By on June 7, 2010

300 plus horsepower, mid-engine sportscars are a rare breed. It stands to reason then, that they should be reviewed by someone who can put them into their rarefied context. The kind of reviewer who can tell you the subtle handling differences between each generation of the 911, and whose keyboard is stained with the oil of a hundred home-rebuilt crankcases. At the very least, they should be reviewed by the kind of people who get regular seat time in the unjustifiably potent mid-engined supercars that you’d have to purchase to one-up a mid-engine Porsche’s considerable capabilities. So what happens when a Porsche Cayman S ends up in the hands of someone who is used to getting their motoring kicks with a mass-market hatchback?

The obvious answer isn’t complicated [Ed: watch out for garage doors?]. Without a thorough knowledge of the Cayman’s competition, the only impression that lasts is a lingering soreness around the muscles that were forced to spend several days clenched into a shit-eating grin. If that’s good enough for you, then by all means, grab your checkbook and prepare to lighten it of the Cayman S’s $61,500 price of admission. After all, it’s just money.

Of course, that’s not how things work around here. Luckily, some of TTAC’s most experienced writers have already put the Cayman S through its paces, and can cogently compare the crocodilian coupe to its competition from within Zuffenhausen, and beyond. Their sage verdicts confirm what is fast becoming gospel for sportscar fans: the Cayman S is the Porsche for enthusiasts looking for more poise and less pose.

But here’s the catch: by gaining accolades from those in the know, the Cayman has developed its own brand of snob appeal. And luckily for Porsche, there are plenty of buyers who want to cash in on its enthusiast halo, whether they regularly drive past 7/10ths or not. Are these uninitiated post-posers in for the kind of nasty surprises that once made Porsche infamous for killing its clientele, and still keeps Lotus Elise ownership in the domain of hard-core anoraks?

Entering the low-slung coupe provides the first hint that Porsche’s junior coupe doesn’t ask as much from the driver as other “pure” enthusiast choices. Not only are entry and egress easily accomplished, but once seated, the Cayman is as intimidating as dachshund puppy. Sure, it’s low to the ground, but visibility is surprisingly unimpeded by its sloping fastback. The effect is a confidence-inspiring user-friendliness that makes the Cayman feel like it’s wrapped itself around before you even leave the lot.

Unfortunately, this intuitive, confidence-building impression is severely let down by the Cayman’s cockpit. Driving your first Porsche? You will instantly be aware of how little of your $60k+ went towards the interior materials. Of course, the Porsche is plush where it matters, namely in the seat and steering wheel departments. Otherwise, you’ll quickly start craving the aluminum simplicity of an Elise. Especially when you realize that your expensive navigation option is no more functional or appealing than the dour plastic that surrounds it.

Never mind the bollocks: you didn’t just snag the fastest mid-engine sportscar under $100k to be swathed in creature comforts. There are plenty of front-engine GT cars that can haul ass and keep you feeling wealthy without having to stare at the steering wheel’s Porsche badge (or, if you’re actually truly wealthy, paying Porsche to pimp your Cayman’s interior). What these cars won’t do, however, is inspire complete confidence from the moment you step into the heavily-weighted gas pedal, and trundle the thing out onto the road.

Around town, the Cayman’s compact stance and brilliant packaging make a surprisingly strong argument for the Cayman S as a daily driver. Not only does it hold more cargo than you’d ever guess (more, for example, than the Lexus IS250C we traded in for it), but it’s also handy in the tight car parks that fluster so many sexily-styled sportscars. In this era of high beltlines and ubiquitous back-up cameras, knowing where your corners are at all times is the ultimate luxury.

Of course, the Cayman S isn’t the perfect city car. The 320 horsies hanging out behind your back must be managed with a subtle right foot to keep the dual-clutch transmission from confusing your request for additional shove with the desire for a woofing visit to the 7200 RPM redline. The steering, though precise and ultimately well-weighted, will come off as a bit heavy and pointy to wannabe-enthusiasts raised on the overboosted helms of mass-market Americana.

