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2014 Cayman: Luxurious Redesign Loses Some Porsche Purity PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark Maynard   
Thursday, 20 March 2014 16:02

Photo Credit Creative Syndicate
The redesigned 2014 Cayman has about the same footprint as before but with a longer wheelbase and a slightly wider
front track.

2014 Porsche Cayman S

• Body style: compact, two-seat, rear-wheel-drive coupe with aluminum doors

• Engine: 325-horsepower, direct-injection 3.4-liter flat six-cylinder; 272 foot-pounds torque at 4,500 rpm; auto stop-start at idle

• Transmission: 7-speed PDK; standard 6-speed manual• 0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds manual, 4.6 PDK and 4.4PDK Sport Chrono
• Fuel economy: 21/30 mpg city/hwy; premium
• Fuel tank: 16.9 gallons
• Trunk space, total: 15 cubic feet; 5.3 cubic feet front, 9.7, rear
• Front head/leg/shoulder room: inches
• Length/wheelbase: 172.4/97.4 inches
• Curb weight: 2,976 pounds
• Turning circle: 36 feet
• Standard equipment includes: sport steering wheel, automatically extending rear spoiler, universal audio interface, Bluetooth phone connectivity, bi-xenon headlights, 7-inch color touchscreen, 4-speaker audio system, floor mats
• Safety features include: Eight air bags, stability management, anti-slip regulation, automatic brake differential, ABS, brake assist and brake ready
• Base price: $64,750, including $950 freight charge; price as tested $97,890

To the driver of the classy, black Carrera Cabriolet that seemed intent to drive up the quad pipes of the Porsche Cayman S test car: I can do better.

I'd just gotten behind the wheel of the tester and was driving reservedly along a twisty road with one hand steadying a busted vacuum cleaner in the passenger seat.

But even with just one hand on the wheel, the Cayman S is an apex nail gun.

This two-seater is at its best with Sport Plus activated and the flat-six engine cranked to 5,000 rpms in second gear. The engine song is intoxicating, but there are some sobering discrepancies.

The Cayman is new for 2014, following last year's redesign of the Boxster roadster. The coupe is virtually the same footprint as before but with a longer wheelbase and a slightly wider front-wheel stance or track. The distance is 1.4 inches wider and about equal with the rear track at 60.6. And the new body style is also 60 pounds lighter with shorter overhangs and larger wheels. (The 97.4-inch wheelbase is an inch longer than the 911 Carrera's.)

And there are new options, including Adaptive Cruise Control ($2,170), a specially developed Burmester soundinfotainment system ($6,730), and keyless entry and pushbutton ignition.

The basic Cayman ($53,550) has the new 275-horsepower, 2.7-liter, which is 0.2-liter smaller but with 10-horsepower more and a 200-rpm higher rev limit at 7,400 rpm. It takes 5.4 seconds to go from 0-60 mph with the six-speed manual, 5.3 with PDK automatic transmission, and 5.1 with PDK Sport Chrono. Fuel economy is up to 32 mpg on the highway with the PDK and 30 with the six-speed manual.

The Cayman S ($64,750) with 325-horsepower 3.4-liter has 5 horsepower more than last year. It takes 4.7 seconds to go from 0-60 mph in the manual, 4.6 PDK and 4.4 PDK Sport Chrono

The S tester was $97,890, which is nearly $20,000 more than the average transaction price of $80,000. Porsche is masterful at offering accessories.

The new styling pulls the base of the windshield forward and stretches the roofline farther rearward into more of a fastback. It's an appealing power statement, but, somehow, the car is less playful to drive. A seat-of-the-pants Porsche purity was lost in the redesign.

The credentials are impeccable, the shift points instantaneous, the handling precise and enabling. But it's just too luxurious now.

The cabin and paintwork have refinement expected of an $80,000 luxury car. But the Cayman isn't the rebel it was and it needs another 50 horsepower to give it identity. But that would tread on 911 turf.

Porsche Torque Vectoring ($1,320) can be a practical driver aid in cornering or wet and snow, but I sensed the electro-mechanical steering wasn't as crisp and direct in accepting small inputs to stay on the revs or the apex. I wasn't getting that telepathic bond with the machine that helps the driver know where the wheels are placed and how the suspension is unwinding. Sometimes in the daily drive, the tester felt almost appliancelike -- soundproofed and behaved.

That will help sell a lot of Caymans in the U.S., but can this Porsche be too polished? Mark Maynard is online at mark.maynard@utsandiego. com. Find photo galleries and more news at MaynardsGarage

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 16:11