:
    The driver seat was too close to the steering for me even though I pushed it all the way back (I'm 6'2").

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Nice review, Ron. I think a 3.8L would makes those gear ratios feel just right

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Nice review Ron.

    It's just a great car in its own right.....not a 911 replacement and not just a Boxster with a hard top. I think we all were a little leery of Porsche's original explanation of the car.....but the more I think about it.....they hit it spot on.

    I think sometimes we lose the fact that all of Porsche's cars are pretty close in performance and excellence, so when a new one enters the fray we look for it to be a huge standout in some way. It's just good to know that Porsche DID come up with another winner to match its other successes.

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    Grant said:
    Nice review, Ron. I think a 3.8L would makes those gear ratios feel just right



    Yeah, I was at my dealer last weekend, and he reminded me of the forum chatter on the CaymanS tuned with the 997S powerplant, I guess it fits in nicely, and the electronics is similar. But what about the 6.0L V10 Carrera GT engine? Would that baby fit?

    Re: My Cayman S review

    I just wanted to add my subjective thoughts about the Cayman after driving it today. And I should thank Ron for waiting patiently while I made my way around an accident while driving to the dealer.

    As for my point of reference, and potential source of bias; I've put 8200 miles on my 987S since July '05.

    Getting into the Cayman from the 987S felt like sitting in a slightly more cramped version of my car. This feeling is purely psychological due to the closed roof, as everything in the interior from the seats forward is identical with a few exceptions: the instrument surround has a small, arched cutout at its peak and there is no top opening mechanism or associated switches. But otherwise everything you see and touch is the same as the 987S. And this is a good thing, because the layout is logical and unobtrusive. My point is Porsche did very little to distinguish the two vehicles on the inside.

    What about the hatchback? And the small deck behind the seats? Well, it's there, and theoretically it does add a few cubic feet of storage space. But I doubt that many drivers would use much of it. The area is defined by a metal brace at its front, and a mesh netting secured at each of its corners. One could very safely carry an attache or something a little larger here. But objects which could not be held under the netting would partially obstruct your view rearward and possibly pose a safety risk in the event of an accident. I think if the Cayman S were my daily driver, I would still be stuffing groceries into its two trunks, and not get much use out of the hatchback.

    Anyway, what about the exterior? When looking at Cayman photos, I had always been irritated by the Audi-like foglamps. But I had really liked the Cayman's standard wheels and spoiler. In person, the foglamps are integrated quite well into the front fascia. I think most photos are taken from an angle that accentuates them far too much. But when standing near the car, or looking at it from nearby, they are not nearly as obtrusive. In fact, I think the foglmaps provide some balance to the Cayman front fascia's more aggressive center cutout. So that at least, was nice to see. The wheels however, were a little bit of a disappointment. They look good, but not quite as good as I had hoped. The flat surface profile of the spokes came away as a little boring to me, but then I really enjoy the complex curvs of my Carrera Classics...what can I say? I still think the Cayman has the best 18" wheels Porsche offers right now, and if I needed winter tires in Houston(uh, no!), that's what I'd order them on.

    Without a doubt, the best view of this car is the rear 3/4. The compound curve of the rear fenders, and the spoiler are very well done. Combined they make the rear of this car a sight to behold. It is simultaneously aggressive and sexy. When you see it you will understand, if this hasn't come across in photos already.

    By this time, the car was idling and we were ready to drive. Outside the car at idle, the Cayman has a slightly more throaty exhaust note than the 987S. I think it has been purposefully tuned to sound much like the 911; even here Porsche is careful with their product placement. Inside the car, the exhaust note at idle is quite muted, but later, with full throttle acceleration it had a raspy metallic edge that comes through the cabin very well. At less than 3000rpm, if you're just cruising on the highway, the engine noise is a pleasant background sound. Get on the throttle, and you're rewarded with an insistent, metallic rasp all the way to the redline. It sounds good. Compared to my 987S?...well, as a driver my favorite will still be the 987S with the top down. That way I get to hear everything, with no intervening glass or top. But I think the Cayman has the more aggressive sound at idle, and sounds at leat as good as my car with its top up.

