A recent stint behind the wheel both on some of BC’s most spectacular driving roads and the track during the Porsche Performance Tour has made me realize – once again – how much you have to hand it to the Porsche Cayman. More specifically, amidst all this hype surrounding the recently-released Cayman GT4, it’s important to remember just how good – and what good value – the Cayman S is, in particular.
The Cayman had a bit of a rough start; its decapitated Boxster cousin had been mopping the floors with the competition ever since its inception in 1996, and had been one of two pillars – along with the Cayenne SUV – that had helped bring Porsche from the brink of Chapter 11, right back into the black. The Cayman, with the added strength of a hardtop, would indeed have to be very, very good.
Then there was the 911 flagship; no mid-engine pretender was ever going to earn the power figures that the top rear-engine brass made, because that would quickly become a colossal conflict of interest as the Cayman’s mid-engine platform is, inherently, the better-balanced and more exploitable one.
So, you can see that it was kind of doomed to reside in the shadows right from the get-go.
Fast-forward to 2015; one facelift and one generation later, the Cayman continues to soldier on and my, oh my, is it ever good.
First of all, there’s the styling. What had originally been a little awkward-looking study both in shape and detailing, has now be pinched, lifted and tightened to look like a properly imposing ride. It’s a little longer than it used to be, but has a lower roofline, giving it an imposing stance and properly conveying the performance potential located within.
More on Autos.ca: Test Drive: 2015 Porsche Boxster GTS
In detail, smart touches like the way the subtle rear wing bisects the taillamps, or the way the headlights sit a little more upright make for a package that looks compact, yet muscular. It does a better job of hiding its mid-engine configuration, which was a bone of contention in older models.
“S” designation adds other bonuses; bigger (19-inch) wheels as standard (20s are optional), and those oh-so-scrumptious dual tailpipe openings. To add even further “anger” to the stance, our car featured the $1,410 Sport Chassis that lowers the car a further 20 millimetres, to the point where the tire sidewalls look like they’re ready to scrape the insides of the wheelwells. They don’t.
This is a purposeful-looking car, there’s no doubt about it. Especially when painted in Martini red, white and blue, as the instructor car was during the Tour.
The deep bucket seats inside are the first step in what has to be one of the best seating positions in the segment. Then, once in (a surprisingly easy task, thanks to large door openings), everything just falls so sweetly into eager hands; the wheel, shift lever and centre stack are all there, easily reachable even when you’re pushing on your favorite b-road. Yes, the spindly cupholders that pop out from just above the glove box are still a little weird (maybe they’re added as an afterthought because the Germans knew we North Americans need our Starbucks always close at hand), but even that fact points to the car being about so much more than that. I can just hear the designers now: “Look how silly they look! You don’t want these distracting you from the fine road ahead, do you?”
Because it’s here that the Cayman S shows just how addictive it can be.