Porsches Cayman S Should Handle Better Than 911

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Porsches Cayman S Should Handle Better Than 911

Road and Track, Sep 2005

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Porsche Cayman S

Porsche Cayman S comparison

So when Porsche announced the production of a faster, hardtop version of the Boxster called the Cayman S, we took notice.

Compared with the Porsche Boxster, the big difference, of course, is that the Porsche Cayman S is a closed car, of which the sloping rear part is a hatch. Porsche engineers have retained the Porsche Boxster's strong floorpan without any modification for the Porsche Cayman S , with the unusual result that the closed car is only 11 lb. lighter than the comparable Porsche Boxster S. On the other hand, the Porsche Cayman S's torsional stiffness is 2.5 times higher than the Porsche Boxster S (which ranks as one of the structurally stiffest contemporary open cars), and only 5 percent lower than the Porsche 997-Series Porsche 911 Carrera. The beam stiffness is also doubled compared with the roadster's.

The Porsche Cayman S's powertrain is basically the same as the Boxster S's, the most significant difference being that the water-cooled flat-6 engine's capacity has been increased to 3.4 liters by way of a 3-mm-larger cylinder bore. It uses Porsche VarioCam Plus valve gear (as seen on the Porsche 911), which provides variable valve timing and lift, improves torque over a wide rev band, saves fuel and meets emissions requirements worldwide, while bumping power to 295 bhp. Transmission choices include the Porsche Boxster S's 6-speed manual or a 5-speed Tiptronic automatic.

Stiffer spring rates and anti-roll bars with correspondingly adjusted damping rates (compared with the Porsche Boxster S), along with 18-in. wheels with 235/40ZR-18 front and 265/40ZR-18 rear tires (19s are an option), ideal weight distribution and a very rigid body structure lend promise that the Porsche Cayman S will be the best-handling street-legal Porsche ever, except possibly for the Porsche Carrera GT.

As far as straight-line performance, the Porsche Cayman S logically fits between the Porsche Boxster S and the Porsche 911 Carrera, as the official factory figures suggest: The Porsche Boxster S has 280 bhp; the Porsche Cayman S, 295; and the 911 Carrera 3.6, 325 bhp, producing 0-62-mph times of 5.5 seconds, 5.4 and 5.1, respectively, while the top speeds are 166.5, 171 and 177 mph.


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