    As for driving...well no one comes to Houston for the technical challenges of our roads. I mean, the land is flat, there's a lot of traffic and the scenery is frankly boring. But we weren't gonig to pass up an opportunity to drive the car either. Ron graciously let me drive first, so I gently pulled out of the parking lot. The pedal placement, pedal effort (including the clutch) and "depth" of the clutch were absolutely the same as in my car. And although we didn't have any way of objectively measuring, the acceleration seemed no different than my 987S either. I'm aware of the issue of the Cayman's gearing supposedly being adapted to the the 3.4l engine. But I wonder how many drivers would spontaneously report a difference between the Cayman and the 987S if they didn't know about this already? I really couldn't detect any difference between the two.

    I can't really comment on cornering because we didn't have an opportunity to get anywhere close to the car's potential during our drive. But I will say this. The hardtop really does make a difference in terms of body flex and rigidity. My 987S always feels stable, but under some conditions (like turning in, where you have both braking and steering) the flex in the body is detectable. You never see or hear anything moving, but you sense the suspension reacting to the slight body position changes as the accelerative forces on the car change. The Cayman does a much better job of controlling this; even in the small amount of time we had it was noticeable.

    Braking was more than adequate for our driving conditions, and I never had an opportunity to see whether the Cayman behaves any differently than the 987S under severe braking.

    I pulled over to let Ron drive, and with him at the wheel, my initial perception of the Cayman was reinforced. Driving on public roads, it will be nearly impossible to separate the driving experience of the 987S and Cayman S. I know that will seem logical to many, but it needs to be said. The track may be a different matter, as the increase in body rigidity makes a real difference in one's perception of stability, even if there is little objective difference in skidpad figures or track times.

    Which would I buy today? Well, I would certainly get more use out of the convertible top than I would out of the hatchback or diminished body flexion, especially for the 5-6K price difference. But that's just me. You may feel differently. After driving the Cayman, I think a lot of the discussion we've had on rennteam is kind of unnecessary. If the 987S had been created second, and was called the Cayman cabriolet, I think many of the rants would have not existed. Or at least no more than they do for "911 coupe vs 911 cab" The cars are really that similar. Only the backwards price differential and different name encourages this.

    Overall the Cayman is a fine car. And if you want a relatively affordable mid engine vehicle that you can drive to work and take to the track 1 or 2 weekends a month this is probably the right car for you. But if like me, you spend a lot of your weekends with a significant other enjoying nice weather, then the 987S is the better choice.

    Visually the Cayman looks better in person than in photos, as it is a nicely integrated package. And it seems to be selling well, at least in this early pohase of production. Ordered today, we couldn't have one until May.

    When would I buy one? Well, Ron and I chatted about this some. My hope is that this is Porsche's first salvo at Ferrari and Lamborghini's dominance of the mid engine performance car market. When a Cayman is avilable that has the same power as the 997S or 997TT, even if it is priced similarly, then I'll be interested. Until then I will be a Boxster S customer.

    Ron: I had a good time today, thanks for letting me tag along!

    mcdelaug

    Re: My Cayman S review

    PASM <?>

    tino

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    Without a doubt, the best view of this car is the rear 3/4. The compound curve of the rear fenders, and the spoiler are very well done. Combined they make the rear of this car a sight to behold. It is simultaneously aggressive and sexy. When you see it you will understand, if this hasn't come across in photos already.





    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    mcdelaug said:
    Driving on public roads, it will be nearly impossible to separate the driving experience of the 987S and Cayman S. I know that will seem logical to many, but it needs to be said. The track may be a different matter,



    I think Bob Chapman in April 2006 excellence magazine supports your observation. Here's what he had to say:

    "During the 75-mile drive that becomes 95 miles, several things crystallize. First, the Cayman S's 3.4-liter, 295-hp flat six is a gem. Even in the lower rev range, its torque is substantial. Even better, the torque curve still has a spike in store, which comes as it sweeps past 3500 rpm. As for the sound, it's sublime - more guttural than either of the 987 Boxster motors. --- That said, there's not much to separate the Cayman S from a similarly equipped Boxster S in the context of city driving and slightly-spirited rural driving. That's no bad thing, though - it just means the Cayman S is similarly excellent in every way."

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Great reviews, guys!

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Very nice review mcdelaug . Great coverage of interior and driving experiece compare to your 987S.

    I enjoyed the test drive with you immensely we need to do that more often, may be when the turbo becomes available .