The freeway onramp is the first chance to test the real reason you sprang for a Cayman S. With the transmission in drive, the first few gears clunk somewhat heavily into action, as 3.4 liters of flat-six grab the ground and throw it backwards, leaving the rapidly disappearing traffic to deal with the consequences. Entering a cloverleaf onramp faster than expected, the instincts tell you to ease up on the throttle as the suspension begins to load up.

Screw your instincts, you have more grip than you know what to do with. In fact, the scariest moment I ever experienced in my time with the Cayman S was on my first onramp, when adrenalin and self-preservation instincts quietly whispered that I should back off the throttle, which I did with all the grace of a newbie handling 300 horses. The PDK grabbed its accelerating gear, and lurched sickeningly. Lesson learned: never stop powering through that corner. I take a moment to thank my lucky stars that my first Porsche experience did not take place in the era of epic lift-off oversteer.

On the freeway, the Cayman S remains firmly planted and remarkably refined. Oh yes, and fast too. Speeds that I’d previously reached over long, straight distances in empty Eastern Oregon were suddenly possible in the short gaps between waves of Southern California traffic. And when another clot of Prii starts to fill the Cayman’s fishbowl windscreen, the brakes haul it back to legal speeds with equal nonchalance. If you’re a speed freak with a high tolerance, you might want to consider an extra several hundred horsepower. Or you could just read a good biography of James Dean.

After all, 320 hp is likely to be enough for most Cayman owners for the same reasons that keep most of them snorting their cocaine instead of cooking it into crack. The sad truth about cars like the Cayman S (and recreational drugs like cocaine) is that you typically find your limits long before you find the outer limits of their potent capabilities. And exploring those limits usually ends up more closely resembling work than any kind of actual recreation.

And that doesn’t just mean pushing the Cayman’s epic grip to the point where the ass-end slides so subtly that you’re not sure if you just imagined it. For one thing, try finding an empty, winding road in the Southern California area. After a few hours, you’ll be feeling the toothless desperation of a sidewalk spare-change hustler. And once you do find a tight ribbon of tarmac, you’ll be an invincible, king-of-the-road, canyon-carving hero… until you come up on another NSFWing Prius.

For those brief moments when the road is curving and empty, you’ll reach a level of connectedness to a machine that most people never feel. In fact, you’ll be so intoxicated by the experience, you won’t even realize how terrifying your pace was until you reluctantly let your passenger take the wheel. Suddenly disconnected from the telepathic steering, chortling oomph and effortless brakes, the experience couldn’t be more different. And terrifying. Like having someone clap their hands over your eyes while you’re driving a “normal” car. What more do you say about a car’s ability to communicate with the driver?

But then, I’d already read the paeans to the Cayman’s communication skills. I’d read about the crazed cornering speeds, the flattering flatness of the Cayman’s roadholding, the potent shove from its flat-six. And to be perfectly honest, it feels exactly how you’d imagine. Which is to say, lovely. More surprising: the fact that this car can turn a entertaining mountain blast into white-knuckle work without ever scaring you, and then trundle down the freeway in quiet comfort and park effortlessly in the tightest, tiniest structure.

In short, the Cayman S is a gateway drug. It seems like everything you’ll ever want and more than you’ll ever really need. But each time you go out driving, you’ll be pushed to push a little bit harder. It’s undiscovered limits will tease you that much. You’ll want more… and then, just a little bit more. Before you know it, you’ll end up like Dean. Or worse still, you’ll end buying an even more potent supercar.

Budget of Beverly Hills, an independently owned-and-operated franchise of Budget Rent-A-Car gave us a discounted rental rate on the vehicle for this review. And having endured a nightmare experience with other, non-independent Budget shops in the area, we feel obligated to note that, in addition to offering a wide variety of luxury and exotic cars as well as “regular” rentals, Budget of Beverly Hills also provides a very un-Budget-like level of customer service.


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65 Comments on “Review: 2010 Porsche Cayman S PDK...”


  • avatar
    Brian E

    This. This is the car that keeps me working. The car that goes in the second spot in my fantasy garage, next to the practical all-weather steed of choice. Except I’ll take mine with a six-speed: what fun is it to use the (badly designed) paddles or let it shift for itself?

    • 0 avatar
      philipwitak

      take it from someone who knows – even the standard model with its little ol’ 5-speed can be more fun than most people might ever imagine.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      Even the 2.9L has the six speed now as standard. I believe (though I’m not sure) that the troublesome IMS has been eliminated from both engines too, which is good news for durability.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      The best bet is a lightly optioned used base Cayman that it ’09 or later. The base hp was booted to 265 from 250, got a 6 speed standard, and other refinements. Also, with the ’09 model, the IMS issue was completely resolved.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I too have noticed a lot more Priuses on the back roads that my motorcycling friends and I inhabit. On a recent backroads trip from NJ to NH it seemed like every time we came up on a train of cars, a Prius was in the lead. Are they on these roads (instead of interstates) so they can use their regenerative braking?

  • avatar
    xyzzy

    What, no interior shots?

  • avatar
    threeer

    You know, Ed…the Cayman S might not be the best sports car ever…but damn. After reading this, I have this strong urge and desire to drive this, if even just once. Forget all of the data-babble about skidpad figures, 0-60 times and all…you made the car feel incredible from the layman’s standpoint (a layman driving the Cayman…go figure). Thanks for brightening my Monday!

    • 0 avatar
      prosumer

      Go drive it, it’s a wonderful experience. Try the manual on your favorite roads. Try the PDK on a long, uphill, entrance ramp… the upshifts are ridiculously fast.

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    You didn’t smash it into the garage door, did you?

    OK, at least you’re doing better than our Canadian counterparts

  • avatar
    CyCarConsulting

    Love the ride, hate the looks. Reminds me of what an updated Karmann Ghia might look like today.

  • avatar
    h82w8

    Well, opinions on styling’s are pretty subjective, but that is just a nice butt. It doesn’t get any better.

  • avatar

    Driving the car vigorously on the street and expecting anything . . . you just don’t get it.

    You cannot experience these cars until you take them on the track. Then you’ll understand why they cost so much.

    Driving them around town is like sex with a condom. Its like eating a candy with the wrapper still on.

    • 0 avatar
      gakoenig

      What is the point of taking a vehicle like this onto a racetrack?

      The more I consider it, the more stupid I believe it is to ever want to take a high-end street vehicle onto an actual race track. Even with all the runoff room and training and precautions, folks with $50k+ BMWs, Porsches, Audis and ‘Vettes routinely wind up kissing walls. Your insurance? HAHAHAHA, those guys caught onto the high performance driving “school” line years ago.

      I know a guy who is STILL making payments on an E46 M3 that fell victim to the Porsche humps at PIR a couple of seasons ago.

      Much better bet? Spend $5k on an old E36 325i. Strip it out. Call Turner and get some brake and suspension upgrades. Get the motor worked over. Bolt in a cage or a rollbar you can turn into a cage. Spend less than $12k and get a cary you simply don’t need to worry about. Fact is, even with 200bhp, a stripped car with minimal preparation is going to serve 90% of the people who show up at these events just fine – most people’s perception of their driving skill FAR outstrips their actual ability. Trash that bad boy all you want and climb back into your $60k+ street car and drive home.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      The Cayman S is overkill for public roads, but the base Cayman is an ideal companion for public roads. This is a mid-engined 3,000 lb car. In my experience, light cars are always more fun to drive at legal (or near legal) speeds. I’ve driven this car and felt no need to take it to the track to “get it.”

      Does Porsche pricing bother me? Absolutely. In either base or “S” form, the lack of standard options is apalling (like the lack of automatic climate control as standard). The “luxury” options tend to be over-priced and relatively primitive compared to the competition (like nav). But all that aside, there are very few true sports cars on the market and this is one of them. It is FAR more sophisticated than a Lotus and, as pointed out in the review, has a lot of storage space for a car in this class. I would not hesitate to buy a lightly used one. There are lots of Caymans available with very few miles.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      I’m wondering whether either of the two guys above have ever actually driven anything on-track. Even a regular car can do things on-track that are literally impossible on any street. I drove my Viper regularly when I first got it. That ended almost immediately after I started tracking it.

