A new sports car from Porsche grabs the car world's attention, with every gearhead and driving enthusiast focused on the latest sinewy creation from Stuttgart, Germany.

The news was greeted joyously when the Boxster was unveiled a decade ago. The midengine roadster harked to Porsche race cars of the '50s, with crisp drivability and indisputable charm.

The 2006 Cayman S continues that development, with Porsche hitting all the right buttons with a gorgeous new sports coupe derived from the Boxster architecture. Cynics may look at Cayman S as an overhyped Boxster hardtop, but Cayman proves to be a lot more.

Performance rivals the base models of Porsche 911, with exceptionally balanced and responsive handling that allows Cayman S to charge through tight curves and roar away. In a tour of Arizona high country, Cayman showed off its unflappable poise, acing challenging turns and romping along narrow two-lane blacktops.

Priced midway between the $45,000 Boxster and $71,300 for the 911 Carrera Coupe, Cayman is designed to round out Porsche's offerings. But with style and performance nearing the 911, it could cannibalize sales of the company's hallmark sports car. On the other hand, once you add on Cayman's expensive options, the price can quickly pass 911's base price.

A less-potent, non-S Cayman was recently announced by Porsche starting at under $50,000.

Of course, the key element with any Porsche is the fun factor, which Cayman delivers in spades. Great to drive and great to be seen driving.

Vehicle type: Two-passenger, two-door coupe, rear-wheel drive.

Engine: 3.4-liter horizontally opposed 6, 295-horsepower at 6,250 rpm, 251 pound-feet torque at 4,400 rpm.

Transmission: 6-speed manual.

Wheelbase: 95.1 inches.

Overall length: 172.1 inches.

Curb weight: 2,954 pounds.

EPA rating: 20 city, 28 highway.

Highs: Awesome handling, engine power, styling.

Lows: Small and fussy dash buttons, tight cockpit, pricey with options.