By Kelsey Mays on November 28, 2012
Stare at the Porsche Cayman for a while, and you realize this might be the best-looking Porsche in the automaker's lineup. I declared that when the first-gen Cayman hit dealerships in early 2006, and it's safe to say Porsche did it again.
This is no mere Boxster conversion. With its aggressive intake ports — nearly as gaping as the erstwhile Ferrari 360's — and trapezoidal center grille (psst! It's fake), the Cayman has simple flair. The taillights ape the Boxster's, with a cool bisecting fin that flows into a subtle tail-lid spoiler.
A lengthy center console joins the dashboard, and Porsche's tradition of taut leather and all-business aesthetic is on display. The console takes up some knee space, but the seats adjust to all manner of ranges, so tall drivers should still fit. Stick-shift cars have a heavy, deep clutch and medium, well-placed throws; like in the Boxster, the automatic gets proper left/right paddle shifters rather than Porsche's old forward/backward levers. I'm glad the automaker finally relented.
An under-hood storage compartment can swallow a healthy 5.3 cubic feet of space — the same as before — while the rear trunk area behind the engine can stow 9.7 cubic feet, up half a cubic foot over the last Cayman. Add it up, and you could easily fit a weekend's luggage for two, with extra belongings in two deep cubbies on the shelf behind the front seats.
With the PDK dual-clutch automatic — it stands for Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe, but you could also call it Pretty Damn Kwick — Porsche says the Cayman S hits 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds, making it as quick as the new 911 Carrera. The carmaker's mid-engine Cayman and Boxster sport near-unbelievable balance, and the latest Cayman should follow that pedigree.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey