By on September 3, 2010

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to a Porsche Club meeting and annoy perfectly decent upper-middle-class people.

One of my favorite shticks is to sit there at the wine-tasting/slow-food dinner/whatever and say, “I love my Boxster, but I love the Cayman so much more.” Knowing nods from around the table. “It’s just that I like the convertible too.” More knowing nods. “What I really wish Porsche would do…”

Pause.

“…is make a Cayman convertible..”

Dead silence.

The concept of the Cayman is anything but a Deadly Sin. Finally, a mid-engined Porsche using the same basic engineering as the 911 series, with the same engine (family) and suspension. When the 911 was originally conceived, the world was run by men and cars were purchased by men. In the world of men, it was perfectly reasonable that a man might purchase a car which pleased him and expect his children to sit in the tiny back seat while shutting the holy hell up.

In the modern era, where women drive most automotive purchase decisions and children are treated with the kind of white-glove preciousness once reserved for Faberge eggs and the Dead Sea Scrolls, nobody’s gonna buy a 911 and stuff his brats in the back. Well, I put my kid in the back of my 911, but I’m presumably the exception. The bottom line is that these cars are now second (or third) vehicles and for most people mid-engine dynamics trump extra seating.

The perfect production Porsche would be a mid-engined car with the GT3/Turbo/964-derived flat-six, possibly turbocharged, and a high-quality, durable interior. It would offer Carrera GT pace at a 911 Carrera S price and it would return Porsche to the rightful position atop the world’s performance hierarchy… forgetting the fact that Porsche was never there to begin with.

Five years after the Cayman’s introduction, we know that Porsche did no such thing. Instead, we got a hardtop Boxster with some unfortunate extraneous styling details and an almost deliberately stupid name. What’s a “Cayman”? An island? A misspelled member of the crocodile family? The next bizarre decision was to create yet another variant of the unloved M96 engine and stuff it behind the seats. This mill, which had been 3.4L upon its debut in the 996 but bumped to 3.6L, was un-bumped back to 3.4L, creating a 24-horsepower gap between it and the base 911. Supposedly it’s not the same engine as the original 3.4L M96, which baffles me.

The Boxster S of the era was still 3.2L, so this new Cayman would be marginally faster. Porsche loves to create these little micro-managed performance gaps; it gives the 911 Carrera S owner confidence that, although he’s just been slaughtered down the back straight at VIR by a toothless drywall contractor in a used C5 Z06 with “EARNHARDT LIVES IN MY HEART” on the bumper, at least the guy in the Carrera 3.6 is behind him.

To save a few bucks, the Cayman was scheduled to be built virtually exclusively by Finland’s Valmet Corporation, known for making a fine AK-47 knockoff and the vast majority of Boxsters. Oh, yes. Speaking of bucks.

The Cayman isn’t a Deadly Sin because it wasn’t the Porsche it could have been. It isn’t even a Deadly Sin because Porsche deliberately failed to make it as good as they could have done simply by using the parts already on their shelves, at no extra cost. The Deadly Sin status was granted by our one-man committee based on a single decision made by Porsche.

Convertibles cost more than hardtops. This was not always the case. Back in the coachbuilt days, it was occasionally cheaper to make a fabric-and-stick top than it was to fabricate and attach a steel roof. That has not been the case for perhaps forty years now, so when the world got out that Porsche was making a hardtop Boxster, the cheap-Porker fanatics got well and truly worked up at the prospect.

When the Cayman S arrived, however, it was priced above the Boxster and Boxster S by about five grand, a pattern that continues today. At the time, it was suggested that the different engine and additional standard features justified the price. That pretense disappeared with the introduction of the 3.4L Boxster S (and the 2.7L base Cayman) in 2007. Nope, the extra five grand is on the MSRP simply because Porsche knows people will pay it.

It’s that middle-fingered salute to the buyer that makes the Cayman a Deadly Sin. Priced fairly, the Cayman would be a love letter to Porsche’s most faithful customers, particularly since the new engine in these cars appears to be slightly better than the old one. Instead, we have the following pricing structure for 3.4L cars:

  • Boxster S 3.4L: $58,000
  • Cayman S 3.4L: $61,500 (to be fair, this is the lowest hardtop markup ever)
  • Boxster Spyder 3.4L: $61,200

The Boxster Spyder, in case you haven’t been reading the Internet, is a stripped-down Boxster with an el-cheapo manual top. Since it’s less costly to make than a standard Boxster with a power top, the price is higher. Of course. We’re in Porscheland now.

There’s a Cayman Club Sport coming. If we’re lucky, it will follow the recipe set by the old 964 RS America: less weight, freer-revving engine, enthusiast features. Of course, the RSA was $54,990 when a new 911 Carrera 2 was $61,990. Porsche felt that since the car had less equipment, it should cost less, the same way the original Speedster was the cheapest 356 money could buy.

That was the old Porsche. When the Cayman Club Sport arrives, pricing will be moonshot level. You can bet your PCA card on it.

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49 Comments on “Porsche’s Deadly Sin #6 — 2006 Cayman “S”...”


  • avatar

    You have destroyed my faith, Jack.
    Seriously though, why did you buy all those Porsches then? Surely you knew all the dirty laundry for years, long before TTAC readers were granted the wisdom.

  • avatar

    That’s what I’m wondering Pete.

    I’m a Porsche bottom feeder, I love the performance of these cars after they’ve been devoured by depreciation.
     
    So I gotta know Jack, why do you love this company that treats you so poorly?  Is it the same reason we love women that treat us like shit? (the wild time they deliver to us?)

    • 0 avatar
      philipwitak

       
      that is also what i was wondering when i first posed the question, way back in the day of “porsche deadly sin #1″ – but all i ever got was to have my entire post unceremoniously deleted, without explanation or response of any sort.

  • avatar
    benzaholic

    Wow. You really do love to bitchslap Porsche, but you also seem unable to give them up.
    You know what they say about admitting you have a problem…
     

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Marcus has the right approach. But what happens when the guys who buy new decide they don’t want to get NSFW’d? Porsche needs to get a clue that yes there are substitutes. Wonder what will happen under VW?
    BTW, Jack, I saw a Phaeton yesterday. It should be rebadged as a Passat XXL. Can VW dealers really fix those things if something goes wrong.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    With all these various models, has Porsche yet made any midengined cars that are as fast as a 10 year old S2000?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      On a road course, I would expect my 2004 Boxster S to easily handle any S2000, and that has been confirmed by years of experience.
      The racetrack pace of an S2000 is roughly equivalent to a Boxster or Cayman 2.7.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Nordschleife lap times confirm the same — the Boxster S and Cayman S beat the S2000 by some 20 seconds.

      Even Audi’s front-engined TTS and S5 outpace the S2000 around the ‘ring.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    As Jack knows, buying a Porsche is but a small piece of the cost.  Wait till the warranty runs out.  Or you need to get the oil changed at $150/pop.  That’s what some of the independent shops charge.  Jack, don’t you have a 944 or 968 that you said was taking space in your garage?  I wonder what’s keeping it from running and what it would cost to get it there.
     
    I love those pre-1990 Targas and the early 90’s 968 coupes, but I can’t imagine owning one unless I got it VERY cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      kkop

      >>As Jack knows, buying a Porsche is but a small piece of the cost.  Wait till the warranty runs out.  Or you need to get the oil changed at $150/pop.<<
      Big deal.  An oil change for my bike’s two-cylinder BMW boxer engine is  $111 at the dealer (synthetic oil).  Makes Porsche sound reasonable :-)
      As long as there are fools who buy Porsches (and BMW bikes), they’ll keep charging whatever they want for them.  My guess is the pricing is a tool to throttle demand to better utilize their assembly lines.
       