      Driving a decent sports car on public roads is like being married to a celibate supermodel.

  • avatar
    peekay

    This time of year, I average about 1000 miles per weekend of recreational driving in my Cayman 2.7 5-speed. I know all the great driving roads within 2 days of home. Never with any other car have I sought out twisty secondary roads with such fervor. Driving changed forever after outfitting myself with the Cayman.

    When I first learned to kayak, I found that, unlike a canoe, the kayak felt like an extension of my own body. I was one with the vessel rather than being in it. The Cayman is just like that. Every other car I’ve owned is a canoe… or worse.

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    While not as pretty as a 911, and intentionally slower than a 911, this car has something the 911 can not touch: Accessibility.

    As a father of two with a mortgage payment, and college accounts to fund, a used Cayman might actually be a possibility in my life sometime.

    Prom queens might be great to look at, but the girl you actually date is the real “10″.

    -ted

    • 0 avatar
      prosumer

      You can get a Carerra for the same price as a Cayman S (very close if you are already spending 60k). These days I believe people are choosing Caymans consciously. EDIT: And if you talk about used, the the door is wide open to find a Carerra that matches the Cayman price.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      911 pretty? It may be many things but it hasn’t been pretty for years. The Cayman is not too bad for a contemporary Pprche until you view it next to – let’s say – a renault alpine, then it’s bloat and weight become apparent.

  • avatar

    Sorry, Ed, I can’t imagine any car making me long for the kit car interior of an Elise, and this one certainly doesn’t.

    The first Boxsters didn’t look good to my eye. But they’ve tweaked the design nicely over the years.

    Responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey suggest that the current generation Boxster and Cayman have better than average reliability. Bear in mind, though, that these cars average only about 5k miles a year.

    For the 997 we only have stats for the 2006 and 2008. Very much need more participants for all years.

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php?stage=pt&bd=Porsche&mc=239

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Steady Eddie…..nice review. I’ll give you my ultimate nod by saying your prose and bon mots in this review border on the…..Farago-esque.

  • avatar
    1981.911.SC

    Let me see here, bought a 1981 911 in 2004 and then a 1988 911 in 2008, IF I calculate correctly, I can buy a 2006 or 2007 in 2030.
    That is a sad thought. WAIT…isn’t the Cayman more like a 914?…Hmmm NO more like the mystical 914/6 last built in 1972 and I still can’t afford one of them. OH WELL

  • avatar
    a-viking

    Being in the market for a slightly used Porsche I considered the both the Cayman S and Carrera. After first test driving the Cayman S, I came away impressed with the balance and handling. It is as reported a great drive, BUT there are two reason why I ended up with a used ’06 Carrera instead. I am 6’3″ and even in the rearmost position one can simply not recline the seat without hitting the engine compartment. For passenger forget about snoozing on long drives in this car. The 911 on the other hand is shear bliss in comparison. The next item that tipped it in favor of the 911 is the power deficiency of the Cayman S. The two cars are virtually identical in weight, but the more powerful engine in the 911 make a difference. Both cars should however have better suspension compliance. At jailhouse speeds all is well, but toting around town and hitting small road imperfection makes it a very harsh ride. I wonder why they don’t soften up the springs a little, and fit speed dependent magnetorheological dampers.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      Cayman S owners who opt for the 19-inch wheels are generally advised to get the active suspension management system so the ride is gentler in street use. I have the standard 18-inch S wheels and find the ride reasonable even without the fancy suspension. Perhaps you test drove a car with the 19 inch wheels and no PASM feature or the feature turned to stiff mode?

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    In short, the Cayman S is a gateway drug.

    I’m contemplating: New RX-8 (before it goes). Or used Cayman.

    I’ve driven the former and only sat the latter – the Caymans clutch and gear shift were nicer parked. I’m sure I could arrange a Cayman test drive – but I fear the addiction potential.

