So is the Cayman better than the 911?
Call me old fashioned but I love the 911. It is for me the ultimate car, a sports machine which looks as good as it goes.
And while I can understand why this manufacturer has broadened its horizons with a range of spectacular family cars and sporty SUVs I think I would find the two-seater “neun elf” as the natives call it perfectly good.
It wouldn’t be an everyday car but what’s the problem with that? If you can afford enough shillings for a Porsche, surely you can shell out for more humble wheels for mundane motoring.
Well, Porsche don’t see it that way. It is a jealous brand which would rather have you set behind the Stuttgart crest all the time and after some time in various Porsches I am a little persuaded.
I’m with the 718 family today. For those not in the know, this denotes two models – the Boxster convertible and the Cayman coupe.
Tested here is the coupe, which is often regarded as a poor man’s 911. Not so. It is in fact in some ways better than the 911. While it may not have the near iconic status of the 911, it is in some ways better.
It is not quite as big, which is a good thing. The 911 has grown over the years in common with most cars and has developed from a trim sports car into a muscular beast. It has the same teardrop shape but it has developed from being a simple car to being a rather sophisticated one.
So the relatively compact Cayman is arguably more true to the original 911 concept. It looks good – long, low and flat. It rides well and better drivers than I suggest it is equal to – or even better – than the 911.
The figures – 182mph and 0 to 60mph in 4.5 seconds – sound impressive but they don’t do it justice for the car has a unique sound. Not aggressive, particularly, but definitely sporty.
GT4 indicates that this car is based on the sports car racing series. Porsche say it is “the perfect sports car for those who like to push the limits” and is for those “who take fun seriously”.
Having said that it isn’t as brutal in styling or drivability as some high-performance Porsches. It hints at its ability with subtle air intakes and aprons. It has adaptive sports suspension and an adjustable wing for stability. Inside, it isn’t as spartan as some weight-conscious sports cars demand. It does have unusual canvas door pulls.
Now at £75,000 it is hardly a cheap car but compared to a 911 which starts at £82,000 and in reality would set you back £100,000, it is cost-effective. It is not quite a loss leader but Porsche won’t make a fortune from this model.
Around the Nurburgring it is some 12 seconds quicker than the previous GT4 but on the road it is smoother riding. It is in fact more civilised than before, yet still incredibly quick. A “perfectly irrational” car in Porsche’s words.
Since its debut in 2005, Cayman has earned a reputation as a driver's car among owners and fans alike. Now, the new 718 Cayman aims to once more set the class benchmark for driving performance.
Like the Boxster, the new 718 Cayman models continue the tradition of the Porsche mid-engined sports cars that won numerous races in the 1950s and 1960s, powered by four-cylinder 'boxer' engines.
It is a good year for Porsche. In the first nine months of this year the brand sold more than 200,000 cars worldwide, up 13 per cent on the previous year.
Cayenne remains the most successful model, with 62,451 examples delivered, followed by the Macan with 61,944, a 12 per cent increase. The fully electric Taycan was also extremely popular, with 28,640 cars being delivered to customers. Now in its second full year on the market, it is on a par with the iconic 911 sports car, 27,972 of which were delivered in the first three quarters – an increase of 10 per cent. The Boxster and Cayman were purchased by 15,916 customers, which represents a rise of one per cent compared to the same period last year.
Porsche Cayman GT4
Price: £75,780 on the road. As tested it is £79,526. Range starts at £45,230
Engine: A 3,995cc six cylinder engine
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Performance: Top speed 182mph, 0 to 60mph in 4.5 seconds
Insurance: Group 49E
Warranty: Three years’ unlimited mileage