       

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    <i>It’s that middle-fingered salute to the buyer that makes the Cayman a Deadly Sin</i>

    Why pick on the Cayman?  It’s not like Porsche doesn’t do this with, oh, every car they make.  Their product offering is designed to screw customers out of the money.  By Porsche’s own standards this isn’t even that bad.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I love the deadly sin rants but have to disagree with this.

    “Nope, the extra five grand is on the MSRP simply because Porsche knows people will pay it.”

    Pricing a product where the demand curve meets supply is what any business should do – anything less would not make sense. Looks like they got it right too as they see to have no problems finding homes for them.

    Like Marcus Kroll, I am a Porsche bottom feeder buying low mileage examples and having a blast driving them. I do also have Cayman S and it’s my favorite of them all.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Precisely.  Does anyone think that Apple is pricing its iPods, iPads and iPhones based on the manufacturing cost?
       
      I thought not.

    • 0 avatar

      While pricing to demand is ideal, the fact is that there are businesses that act more like country clubs with annual dues. Ferrari and Porsche (and Apple too) look at their customers as ripe to be plucked. All three of those companies promote an almost religious self-identification on the part of their customers/members.

      Back in the old days when Apple and IBM (and the clones) were duking it out for corporate desktop dominance, I worked for DuPont, one of if not the biggest corporate users of Macs and I supported hundreds of Macs up to OS10. Personally, the first computer I owned was an Apple IIe, and later had an early Mac.

      Nobody could accuse me of being anti Apple. Their products are routinely brilliant and intuitive for users. Their customers, though, are a bit cultish. I’ve always felt the Apple vs PC thing was kind of like Ford and Chevy pickup truck owners claiming one is far superior to the other. For products with such tremendous brand loyalty (about 6% a year shifts to whoever has the most recent updated truck – those are primarily business purchases) few two vehicles are more alike than Ford and Chevy pickups (V8, conventional RWD with live axle, A arms up front).

      You can get a PC to do just about anything a Mac can do, but telling that to an Apple enthusiast is like telling a loyal F-150 owner that a Tundra is a better truck.
      So if you can somehow convince someone that they aren’t just buying a consumer good, but joining a community, you can charge them for the privilege.
      Ferrari reinforces this feeling of being in an elect community with their Challenge Stradale series, or even more so, the FXX and 599XX programs where only a small number of lucky Ferrarians are handpicked by the factory to be allowed to buy track day toys.
      My favorite example is how Ferrari is now selling its use F1 cars along with a 7 figure service contract that provides technicians and engineers for when you want to go vintage racing.
      The irony is that despite my personal disdain for how some high performance car companies treat their customers, the cars themselves are just such cool cars it’s hard to be disinterested. Also, though I’m no class warrior, with a lot of high end cars, despite how cool the cars are, the saying about a fool and his money at least partially applies.

  • avatar
    ChesterChi

    Porsche’s pricing is the perfect illustration that if you want to sell something, the price doesn’t have to be based on how much it costs to make, but rather how much someone is willing to pay for it.
    You can rage all you want, but at the end of the day each potential buyer has to ask themselves: “Do I want to spend $xyz to buy this car ?”  Yes or no, buy or don’t buy.  It’s your choice, and no one is holding a gun to your head.  No whining.

    • 0 avatar
      V572625694

      Exactly. We could all dress in garbage bags, live in mini-storage warehouses, shower at the office, and drive Scion xB’s, but we choose to do otherwise. There’s no way buying any Porsche makes economic sense. The emotional sense is something else.

      I’m comfortable in a 911 but the Boxster–even though it’s more fun to drive–seems crowded to me. I’m assuming the Cayman would have the same feeling and therefore can fight off the need to test drive one.

    • 0 avatar
      Revver

      Exactly +1 (or is it 2 now)

      Porsche delivers a driving experience you’re not gonna find anywhere else, and they charge accordingly. No whining.

      Seems like a thinly veiled excuse to dump on upper-middle class folks, which, I’m all for. That line about being passed by a used C5 did make me laugh. Damn, the Chablis I was sipp’n almost came out’de nose.

