April 21, 2013

2014 Porsche Cayman S


Please read the rest of this with the sound of German-accented English in your ears.

You don’t really have to. 

C’est la vie, or whatever the French say…  Wait, what?

German, think German.


Base Price: $63,800
As Driven: $83,520
Engine: 3.4L 6 Cylinder, 325 hp
Transmission: 7-Speed PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung)
Wheelbase: 97.4 inches
Curb Weight: 2,910 lbs.
MPG Rating: 20 city/28 highway

I did not spend a lot of time with the Cayman S, but it definitely left an impression.  I’ve driven some sporty cars.  Some were fast; Audi R8 V10 Spyder.  Some were quick; Fiat 500 Abarth.  Then there’s the 2014 Cayman S.


This car is great.  After my short time with it, the only word I could come up with was, “Wow.”  That’s it.  No attempt at eloquence.  No searching for the perfect twist of phrase or superfluous sentences to describe my feelings or emotions.  Just, wow.


Interior:
The interior is Porsche.  There are buttons and lots of them.  But there are no buttons on the steering wheel.  There are two small screens on the steering wheel to tell you when you’ve engaged, Sport, Sport Plus, and Launch Control.  The rest of the wheel is free and clear of buttons, knobs, and dials.  It’s like Porsche wanted you to use the wheel for steering and to navigate their automobile without distraction.

The key and the ignition are on the left hand side of the steering column.  This is unusual to the American market where the rest can be found on the right side.  This is one of Porsche’s historical features.  Just like how the 911 still has the engine located at the back of the car, the left hand ignition has hung around throughout Porsche’s lineage.


The left hand start comes from Porsche’s days racing Le Mans.  The drivers used to have to run to their cars, get in, strap in, start the car, take off, and then race the rest of the competition.  By placing the ignition of the other side Porsche was trying to free up milliseconds at the beginning of the race, anything to get the drivers out on the track more quickly.  So the left hand ignition has stuck around.

The instrument cluster and gauges were easy to navigate and adjust settings.  The navigation does not come up on the console into between the driver and passenger seats.  The map displays itself in the right one of the three circles that makes up the gauges.  This helps the driver by letting them check the instrument console and not the screen in the middle of the car which is located down out of the sight line.

There is no back seat.  The 6 cylinder engine is located in front of the rear axle, behind the front seats, in the middle of the car, and helps with perfect weight distribution.


Exterior:
The exterior of the redesigned 2014 Cayman is gorgeous.  From the lip spoiler at the back to the flowing curves of the wheel wells to the aerodynamic stance that look fast while standing still.  All of the lines look great.  I like the looks of the Cayman more than the 911.  I know that’s sacrilege, but it’s true for me.  The aggressive front end, the xenon headlamps, the red brake calipers, the mid-engine design, the aggressive exhaust, and the gorgeous curves all add up to inappropriate advances by me towards this car.  I really like the look of it.



Tech:
There is some tech in this car, but I didn’t play with it.  The infortainment system is functional and fairly straight forward, but there are some that say the whole system is overpriced and useless.  It serves a purpose like most features in a modern car, but I don’t NEED it.  The upgraded stereo is more of a want than a need. 

I did use the hill start assist.  It was a steep incline.  When I took my foot off the brake, the car was stock still, until I applied the accelerator, then we were back to being rockets.

The fuel economy for the Cayman S is impressive for a sports car.  The Cayman using Auto Start Stop technology and “Coasting” technology to help save on fuel usage.  “Coasting” means that the engine disconnects from the PDK transmission while not accelerating.  This means that the engine is not used to slow down the car, so there is no force acting against the motion of the vehicle other than air resistance.


The Auto Start Stop feature turns off the engine when you come to a stop.  This is a feature that works with the manual and the automatic PDK transmissions.  To turn the car back on with the manual take your foot off the clutch.   When it’s the PDK, you just have to take your foot off the brake.  By turning off the engine, you save fuel.  Coasting and Auto Start Stop help the Cayman to achieve 20 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway.  That’s pretty good for a car that bases its whole identity on performance and handling.

Performance:
The performance is the best part of the Cayman S, other than the fact that you would own a Porsche.  The Cayman is quick, fairly light, and comes with an optional 7 Speed PDK transmission.  I love manuals, but spend the extra cash for one of the greatest automatic transmissions.  The PDK’s shifts are measured in milliseconds. 

 
This Cayman had the Sport Chrono package which means you get “Launch Control” and the PDK gets the “motorsport-derived gearshift strategy.”  If you do buy this package, promise me that you will launch the car at least once a day, if not more.  The Cayman S is not designed to be a garage queen.  With the PDK option and the Sport Chrono package (the combined small price of $5,570) the car will do 0-60 in 4.4 seconds.  The regular manual will do 4.7 seconds if you shift correctly and the PDK without the Sport Chrono will do 4.6 seconds.

The steering was very proficient for getting me around the tight bends and helped me get lined up for the next corner.  I know that it is electric power steering, but there were no major differences in the aggressive city driving that I engaged in. 

We drove without the Auto Start Stop.
This is a car where the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” buttons actually do something.  They tighten the suspension and change shift patterns for the PDK, but all of those things add up to a dynamic street car. 


The 3.4L horizontally opposed 6 cylinder aluminum engine makes 325 horsepower near the top of the tachometer.  The torque is 272 ft. lb. around half way up the tach.  The torque curve is consistent which makes the Cayman S feel very quick to the butt dyno (where you use your butt to tell you how fast and how much torque a car has.).

 The Cayman S has a track top speed of 170ish…  I’ve never had it on a track, but would love to really let the Cayman fly.  It wants to.  Just add wings.

Please enjoy the sound of the Cayman S starting and reving.


Overall, I love the Cayman S.  If I had $80,000 sitting around, then the Cayman S would be in my garage.  There are a lot of cars that I would like to have in my garage, but there is a spot for the Cayman.  I would probably buy the 2.7L six cylinder base Cayman over the S.  It’s cheaper with 50 less horsepower, but would still be a blast to drive around town. 
 
Thank you to Aristocrat Motors for allowing me to borrow the Cayman.  Check out their website for information on all of their brands.

4 comments:

  1. What you prefer, Cayman S, or TT RS?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't driven a TT RS... It does have the better power number at 360, but it weighs 400lbs. more than the Cayman. I really liked the dynamics of the Cayman. It moves well and feels very composed.

      There's also a massive price difference. The Cayman is almost 20 grand more than the TT RS, even optioning up the TT...

      I vote TT if money's a concern, but if not, defnitely the Cayman S. It's such a good car. I'll try to get a hold of a TT RS from my Audi guy and let you know what I think!

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    2. Hi Chris,
      thank you so much for your answer!

      I am from Brazil, and here car is so expensive, but i don't know why here is the fourth car market of the world.
      But money is not a problem for my choice.
      But i can't do a test drive of this cars and because this my choice is in a little dark.
      Because of this your answer is very important.

      After you drive a TT RS model please tell me what is the sensation between the Cayman S.

      I love the sound of engine, i love eye magnetc...
      Actually i have one Volkswagen Beetle 2013 Turbo for my day-by-day.

      TT RS, or cayman S will be my weekend car, to drive to the beachs (Ilha Bela City for example), or to the cities at the ridge (Campos do Jordão City for example).
      Here we have really nice roads (Rodovia dos Bandeirantes [SP-348] for example).

      Thank you again for your help.
      Best Regards,
      Guilherme Assis

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