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 Porsche lowers the bar with the new Cayman S

The automotive press has blasted Porsche for building the poor man’s 911 the new 2006 Cayman S. What the car guys are saying is that the Cayman is so incredibly good that it makes the $15k more that you would have to spend to get a 911 unnecessary. Porsche argues that true 911 fans won’t settle for anything but an actual 911 and that the purpose of the Cayman was to sway Volkswagen owning baby boomers getting them to think that the step up German car is the Porsche Cayman S and not an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes.

The truth is; it doesn’t mater who buys this car Porsche has built a legitimate mid- engine sports coupe that may be driven more like the way you would Ferrari 430 then a 911 itself. One reason for this is that the Cayman is a true mid-engine car. The engine sits right behind the driver, in contrast to the 911 where the engine hangs off the tail.

Porsche decided to enter the $60,000 sports car class because, lets face it $60,000 cars are luxury cars. The difference between the Cayman S and cars like Porsche’s previous attempts at an affordably priced Porsche, the Porsche 924 and 944 is that the Cayman S is the real deal. From an economic standpoint the Cayman S might make a lot of sense, the 924 and 944 were the best selling Porsche’s in their day and were financial successes even though some enthusiasts feel the cars were underpowered with only 150 and 165 horsepower respectively. In contrast, there is no part of the Cayman S driving experience that is pedestrian; the car has only 5 horsepower fewer then the 911 Turbo produced from 1978 to 1989. With the Japanese building better sports cars every day, like the new Miata M-5 and the RX-8 both from Mazda, Porsche felt they had to make sure they had a great entry level/step up car in place before the market place got any more crowded. For now the Porsche Cayman S stands alone at this price point, as a luxury car that is also a true sports car. Maybe in 2007, when the Nissan Skyline GT-R is available, Porsche will have some competition in this class.

Back in the sixties when the only rear engine car most people would encounter was the VW bug there was this standing joke that a VW owner would pick up a friend to take them to the airport, telling his friend to throw his luggage in the trunk, when the friend opens the rear engine cover, he then asks his friend “where’s the trunk?” Well this is also true with the new mid-engine Cayman. The space under the hood on the front of the car has a mere 5.3 cubic feet of storage space, and 5 cubic feet is not a lot. Porsche’s spec sheet lists 14.8 cubic feet but they are counting the space behind the seats and the space on the rear deck which just happens to be always warm as it is on top of the engine.

The only complaints you could possible have about the new Cayman S is that it doesn’t have those 911 munchkin sized back seats in case its your weekend with the kids, and the engine sits in the cabin with you like on the $453k Porsche Carrera GT and some other high end cars.

The Cayman S is marketing Genius, build a world beater for $60k but keep the 911 name for the die hard enthusiasts who will shell out another $60k for the Turbo model on top of the $72k 911 base price. During the Seventies the 911 Turbo was probably the coolest car on the road. Porsche had not planned to build more then a few Turbo’s but then a cult following quickly sprang up. In this aspect Porsche has been most fair to their following, they have kept making the Turbo model allowing those who grew up fantasying about this car to keep the fantasy alive. This is not true for those who fantasized about cars that are no longer available state side, like the Renault Alpine or the Renault R5.

The Cayman S is all the Porsche anyone really needs. Never has the motto “Porsche, there is no substitute” been more true. Starting December 2005 you can waltz into any Porsche dealer showroom and for $60,000 drive out in a car that not only is a Porsche, but is a Porsche that is better then their legendary 911. If you are wondering how that can be true? You don’t have to look any further then the 45/55 weight distribution of the Cayman S. The 911’s 39/61 is fine if the only driving you do is on your own track, but when it comes to interstate on and off ramps you don’t want to have all that extra weight in the back trying to get ahead of the front. With the new Cayman S, the car goes wherever you tell it to go and goes there fast. A super car the new Cayman S is not, but with a fully leather interior and 295 well trained ponies it may be the car that a lot of 350 Z owners will step up to.
> Car photos of 2006 Porsche Cayman S


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Report From The Street!

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2006 Porsche Cayman S
Car : Porsche Cayman S

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