  • avatar
    Flatlandman

    I’ll likely never own a new Cayman, but I’ve built dozens on their website. A couple of months ago, the Ruby Red paint moved from the $710 Metallic Colors to the $3140 (!) Special Colors.
    They’re free to charge what they want, I’m free to lose interest entirely.

  • avatar
    peekay

    As much as I love my Cayman, I can’t quibble with anything Jack says.  Porsche’s marketing strategy for this car has been brilliantly contrived to convince buyers to pay more money for a car that no doubt costs less to produce than a Boxster.  Of course, I knew everything Jack has said going in… and bought a lightly used Cayman for a substantial savings vs new.  I prefer the rigidity of a coupe to the open air qualities of a Boxster.  So, marketing contrivances aside, the Cayman was the car I chose… with no regrets.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    It’s that middle-fingered salute to the buyer that makes the Cayman a Deadly Sin
     
    That is so lame.  It is buyers that determine value.  If buyers did not want this car then Porsche would either drop the price in order to increase sales, or stop production.  To blame the producer for the sins of the consumer confuses cause and effect.

  • avatar
    twotone

    The quick answer: M3

    Twotone

  • avatar
    werewolf34

    Too much money for too little performance…until you start shopping for 10-15k Boxsters…

  • avatar
    jrlombard

    “…it gives the 911 Carrera S owner confidence that, although he’s just been slaughtered down the back straight at VIR by a toothless drywall contractor in a used C5 Z06 with “EARNHARDT LIVES IN MY HEART” on the bumper, at least the guy in the Carrera 3.6 is behind him.”

    Classic. These types of lines may not win you a Pulitzer, but it definitely got a chuckle out of me. My Friday afternoon thanks you.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    In the case of the Cayman (and Boxster), much deadlier sins were the IMS bearing and absurdly long oil change intervals.

    When the bearing fails it takes out the entire engine at a cost of $10k to $12k if your warranty has expired. The redesigned engine doesn’t have an IMS bearing. Why didn’t they begin with this engine?

    Until recently, Porsche’s recommendation for oil changes was 2 years or 20k miles. They have now cut this in half. If you plan to keep your car past the end of the warranty, changing oil every 5k miles (or 10k if your driving is exclusively long highway trips) would be wise.

    Ironically, the long oil change interval increased the likelihood that the IMS bearing would fail during the warranty so that your new engine came at Porsche’s expense instead of your own.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      I probably will never be able to afford a Porsche (maybe to buy, but not to maintain). But reading this makes me think that even if I could, would I spend my money on a car with Chrysler reliability?
      I do realize it is a performance car and not a cargo ship built for decades of 24/7 service. But even Audi, Mercedes, BMW built high-powered engines that last longer than that.
      I know a Porsche likely is a 2nd or 3rd car for people who can afford it and it doesn’t get hundreds of miles every day. But if I had a penny for every Porsche story that has the $10,000 repair during warranty time or right after, I could afford to buy one.

