2014 Porsche Cayman S
2014 Porsche Cayman S
2014 Porsche Cayman S. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Brendan McAleer

One of the things I frequently find myself asking is, “And just where the heck am I supposed to use a car like this?” Sure, you can have four or five hundred horsepower and track-tuned suspension, but the top speed of most cars is going to be that of the Toyota Corolla in front of you. Or whatever the police think is reasonable and prudent.

With Vancouver now rated the second most-congested city in the North America, just behind Los Angeles, it’s something that everybody else wants to know, too. “Nice car, but where ya’ gonna drive it?”

Turns out, we’ve been asking the wrong question this entire time. It’s not where you drive, it’s when.

The neighbourhood is eerily still, sleeping, the merest suggestion of a lightening sky in the East hinting of the approaching dawn. I spend a few quick minutes admiring the curves of this new Cayman, hunkered down and beefed up, a three-quarter-scale miniature supercar. Isn’t she a beauty? I think so.

The 3.4L flat-six engine comes alive without a grumble or a bark, loud only because the street is so quiet. It settles into a discreet whirr as the car moves off the line, the PDK gearbox clumsily clonking through the gears. Until it gets up to operating temperature, Porsche’s dual-clutch gearbox feels groggy from the early start.

We wind out of the hills down along Marine drive and out towards the Lion’s Gate Bridge, where the huge banked curves are usually crammed with frustrated motorists trying to commute downtown to work. Today, there’s not a soul on the road, the bottleneck is open and I flick the left-most paddle shifter twice to kick from fourth to second and goose the throttle.

2014 Porsche Cayman S2014 Porsche Cayman S
2014 Porsche Cayman S. Click image to enlarge

Now, before you think I’m about to start using the city like my own personal racetrack, let’s pause for a moment – that’s not what I’m talking about. Other folks are up too, joggers and taxis ferrying early flyers to the airport, and people walking incontinent dogs. But when the streets are empty like this, you can drive without worrying about being held up by volume or distracted drivers or rivers of pedestrians that leave you stranded turning left even after the light changes.

I’ve got the heated seat on and the windows down – no radio necessary – as the Cayman crests the bridge and lays the city out before me. Vancouver is all bruised blue and purple shadows in the twilight, its tall spires of glass just waiting to catch those first welcome summer rays and scatter them into a kaleidoscope of yellow and orange.

We dash into the forest, through the Stanley Park Causeway and out onto Georgia Street where a row of green lights stretches onwards, all six lanes as empty as a stretch of tarmac desert. We leave the wide streets to bumble along the smaller ‘hoods, under the leafy trees and out through the curving road that leads past English Bay – thronged with tourists and sun-seekers in just a few hours, there’s only one early-riser there who looks up at the blue shape flicking past.

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