    The RX-8 is one fine whip, but I strongly suspect that there really is NO substitute.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      The truth is, with the sales of the current generation of RX-8, the Mazda might end up being more rare, if that matters to you.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Choose a low mileage ’06 Cayman S – you’ll forget all about the RX-8.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      I’ve actually driven both a RX-8 R3 and a 2007 or 2008 Cayman S. Both are fun light sports cars with different personalities. The RX-8 feels like the adolescent. The recaro seats are very unforgiving of added heft and the nature of the wankel requires that you drive aggressively to the extent that you have to keep the revs up to access the Wankel’s power. The Cayman feels more grown up. More solid. It has much more power and can be driven more leisurely and still have its power accessible to you.

      Predicting what cars become a classic is always a tricky affair. The last year for the RX-8 is going to be the 2011 MY. I would wait and see if Mazda does anything special before sending the RX-8 into retirement. If Mazda does anything special, that might be the car to own in the future. Interestingly, the 2011 MY is also probably the last year for the current Cayman, but the Cayman will be updated in 2012, not retired.

  • avatar
    Guest

    While you had just written a review on the IS250C, a more fitting example could have been referenced. The cargo room in a hardtop convertible is obviously no comparison to a Cayman.

    From previous experience, one should expect the (Cayman) price of admission to be much higher than expected. The options list is… lengthy and every model on the lot comes with a good number tacked on.

  • avatar
    twotone

    Nice car. For that money, I’d take a MB E63 AMG. It will keep up with the Porsche on any public road with three of my friends and all of our luggage.

    Twotone

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      It couldn’t compete with the Porsche on a cruise down Santa Monica blvd on a Friday night. Drive the Porsche and you won’t go home alone, with the MB you’d be lucky with a thrice divorced cougar and all of her baggage.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I’d probably go with an AMG too.

      The Cayman is an awesome car. However, I’m a sucker for exhaust notes, and the Mercedes 6.2L V8 sounds like the apocalypse.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    So, Cayman S or NSX? The world wonders.

    • 0 avatar
      prosumer

      Certainly the NSX is a more savvy purchase. It comes down to an older supercar versus a new sportscar. I’m sure many people contemplate used Ferraris in a very similar manner. For my part, I love Honda… but I may go with European Delivery of a Cayman S or an M3 so I can drive the’ring in my own car. I have not driven the NSX but from what I have read it doesn’t have the edge that the Cayman does, the NSX being a bit softer on the brakes and steering. If I give up on ED, NSX is it.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    Plenty of empty winding roads in SoCal if you know where and when to go. Of course, make sure you’ve made peace with your deity and insurance agent of choice before going: there’s no guarantee you or the car will make it back intact.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice review Edward that nails the feeling of driving this car hard. You know that 250C never had a fair chance while you were driving it under the emotional influence of a Cayman S.

    For those who don’t manage hedge funds, I can thoroughly recommend a low mileage used Cayman S (with a real manual) for around the mid 30s – it’s a much better deal than a new 370Z.

    • 0 avatar
      johnxyz

      Don’t you have to buy a ’09 or later Caymen, Boxster or 911 in order to completely sidestep the dreaded Porsche IMS engine timebomb? That’s what the general advice seems to lean toward. So a ‘lightly used’ ’09 anything Porsche has to be considered completely unaffordable for the most part now.

      They can’t giveaway used Boxsters pre-2009 because the IMS defect is so commonly known now….

      What was the last year of the air-cooled 911′s? Were those code-named 993′s or 996′s? Do they have the IMS issue? Thanks

  • avatar
    boosterseat

    Reading the review, part way through I was attacked by the words: ‘with the transmission in drive’…
    and zipped down the page to this, the reply section.

    Shame on you and all standardless car jockeys who accept this car with an auto-box, let alone the pity of purchasing one so crippled. Do you put ketchup on your steak, too?!
    I suggest you could have returned the keys and waited patiently for a real Porsche. I don’t know what else you wrote after those words, but you only reviewed half of a Cayman S.
    That there is some real truth about cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I’m guessing Budget doesn’t rent sticks, even in their exotics.

    • 0 avatar
      prosumer

      To give the writer some credit… I would guess most test drive cars come from rentals which would definitely favor PDK or Porsche who also favors PDK.

