Porsche Cayman 2.7 review, price and specs | evo

25 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Porsche Cayman 2.7 review, price and specs | evo

Porsche Cayman

Porsche Cayman

2.7 review, price and specs

The 2.7-litre base Porsche Cayman is over £9000 cheaper than the 3.4 Cayman S. The pick of the range?

What is it?

The 2.7-litre ‘base’ version of the new Porsche Cayman. When we drove the new Porsche Cayman S. we were simply blown away by the depth of its talents. With a starting price of £39,694, this 2.7’s cheaper than its 50bhp-beefier 3.4-litre brother by £9089, which sounds like good value.

Technical highlights?

The previous entry-level Cayman was powered by a 261bhp, 2.9-litre flat-six engine. For this new version peak power goes up 10bhp to 271bhp, despite the reduction in engine capacity to 2.7 litres. Being naturally aspirated, the rev limiter doesn’t call time until 7800rpm, but the downside is that peak torque drops 7lb ft to 214lb ft, delivered between 4500 and 6500rpm.

Like the ‘S’, this Cayman has been on a diet: thanks to 44 per cent of the body-in-white now being constructed from aluminium (including the front and rear wings, inner panels, doors, bonnet and rear hatch), kerb weight drops by 20kg to 1310kg, while torsional rigidity improves by an impressive 40 per cent.

Looks wise, the second-generation Cayman is a leap ahead of its predecessor, with much more muscular styling borrowed from the new mk3 Boxster’s appearance, itself inspired by the new 918 Spyder supercar. The Cayman is 33mm longer than before, yet with much shorter overhangs, the wheelbase stretches by 60mm to the benefit of dynamics. Front and rear track widths are up too, though the car itself isn’t actually wider.

As well as the weight loss, fuel economy benefits from improved operating efficicency, including better thermal management and a stop/start system, which is linked to either the standard six-speed manual (with heel-and-toe auto rev-match technology) or optional seven-speed PDK paddleshift gearbox. The latter boasts the best efficiency, with a claimed 36.7mpg and 180g/km of CO2 emissions, though while PDK yields the quickest 0-60 time (5.6sec), manual shift Caymans have the best top speed, at 165mph.

What’s it like to drive?

As you’d expect, the new engine loves revs, and you need plenty of them for it to do its best work, but it sounds good even without the sports exhaust option. The standard manual is about as much fun as you can have with three pedals and a lever, so there’s little need for PDK. Its throttle-blipper on downshifts (when you spec Sport Chrono and have got ‘Sport Plus’ activated) works so perfectly that it could make even the most ham-fisted driver look like a pro.

With a near-perfect 46/54 front/rear weight distribution, it’s the balance of the Cayman’s chassis that shines through as you push it harder. But breaking the vice-like grip of the 265/35 rear tyres fitted to optional 20in wheels is next to impossible in the dry, not helped by the lack of torque from the smaller engine, or the ridiculously long gearing (this manual car can hit an indicated 82mph in second gear!).

I come away wishing our test car had been wearing the standard 18in wheels, as hopefully they give the driver a fighting chance of exploiting the brilliant chassis. Adding two inches to their diameter does the car a disservice in every area other than looks. Go for a smaller size and you get more deformation, more movement, more interaction and a more natural grip-to-power ratio.

As it is, you can’t help but rag this Cayman hard because it’s so capable, but don’t expect to match the claimed fuel economy if you do

How does it compare?

At 40 grand, the Cayman rivals the 268bhp, £35,905 Audi TTS or a more lavishly specced 326bhp, £35,050 Nissan 370Z GT. though it’s a far more resolved drivers’ car than both and actually causes problems for its big brother, the 345bhp, £71,449 Porsche 911 Carrera .

The Cayman may be well ahead of it dynamically, but the Alfa Romeo 4C (237bhp/£45,000) challenges the comparatively staid German for glamour and personality, and will probably win buyers with its mini-supercar looks and carbon chassis tub alone. The Lotus Exige S V6 (345bhp, £53,850) is a rarer and far more hardcore alternative to the Porsche, while two new rivals lie around the corner via Alpine and Caterham ’s mid-engined sports car tie-up.

Anything else I need to know?

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