  • avatar
    tincanman99

    I have to say Jack’s series of articles have made me kind of sad. Since I was a kid I have wanted a Porsche and I have come to buying one several times already but the lack of practicality has always held me back.
    I drove a Boxster for the first time in 2006, it was a 2003 986 generation and I was shocked at the crapola interior relative to my VW. The car drove brilliantly and was everything I could want but I hesitated and it went quick. It was CPO by Porsche and had the warranty. Much to my chagrin as I have read later, I would never buy one without a warranty.
    I would like to know how the IMS failures did not turn up during development and testing?
    Even when it did appear Porsche ignored it and made some petty fixes which did not really cure it. Even now you will read about new ones vomiting their guts out on the highway.
    How could a company that has all this vaunted racing heritage be building crapola engines? Easy – COST.
    A Porsche today IMO though a great driving car is not the be all and end all they would like you to believe. If you go to any of the Porsche forums you will regularly see the owners talking about this breaking and that breaking. Come prepared with a large bank account because once they are not under warranty these cars will bleed you and than some. Oil changes that cost $200-300 are not uncommon.
    The cars are designed to a price point to minimize cost and maximize profit. I realize that every company is in business to make money but things like the IMS failures should not happen. If you go buy a new one, options can easily add 10-20K to the price without even trying hard. And they have crazy prices like $500 for gauge faces that are in a different color or like $1K to paint the vents on the outside a different color. They BLEED you.
    Porsche today has performance but they are living off their image from the past. Their performance is not exceptional today. Many cars can easily match them for less money. They are NOT the company that they portray in all their advertising showcasing their racing heritage. They are not even that active in racing. They have not been in Le Mans in years already with a factory team. Those toy races in the Middle East and Asia with nothing but 911s are a joke.
    Porsche today is about image and branding more than anything. They are slathering the Porsche name on everything in sight from kitchens to clothes. Yeah whatever – I want to pay bazillions of dollars extra because it says Porsche on it. Thanks but I will pass.
    Frankly I have kind of given up the dream of owning one. Its like finding out your favorite cheerleader crush from high school has put on 200lb and has 13 kids. Its a let down.
    Oh well there is always the Corvette and the Audi R8.

  • avatar
    DearS

    The public has low self esteem, and Porsche is using the opportunities that arise from this to become a financial benefactor. Society is shame based, that is how a Camry-dependent owner (generally) feels ashamed of having a sporty, too expensive, overt status boosting or even a red car. To the other extreme, a Porsche-dependent person feels (generally) ashamed of not smart, expensive status boosting choices (like something that gets you rich, or makes you successful in societies eyes. Our dependency car lovers is perhaps somewhere in between. Its self esteem based on status. Not the most stable of things to use as a base for how we feel about ourselves. This is why keeping ie. paying for the status quo is um…a reasonable looking reaction. That is where Porsche comes in, to profit from that “reaction”. Society pushes shame on us to control, and establish a hierarchy. We often react back and try to apply the Hierarchy to (shameless, mean, ugly) Porsche. Its only natural, given our dependency on status.

    • 0 avatar
      tincanman99

      If this is about self esteem than Porsche has tapped into it and big time. When the Cayman came out I was shocked that it was more than the Boxster after all its the SAME car. Cayman devotees like to wax on about it drives so much better than the Boxster. Sure its a tiny bit stiffer than the Boxster because it has a metal roof but its not huge. I am not buying it. These Porsche owners keep drinking the kool aid.
      The Panamera is designed to broaden that base and they are doing it. Since the Great Depression sales of the 911/Boxster/Cayman are in the tank. Particularly the Boxster/Cayman. The Cayman had its big sales boost the first few years and now the party is over. The 911 is holding its own because its a 911.
      That being said the Cayenne and Panamera are keeping the company afloat, or rather should I say VW is keeping them afloat. I read recently the Panamera is selling very well. I guess thats a good thing. Not too shabby considering that the Cayenne, Panamera, Toureg and Q7 share the same chassis.
      I think the public’s perception of sports cars has changed. I think there will always be some people that want them but there is a shift in buying and thats what Porsche is going after with the Panamera. How long they can sustain this I dont know.

  • avatar
    stationwagon

    If I need to prove to someone why they should buy a Corvette over a Porsche, I will link to this article and it comments, sure Porsche is the only manufacturer to provide a  German flat four-six -powered rear/mid engine rear/all wheel drive car , but they charge too much and are too damn unreliable, there are many better and cheaper cars out there. That are more reliable provide more performance and and are cheaper, but do they give the rear/mid engine rear/all wheel drive German flat-six flat-four engine? No. but how much is the rear/mid engine rear/all wheel drive German flat-six flat-four engine experiance worth? I don’t know since I haven’t driven a Porsche or a modded Volkswagen Beetle, but to me the cost of a new Porsche is too damn much. I rather pay the price of a new Corvette or a GT-R rather than the price of a new 911 or Cayman or Boxster. Doesn’t mean I won’t buy a used classic and run it to the ground wait ten years then sell it for the profit, but value-wise a new Porsche is too damn worthless. That is my two cents;
    and sorry for going overboard with the Italicization and under-lining.