      Also, Randy Pobst was just fine with this car on the track with PDK in Automatic mode.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGe8YXicbRM
      Cayman Laps Laguna Seca! – 2009 Best Drivers Car Competition

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    The engine is inaccessible from above, isn’t it? How can an “enthusiast” car have an inaccessible engine?

    • 0 avatar
      peekay

      Not inaccessible… it takes about 5 minutes and a Torx driver to remove the top cover. Most owners will probably never do it, but it’s not hard. The only service item under there is the air filter. Oil and spark plugs are changed from below. Belts require removal of a front cover immediately behind the seats… also not hard.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    Just imagina how much fun it would have been with three pedals. While the PDK is great when you want full acceleration, it sucks at every single other situation.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    Nice car.
    This is a car that holds it value, and for a good reason:
    A real Porsche for sensible money.
    Don´t buy it with pdk though, it will be harder to sell.

  • avatar

    I already have a couple of thousand in an account for the express purpose of getting one of these as soon as is humanly possible. Thanks for the review.

  • avatar
    Zarf

    A couple years back the wife and I were looking to upgrade the Miata to something a bit more powerful.
    We drove:
    Elise – Insanely fun but totally unusable daily.
    SLK – too soft
    S2000 – too small and somehow felt like a Civic inside (sorry to those that love it
    Z4 – Nice, but not sure about styling.
    Boxster – I couldn’t sleep for days and it was all I thought about.

    All she said to me was, ‘What if I don’t want to trade in my car, I like my car’.
    We were in the Boxster for less 30 seconds and she said ‘I could trade in my car’.

    From what I hear the Cayman is even better than the Boxster but we wanted a convertable. Sadly, the economy stopped our plans but it is still the number one car on our list.

  • avatar

    Great review, Ed. As others have said, you did a fine job of conveying the experience of driving the car from a non-track jockey’s point of view. Glad you had fun with the car.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    My best man rented me an ’08 Cayman S (w/ stick) for 24 hours the day before my wedding. Yes, it was a blast on the highway, but I didn’t get much opportunity to take it on the side roads. I loved driving it, but, God, I couldn’t get over the vacuum-cleaner-next-to-my-ear sound I had to put up with, which was very pronounced at idle and somewhat drowned out when driving hard.

    • 0 avatar
      prosumer

      I can’t believe it sounded bad to you. Try a few of these on.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15ezNoqPU0g&feature=related
      Cayman Exhaust Shoot-Out Croctoberfest 2008

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      Prosumer,

      It wasn’t the exhaust or engine sounds I’m talking about, it’s the too-loud sucking sound from the intake. Putting up the windows mitigated it a bit, but with the windows down, it might as well have been a Hoover. Yes, quite annoying.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    “And once you do find a tight ribbon of tarmac, you’ll be an invincible, king-of-the-road, canyon-carving hero… until you come up on another NSFWing Prius.”

    I feel you. Priuses provoke a visceral negative reaction in me that has long since dwarfed the environmental props I’d once given. Makes me feel like a closet Republican.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    How does the Cayman compare to a standard Corvette?

    I’m thinking the handling or at least the handling used by most drivers, the higher horsepower and the removable roof panel at about two thirds the Cayman price make the Vette a hands down winner in a comparison of the two.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      I’m thinking that few potential Porsche customers cross shop a vette. They are very different cars. Take a spin in both and the differences will become obvious and well as the reasons why the vette would not be a hands down winner. Two different cars appealing to very different clientelle.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Corvette buyers are looking for speed/dollar and/or speedy-looking styling/dollar.
      Porsche buyers are looking for euro-cool and/or responsiveness.

      Not much cross shopping going on there.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    For similar reasons, people looking at Caymans are not looking a AMGs or M3s. Those are just different kinds of cars for peope with different needs. The true sports car class is not well understood by most people, probably because there are so few true sports cars left

    • 0 avatar
      prosumer

      According to what I read, my personal experience and talking to Cayman salesman… the cross shopping between the M3 and the Cayman is quite common. Of course the Porsche dealer claims they can’t understand why either.

