Porsche Cayman S (987C) – 2005

With its satisfying guttural roar, the Cayman S is a beast of a car. Squeezed into a tiny corner of the market between the Boxster and the Carrera, it may be a rare sight on the road but it has become the benchmark for sports coupes, winning numerous plaudits in the motoring trade journals as ‘Best Sports Car’.

A mid-engined two-seater with rear-wheel drive, it shares the same platform as the Boxster as well as many of the same parts. And that may be the essence of its image problem. The uninitiated might easily write it off as merely a more expensive, less attractive version of the Boxster; and lacking an open top and high tech interior gadgetry, it certainly doesn’t immediately scream ‘sports car of the year’.

But cars are for driving and that’s what the Cayman S does to perfection. It is absolute magic on the road. Once you’re behind the wheel, the slightly offbeat styling — elements of which hark back to the classic mid-20th century 550 and 904 models — is neither here nor there. And at least nobody can deny that it’s eye-catching.

The Cayman S is a superbly agile car, some would say the best of the Porsche range. Its 3.4 litre flat six leaps into instant response and it handles beautifully round bends with a stability that belies its lightness. Since 2007 a less powerful 2.7 litre Cayman (without the `S’) has been available for $10,000 less.

The second generation 2009 version of this basic model has had its engine displacement increased to 2.9 litres. It too is a sublime drive, giving an outstanding performance that more than measures up to expectations and is hardly less thrilling than the S. Only a spectacularly power-hungry petrolhead could fail to feel sated.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

Germany (but assembled in Finland)

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

2005

ENGINE:

3,436 cc Flat Six

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 171 mph (275 km/h); 0-60 mph (97km/h) in 5.1 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The latest generation of the Cayman S has had its Tiptronic six-speed gear system replaced by Porsche’s tongue-twisting Porsche DoppelKupplungsgetriebe (PDK) double-clutch, seven-speed, sequential transmission, a state-of-the-art system imported from the world of motor racing, for even quicker acceleration and reduced fuel consumption. Porsche has also made a limited edition of 700 extra-powerful ‘S Sport’ versions.

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