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Porsche is more commonly associated with their firebrand 911 model, a rear-engined sports car that is invariably a yardstick for all modern sports cars; they’re not, however, really associated with mid-engined coupes, like the 2014 Porsche Cayman. Not these days. But mid-engined coupes is where it pretty much began for Porsche, with Ferdinand Porsche himself creating legendary mid-engined coupes that competed in some of the earliest Grand Prix’s. Despite these halcyon years, Porsche haven’t released a mid-engined coupe since 1969. So why the sudden desire?
The new 2014 Porsche Cayman is, to all intents and purposes, a Porsche Boxster underneath the surface. People might ask, Well, why invest in a mid-engined coupe with a roof when we can get a convertible for pretty much the same price? Well, it has its slight differences – not least the roof – and it’s something of an improvement from the MK2 model. It has a new chassis, less weight, and more power. It’s also quicker, sharper, and more efficient, leading to motor magazine scribes lauding it as the modern sports car of choice. It has a style and a charisma that oozes sex appeal, and though the sales figures might not suggest it, it’s actually pretty awesome. Let’s take a closer look.
If you do happen to be torn between the 2014 Porsche Cayman and the Boxster, you might well be wondering what advantages this actually has. After all, there’s no convertible roof, which is a big selling point for the Boxster. Once you step inside the new 2014 Porsche Cayman, it feels like a proper sports car, with the boxed-in effect emphasised by the fact that the engine sits a hair-raising 30cm behind you, separated only by a bulkhead. It’s enough to get your blood pumping as you hurl the car forward. Speaking of which, the 2.7 litre variant reaches 62 mph in 5.7 seconds on course to 165 mph, whilst the dazzling 3.4 litre Porsche Cayman S with Sport Chrono can devour the 62mph in just 4.7 seconds.
But how is this better than a Boxster? Well, both the 2.7 litre 275bhp variant and the 3.4 litre 325bhp version both offer 10bhp more than the Boxster engines. Both come with six-cylinders, with the engines mid-mounted, a major difference between this and the pricier 911. Indeed, the 911 costs almost as double as much. The new 2014 Porsche Cayman is also 40% stiffer than the MK2 version, with the classy handling also enhanced. Even if you don’t want to be thrashing it around constantly, it also offers a contented, well-balanced drive that is both smooth and reassuring.
Other things critics have liked to throw at the Porsche Cayman turbo in particular is the fact that it actually looks like the 911. It’s never really had an identity of its own, they argued. Well, it kinda does now. It has higher haunches at the back, bigger wheel arches, a redesigned roofline that has been swept back, as well as the addition of bi-xenon headlights at the front. The indented doors that were shared with the 911 have also been replaced, thereby further tearing itself away from its overbearing cousin. The designers have instead placed much more emphasis on individual pride, as well as taut, mature, muscular power. And it’s about time.
The question that has always haunted mid-engined sports coupes is one of space. How do you manage to find suitable amounts of it? The 2014 Porsche Cayman actually doesn’t find that question particularly difficult. For the engineers here, there wasn’t really a puzzle to solve in the first place. Instead, they have purposely gone about their business to create a grand total of space that tops 425 litres – more than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf. Sure, there are only two seats, but there’s as much space here – if not more – than in a family-sized hatchback. Moreover, the Porsche interior is improved in the fact that there is now more head room than on the previous second generation model, with the only slightly disappointing drawback being that the cabin is pretty much the same as the Boxster’s.
The 2014 Porsche Cayman price range starts at £40,000 and rises to £50,000. The 2.7 litre variant is your cheapest option, with the 3.4 litre Porsche Cayman S version coming in the pricier range, whereas the Porsche Cayman R is a slightly more affordable option. The 2014 Porsche Cayman S makes for a better premium than the Boxster’s and the S variant is just as sharp and performative as the 911 yet costs a lot less. Standard features include alloy wheels, Alcantara-trimmed sports seats, auto headlights, touch screen control, air conditioning and a few other high-tech gadgets that will certainly excite a certain type of consumer. Porsche Cayman specs include Bi-Xenon headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels, with the Porsche Cayman service costs being very good, coming in at the need for a service every 20,000 miles.
All in all, the 2014 Porsche Cayman may be Porsche’s first credible mid-engined Coupe for almost 50 decades, but they’ve pretty much solved the formula already. It’s as though the mid-engined Coupe has never been away. All we can say is welcome back.
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