CONFESSION - I HAVE ONLY
driven a touring car on a race
track. Therefore I can only
compare the Porsche to a fully
prepared race car -luckily, it
performed admirably well! I was scheduled to
drive all the Cayman flavours with different
model packages to see the difference each
brings. My day was split up into two sections,
the “dynamic test” that involved driving a tight
and twisty course through cones, and the
second was out on the race track.
First up was the standard Cayman with no
expensive extras, even so, it was very impressive
indeed. It was my first Porsche drive ever and I
got out the car with the biggest smile on my face,
amazed by the speed, agility and the sound of the
flat-6 engine sat behind me. The second car had
the “Porsche Torque Vectoring option” (PTV) and
I was surprised how much difference this made
to the overall handling of the car, the steering was
sharper and more direct, which totally transformed
(PTV) comes into play when the car is driven
assertively into a corner, moderate brake pressure
is applied to the inside rear wheel, and additional
rotational pulse (yaw movement) is induced around
the vehicles vertical axis in the direction of the
turn. In English - this gives the car amazing results
with the steering and handling into and out of the
Switching next into the Cayman with the option
of “Porsche Active Suspension Management”
(PASM) this again delivered a further dimension
to the handling. Unlike PTV the PASM option is
constantly monitoring the driving style and continuously
regulates the damping force for each wheel
according to the road conditions and driving style.
In addition, the suspension is 10mm lower than the
standard setup, which almost tears your head off if
you’re jumping from car to car!
The last part of the dynamic test was the fully
loaded version with all the extras and full options.
By now I was familiar with the course layout and
was very confident that I could push the car, so I
engaged the Sport Plus mode, PTV, and PASM.
The combination of all the modes together gives
the ultimate driving experience, the exhaust note
changes, the throttle is way more responsive, and
when you put together the two optional extras it was like driving a touring car.
As a keen racer and motor enthusiast I would order with the the full package, it makes the car feel like a thoroughbred. After all, how long has Porsche been testing all these systems to make the car more manageable at speed? But I also understand that not everyone has the desire, or sometimes ability to drive hard and fast.
Next it was laps around the circuit, which was split up into two teams, a fast group and a slow group, I joined the fast group and off we went.
As we started building the speed up gradually it was clear to me that the Porsche Cayman S must have been mainly developed through testing on track. The speed at which you can enter any corner always put a smile on my face, if you enter a corner too fast the onboard computers fix the problem, put you back online, and fires you out of the corner.
I didn’t drive the standard model on the track only the S, but on the dynamic course driven back to back the difference was clear to see.
On day two of the test drive I hit the road to Fujairah. It was a spectacle, ten Porsche Caymans all driving in convoy attracted the attention of every passing car. Then we reached the mountain roads and the pace car disappeared into the distance…that’s when the road test started. The road was amazingly smooth, fast and flowing and the car adapted to all the tricky off cambers with ease.
The only negative points I can possibly say about the Cayman, is the comfort of the seats after a few hours, I had to constantly change seat position to remain comfortable, and the shape of the Cayman looks very similar to the Audi TT.
Overall it was a very engaging two days the top-class performance of the Cayman will be an experience I will never forget.
PORSCHE CAYMAN: THE LOWDOWN
The Cayman S has a 3.4-litre flat-six engine with Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) and VarioCam Plus.
It produces 325 hp at 7,400 rpm and its maximum torque of 273 lb.-ft. is generated between 4,500 and 5,800 rpm. The new Cayman S with six-speed manual gearbox races from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and reaches a top track speed of 175 mph.
Story by Martin Ormrod