    Re: My Cayman S review

    The difference between the 987s and the Cayman aren't really detectable at slower speeds (maybe feels a bit stiffer), but get the revs up and lean on the chassis and it's worth the difference in price for the engine alone. At 4/10th's the cars aren't different, but at 8 or 9th's the Cayman justifies it price. Also the 987S runs out of speed at 100 mph, the Cayman keeps on pulling. I can't imagine you'd find much difference on the streets and slow roads.

    As a ex-onwer of a 996 the 987S felt slow and dull, the Cayman had much more urge to rev and felt like the 911 996 engine had been transplanted in Cayman, not the case with the 987S.

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    Turbo Al said:
    But what about the 6.0L V10 Carrera GT engine? Would that baby fit?



    Nice hot rod. Do you think we could get TechArt to paint lightning-bolts on the sides?

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    bubblegum said:
    The difference between the 987s and the Cayman aren't really detectable at slower speeds (maybe feels a bit stiffer), but get the revs up and lean on the chassis and it's worth the difference in price for the engine alone. At 4/10th's the cars aren't different, but at 8 or 9th's the Cayman justifies it price. Also the 987S runs out of speed at 100 mph, the Cayman keeps on pulling. I can't imagine you'd find much difference on the streets and slow roads.

    As a ex-onwer of a 996 the 987S felt slow and dull, the Cayman had much more urge to rev and felt like the 911 996 engine had been transplanted in Cayman, not the case with the 987S.



    The 3.4-liter 996 engine and the 3.4-liter Cayman S engine seem very similar not withstanding VarioCam Plus on the Cayman engine. Both share the same bore (96.0 mm) and stroke (78.0 mm). The 996 made 296 hp to the Cayman S's 295 hp, however; the 996 made max power at 6800 rpm instead of 6250 rpm for the Cayman. The 996 made 258 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm, and Cayman makes 251 lb-ft of torque from 4400 rpm to 6000 rpm.

    Re: My Cayman S review

    nice review guys and like you after tryin the cayman , i think the boxster has more to offer in term of a convertible car....

    Re: My Cayman S review


    Shock horror!

    Boxster owner says he prefers his own car !!!!!!

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    bubblegum said:

    Shock horror!

    Boxster owner says he prefers his own car !!!!!!


    We've been round that one before I think. Feeling insecure again?

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Great reviews. No pics of the Seal Grey Cayman...??.

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Hi Steve,

    I saw Ron's camera in his car, but not sure if he took photos or not...

    mcdelaug

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    mcdelaug said:
    Hi Steve,

    I saw Ron's camera in his car, but not sure if he took photos or not...

    mcdelaug



    Sorry no pix, I totally forgot about the camera .

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Thanks for the writeup Ron!
    Very nice.
    So would you actually consider one?

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    Fanch said:
    Thanks for the writeup Ron!
    Very nice.
    So would you actually consider one?



    Sorry but no .

    Re: My Cayman S review

    FWIW, I would possibly consider one, but would wait for PDK and/or LSD, if they ever become available. My main criticism is that the rear hatch area - it just isn't practially shaped enough. A good step in the right direction, certainly, but I think that as Porshce has made all that effort to make a hatch coupe, they could have pushed the design towards actually making more use of the hatch, rather than dwelling on the shape of the rear haunches. The Cayman is still a great looking car though.

    Re: My Cayman S review

    I considered one and will pick it up on Friday if there isn't snow and ice on the roads.

    Re: My Cayman S review

    thanks to the two guys from houston for the nice reviews!

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Nice review, thanks!!

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Great reviews guys...yep, wtsnet, LSD is one of the main things that Top Gear identified is missing on the Cayman S. But I guess P wants to make sure that the 911 range has some advantages to justify the higher price tag.

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    easy_rider911 said:
    Great reviews guys...yep, wtsnet, LSD is one of the main things that Top Gear identified is missing on the Cayman S. But I guess P wants to make sure that the 911 range has some advantages to justify the higher price tag.



    Well, for the U.S. market it makes no difference since we don't get the LSD option on the 911 .

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Quote:
    Ron (Houston) said:
    Quote:
    easy_rider911 said:
    Great reviews guys...yep, wtsnet, LSD is one of the main things that Top Gear identified is missing on the Cayman S. But I guess P wants to make sure that the 911 range has some advantages to justify the higher price tag.



    Well, for the U.S. market it makes no difference since we don't get the LSD option on the 911 .


    Guess we need to spend a bit more and get the GT3

    Re: My Cayman S review

    Unless you're going to track the car the option of having LSD isn't going to make any difference to road driving

     
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