  • avatar

    As a Lotus enthusiast, I have to admit to some schadenfreud to see that the idol erected to Dr. Ing. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche has feet of clay. Brit cars may leak oil and have dodgy electrics, but I guess Porsche owners have their own brand of hell.

  • avatar

    I especially like all these complaints come out, especially those on the 996, well after it is over and done. Not that I am accusing TTAC of something, but the other media just sucked up Porsche marketing, just like they go around saying that Audi interiors are still amazing, or Toyota’s are overbuilt (well, at least that is done with), or that BMWs aren’t luxo-barges.

  • avatar

    pricing has little to do with cost of mfg, and everything to do with what the market will bear. Consider: people pay $8 for a t-shirt, but if the same t-shirt says Ralph Lauren, people will pay $50 for it. that’s why branding is so important. I mean, it’s the same cotton/polyester mix (or whatever it happens to be). The only dif is the name on the label, and maybe on the chest.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    If you have been watching the sales numbers here, you might be seeing a bit of a revolt at least with the Boxters/Caymans.  The cheapest cars in the Porsche stable are also the lowest sellers.  If I recall correctly, for the 1st 6 months of this years, Porsche sold approx 2000 Boxsters/Caymans and about 3000 911s.  Cayennes/Panamericas were about 2/3rd of total sales.

    Only Porsche could come up with the following solution: move the Cayman/Boxter upmarket and create room for a lower priced model.  So let’s see, we are going to take the poorest selling models in our lineup and ….make them more expensive!  Brilliant!

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Since we are venting, the “sticking it to you in your face” pricing of Porsche is really irksome.  Base price for a Cayman is $51,000, which ain’t cheap.  And the base car comes with …nothing.  Xenon lights? Extra.  Automatic climate control? Extra.  Bluetooth?  Can only get it with Nav which is a $3k+ option.  Want to step up the “S”?  That would be an extra $10,000.  And for your 10 big ones, you get a bored out engine which costs nothing more to produce, 18″ tires standard and an upgraded stereo system.  With pricing like this, you should have the decency to wear a mask and brandish a gun. 

    • 0 avatar
      tincanman99

      Porsche really does rake you over the coals for options. I dont know if it was always like that years ago but when I started getting serious about buying I was shocked that a 51K car came with nothing.
      For example a base Boxster has 17″ wheels on it when its very readily apparent from the arches they were designed for 18″ wheels or larger. Get out your checkbook.
      And frankly the difference in cost from regular Boxster to Boxster S nets only a modest improvement in performance.
      A .6 improvement from 0-60 for 10K?
      Take a look:
      Base Boxster

      Engine
      255 hp @ 6,400 rpm
      Performance
      Top Track Speed: 163 mph
      0-60 mph: 5.6 s
      Fuel Consumption (Highway)
      27 mpg (Manual)
      MSRP: $ 47,600.00

      Boxster S

      Engine
      310 hp @ 6,400 rpm
      Performance
      Top Track Speed: 170 mph
      0-60 mph: 5.0 s
      Fuel Consumption (Highway)
      26 mpg (Manual)
      MSRP: $ 58,000.00

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      tincanman:

      The stock wheels on the base Cayman are also 17″.  The bigger 18″ do not come standard until you step up the the “S”.  And like the Boxster, the extra 10 grand for the “S” brings marginal performance improvements that would be of little value outside of a race track

  • avatar
    Mike999

    Last night, driving home on some empty roads in my Honda Insight, and feeling the torque of the electric motor pulling me over those rolling hills, it felt like a Porsche.
    Of course, it’s never going to do 140+ or have Porsche handling…
     

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    For a 2nd car, there’s been a German Devil on my right shoulder and a Japanese Devil on my left. They’ve been arguing for over a year now… New RX-8 or used Cayman… new RX-8 or used Cayman…
    I’m tempted to bag the whole sports car dream and trade my daily driver for a used Infinity G35…

