By James Bergeron

2007 Porsche Cayman
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Having driven the Targa 4S only a few weeks ago, I had the rare opportunity to come to my own conclusions on the new Cayman platform in comparison to Porsche’s historic 911 architecture this weekend as I spent almost all of it inside the new Cayman.

When the Cayman S was announced by Porsche, there were critics and there were fans. The critics complained that the Cayman would never sell, especially with a price very close to that of the 911, but a detuned engine ensured that sales of the 911 would not be affected. The fans loved the style and potential of the Cayman’s driving dynamics in a less expensive package than the 911.

2007 Porsche Cayman
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How fitting it is for me to be driving a yellow Cayman with my own yellow rocket (a Honda S2000) sitting in wait for warmer weather. I’ll have to rely on my memory of the past summer for a comparison as these machines are similar in spec on paper.

With a base price of $69,600 the Cayman is certainly more attainable than the Targa I drove a few weeks back and, to the untrained eye, may be mistaken for a 911 as well.

2007 Porsche Cayman
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My tester is equipped with the basics: a 5-speed manual transmission mated to Porsche’s 2.7 litre flat 6. The engine generates 245hp and 201 lb-ft of torque and propels the Cayman from 0-100km/h in just under 6 seconds. This is the sweet spot in power-to-weight ratios in my opinion as it allows for a bit of fun without the constant reminder of the possibility of meeting Bubba at the local jailhouse.

After driving over 300km this weekend in the Cayman I can honestly say this baby is plenty powerful for around-town fun, or at the racetrack. The Cayman S must be an absolute blast with the added horsepower it provides.

2007 Porsche Cayman
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As you sit in the driver’s seat of the Cayman, which is height adjustable as well as the standard fore-aft and backrest adjustments, you look out over a gorgeous view of the curvaceous front fenders that gives you the feeling you are in control of a legendary Le Mans touring car.

The 5-speed manual transmission in the Cayman is one of the slickest transmissions I have driven, period. It is not as short and sweet as the S2000’s transmission but the gates are very well defined and the throws short enough to be satisfying. When cold the gears are a little tough to engage but as the revs climb the gears slip in with a satisfying clunk: wonderful.

2007 Porsche Cayman
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Power delivery is intoxicating in the Cayman, with smooth power right through the power band with a little extra oomph as you hit 4000-plus rpm. Turning 3000rpm on the highway at 120km/h in fifth gear, the Cayman pulls easily to pass without having to switch gears unless you are in a serious hurry.

The Cayman is more about driving feel than it is about sheer power and acceleration and this is where it really shines. The suspension is firm but does not beat you up and weight transfer is smooth in transitions.

The steering is heavy but direct and as you turn in, it simply becomes razor sharp as the car takes a set and powers into and out of the curve. For me, the Cayman is a much more entertaining drive than the 911 Targa I drove a few weeks ago.

2007 Porsche Cayman
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The chassis is unbelievably stiff, the steering feel is direct and the connection of man and machine is sublime with the differential and transmission whine a constant reminder you are driving something special.

Perhaps Porsche could send me a 911 with a manual transmission to change my mind in this matter; until then, I will proclaim the Cayman more fun to drive — even with less power than the 911.

2007 Porsche Cayman
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Generally not a concern of buyers of this type of vehicle, cargo capacity is plentiful enough with trunk space in both the front and rear of the vehicle to allow you to carry a large amount of groceries home, as I found out when we went to Costco and forgot what vehicle we had taken. Golf clubs might be a stretch in the Cayman though, which is a little unfortunate but an optional roof rack is available if need be.

Not only does the Cayman have the power, handling and looks that get you noticed at every stop light, but fuel mileage is also extremely reasonable. Rated at 6.8L/100km highway and 10.1L/100km city, I averaged 10.8L/100km with a heavy right foot. Good job!

2007 Porsche Cayman
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One can certainly argue that Porches tend to be pricey when comparing numbers on a spec sheet. If sheer numbers are your motivation for a sports car purchase, a Cayman could be a tough sell with vehicles like the Corvette C6 available with gobs of power for similar pricing.

With any vehicle purchase decision I would always recommend a buyer to test drive as many vehicles as possible before making a conclusion. The Cayman, although not the most powerful vehicle in this price bracket, has a feel to it that just may entice you to leave that power behind.

*Rating out of 5:

2007 Porsche Cayman
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*Rating based on vehicle’s classification

2007 Porsche Cayman
MSRP as tested: $69,760

For more information on Porsche and the Cayman visit Porsche Canada

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