Porsche Cayman S: First Drive
Doing an encore with an all-new evolution of the original is a hard nut to crack. Many have tried in sincerity and haven’t attained that definitive step up the ladder. Whether that thought was paramount in the minds of the Porsche engineers at Weissach or not as they worked on the next generation Cayman but they just had to go after it, didn’t they? However, what was already manifest in the minds of the Cayman project team was not just to get the second generation Cayman various notches above the car to be replaced but in doing so they didn’t have to eclipse the iconic mother lode with which Porsche continues to be revered on an on-going basis – the Classic 911 in all its iterations!
The Cayman was born out of the iconic Boxster but it is not just about a Boxster given a roof. The very essence of Porsche having learnt from the 911 and made a few critical changes to Dr Ferdinand Porsche’s original design has made the Cayman achieve a balance of poise and grip which were always against the 911 trying to alter the laws of physics with its rear engine layout. And let me qualify this at the very outset because the Cayman, unlike the 911, has its engine and tranny package located between the rear wheels rather than behind the rear axle line and this makes all the difference in the dynamic ability, control, poise, stability, turn-ion and what have you. Of course it is control that is so very much needed when you have a car that makes in excess of 300 horsepower (321 to be precise in the case of the Cayman S which we had with us for a magical mountain blast) and in every sense of the term the new Cayman S is perfection personified.
The raw details first before we get to put pedal to the floor and the new second gen Cayman has shed some bulk – 30 kilos but that’s been bettered by an increase of 5 additional horses in the case of the 3436cc flat-six that powers the Cayman S. If that’s not all, the boxer motor gets direct fuel injection, stop-start, intelligent charging of the battery under braking as well as on the over-run (just like in my BMW) and low resistance tyres. In fact, I was astonished to find that for India as well the new Cayman S comes with 40-profile rubber with 19-inch wheels no less but our test car came with 35-profile Pirellis wrapped around 20-inch alloys and even then I couldn’t keep marvelling on the quality of the ride they deliver, clearly highlighting the new chassis-suspension combo has improved the car from good to great by leaps and bounds. Key to this is a 60mm increase in the wheelbase which with the stiffer chassis makes the car even more nimble and can be chucked about with some verve. The enhanced wheelbase is further beefed up by an increase in the track widths; up front the track is now widened by 40mm to measure 1526mm while at the rear the increase is 12mm to clock in at 1621mm. This is also one of the key aspects to the strong stability of the new car which impresses with its superbly planted feel but without sacrificing agility in the least.