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      Those two devils get around because the same two have been talking to me! lol!  Right now the Japanese devil is winning.  Economics is the reason.  There is a dealer ad for a 2009 R3 with 8k miles for around $25k.  An ’09 Cayman (base) with this many miles would be at least $45k with a Porsche dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      Get an RX-8 it’s handling is exceptional, the engine is amazing. You just have to not flood the engine, which means no really short trips. Also know that he engine is supposed to consume oil naturally and to always check it often and top it of when needed. Go to RX-8 forums there is a lot of useful information and tips there. The RX-8 maybe a teensy-weensy bit torque-less but you can live with it. if you buy a G35 you might want to shop around for the manual version It seems to me they are cheaper (used) since they are harder to sell in a market that is primarily automatic car buyers.

      I used to research and shop for these cars(except the Porsche), but I didn’t buy either.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      I participate in forums for both cars.  I cannot escape the suspicion that in owning the RX-8, I will not forget or stop desiring the Cayman.  But I just can’t get comfortable with Porsche BS pricing, or stupidly expensive maintenance costs. 

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      @stationwagon:
      +1. G35 in 2wd form with manuals are good buy.
      @ ccd1:
      But I just can’t get comfortable with Porsche BS pricing, or stupidly expensive maintenance costs.
      Yup. But my trusted mechanic favors used Caymans. Long term ownership of the Mazda rotary concerns him. Long term survival of Mazda concerns me.
      He knows how to keep Porsches going for a dozen years – but admits parts’ costs can be eye-watering.

  • avatar
    tincanman99

    Keep in mind that 09 base Cayman is probably stripped while that R8 is loaded.
    I came to the realization a while ago I could buy an Audi S4 for the price of a Porsche and have all weather traction, a huge trunk and the ability to carry more than 2 people.
    Does it handle as nice as a Porsche? Probably not but it handles pretty good with the Quattro. Its good enough and its practical. And quite frankly at 51K for the S4 the car is loaded unlike the Porsche.

  • avatar
    realpower1

    It is important that we understand that cost is one of the least important inputs in most pricing decisions, and that linking the two is amateurish business at best. At one end of the spectrum is a commodity where the market sets the price, and at the other is a completely differentiated product where the firm can set the price.  Regardless, in the long-run, most firms seek to maximize profits with pricing decisions. 
    Your analysis completely ignores the concepts of volume in not just component costs, but also in maximizing profits for any given model and sub-model.  Ostensibly Porsche’s pricing does not exist in a silo; customers have alternatives in the market place and that would include not only other auto brands, but other purchase decisions such as boats or a home remodel.
    Costs play a role is setting a floor price for any given market.  That said, customers pay for perceived value and that includes the brand. Any firm playing above the commodity level would be foolish not to leverage its pricing power to maximize profits.
    Your very analysis suggests that Porsche has significant pricing power with its brand.  That is an admirable and enviable position for any company to be in, and we only need to look at the way the 3 American car companies destroyed their brands, and ultimately their own pricing power.
     

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      Porsche prices its products like their are differentiated.  The attitude is that you can get something else, but it won’t be a Porsche.  In the case of the Cayman/Boxster, there really are few true alternatives if handling is your primary objective.  There really aren’t many true sports cars left on the market that are not exotics.  What I, and perhaps others, sense is that there are limits to how far you can take this approach before people start to cross shop.  The Cayman may have few true sports car competitors, but it is in the same price range and some truly great sports sedans.  Granted, they will not handle quite as well as the Cayman, but they handle very well and are far more versatile

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I appreciate the economics lesson, since I only took economics for four semesters in school, but in the real world a hardtop costs less to make than a convertible, everybody knows it, and to take the price in the other direction is ridiculous.
       

  • avatar
    ccd2

    You may have to make more room on your “sin” list. Porsche is now rumored to be considering a targa version of the next gen Cayman. Now what is the different between a Boxster and a targa Cayman? My guess would be around $20,000 and not much else


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