      Think about it this way, the M3 is known for being very well rounded so you would naturally have people looking at the M3 who are looking for a track day daily driver and they might fall to the Porsche. On the other hand someone else looking at the M3 might want a super sports sedan, or a luxury coupe GT. They would fall to the AMG side as an alternative.

      For my part, the question is what can I get in that price range? I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t look at all my options within about 15% of the price of my ideal vehicle. On the outside, how about a 996 GT3? Or maybe a 2001 NSX? Being a sports car enthusiast, even though I started out with an adolescent dream years ago to have an M3 sedan, the Cayman S is making my decision difficult.

      In the end, I don’t think there is a misunderstanding of the true sports car classbut the definition is blurry. Maybe a Lotus is the only true sports car? A miata? A GT3 or an NSX? What is the true sports car. An m3 won the 2010 24hr Nurburgring, is it not a sports car along with the R8, LFA and Ferrari it was up against? (no amg in that field) It’s just that the M3 is so capable that it’s neck and neck with Porche’s at the same price ranges and at track days and autocross; yet the M3 will be a better DD the other 90% of your driving time not spent at the track.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      M3s and Caymans may be cross shopped, but that has to be due to the potential buyer not having decided what he/she wants. The cars are very different. The natural competitors for the M3 would be other high powered sports sedans such as the CTS-V or RS4 for example. The Evora would be a better competitor for the Cayman. Just depends on what you want/need

  • avatar

    I have to admit, it is one of the best sports cars I like to see in my rear view mirror.

    I would love to see Porsche drop the 911 and make this the new platform. It has far more potential than is being taken advantage of.

  • avatar
    jonnyguitar

    prosumer

    M3 and cayman totally different animals. Its not really useful to compare track times in terms of what a driving experience will be like. I got an E92 M3, and I love the car, especially for the highway, where the power is simply addictive, but prefer the Boxster I later bought for most daily driving because it is a “sports car.” What that means to me is that the car is more engaging to drive, in that inputs are so tightly coupled to the cars response, that you want to drive it hard and turn corners just because its fun. I would not say the same is true for the M3, no matter how fast it can get round the ring. I’d suspect the same would be true for a GT-R, and some other heavy but fast cars.

  • avatar
    minibee

    I have a 2001 Boxster s. I drive it like a bat outta hell. I don’t worry about the overblown Ims issue. Y’know why? Because I drive it like a bat outta hell. You see, there’s never been a documented IMS issue in a TRACKED Boxster. If you drive it hard , the internal pressure of the engine insures lubrication reaches the IMS bearing. If you trundle along don’t redline it etc., the bearing can dry out and fail. It’s a truly magnificent machine and looks better in every way than the new butched up Boxsters. The car is pretty and turns heads relentlessly. AFAIK, there’s never been an IMS issue on a Cayman as Porsche upgraded the design after 2005. So these can even be driven like most of you IMS Paranoids would normally drive the car; like your Grandma. I recently drove the Cayman and 911 back to back. There’s a reason the 911 will always be the more entertaining and tactile driver’s car.The engine is out back. Feeling that engine swing is a great feeling. It also requires a little more talent than the Cayman. And it will always look better as well. The base 911 is only $4000 more than a Gayman s . long live the 911!. Long live drivers who know how to drive a Porsche.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Aren’t these porsche’s rear engine and not mid? Mid is more stable from what I understand..

  • avatar
    kvolkan

    If you plan on getting a used one 08 or earlier plan on budgeting a few grand to preemptively fix the IMS. Otherwise youmare looking at a new engine…believe me I know this from experience, the m86 engine is not well designed…..

  • avatar
    Jeff-07973

    I have now owned two cayman S and on my fist one I ragged it all over the place never missed a beat. Second cayman again 3.4S better spec but same engine. On my first cayman I was ragging it round the Nurburgring ring and went from 4th gear to 1st breaking hard comming into a corner! How I got away without blowing my engine I don’t know. I would recomend if you get the chance drive one have a go you will love it. Also it makes crap drivers look good! Hay Mike at TPC racing love your Turbo kits and your utube clips keep up good work.


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