Porsche Cayman, 2006–2012
Porsche Cayman, 2006–2012
Porsche Cayman, 2006–2012
Porsche Cayman, 2006–2012. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

Vehicle Type: Coupe

History/Description: A smaller and more affordable alternative to the 911, the Porsche Cayman first launched as a 2006 model in late 2005 – offering both Cayman and Cayman S variants for sports and track-ready versions of the ‘baby 911’ model, respectively.

All Cayman models got mid-mounted flat-six engines with rear-wheel drive with an option of manual or automatic (and later PDK dual-clutch) transmissions. No turbocharged engine or AWD was available.

Look for remote access, power accessories, adaptive xenon lights, Bluetooth, premium audio and other high-end features available, depending on the model selected. Adjustable shock absorbers, branded Porsche Active Suspension Management or PASM, could be fitted, as could a ‘Sport Chrono’ package that fits a lap timer and other track-day novelties.

As Cayman was a highly customizable car, shoppers are advised to ask the seller about the specific features and options the model in question contains. Equipment levels can vary heavily, even between models with the same trim grade designation.

Engines / Trim: Early on, look for 2.7L or 3.4L flat-six engines creating 245 or 295 horsepower, respectively. A six-speed manual or five-speed automatic were the transmission choices early on. From 2009 and on, a driveline makeover saw the 2.7L engine upped to 2.9, gaining 20 horsepower – while direct injection and other tweaks added 25 horsepower to the up-level engine, increasing output to 325 ponies.

Automatic transmissions were replaced with the high-speed, high-efficiency PDK gearbox as part of this refresh as well.

Finally, a hard-core, track-ready Cayman R variant was created to cater to track-day enthusiasts set on driving a racecar on the road. Extensive weight reduction efforts, reduced feature content, upgraded chassis components and a lowered suspension were included on this rare model.

What Owners Like: Obviously, members of the Porsche Cayman owners’ community rave about styling, exclusivity, handling, braking, pedigree, heritage and the perfection in all things performance embodied by their rides. Fuel conumption is also highly rated, as the Cayman is light and aerodynamic, making it slip along effortlessly during highway cruising. With a trunk in both front and rear, it’s ideal for a road trip, too. The Cayman is also said to be easy to drive daily, easy to park, and easy to get in and out of.

What Owners Dislike: Common gripes include wind and road noise at speed, a tight cabin for larger drivers, and a dated look to the interior’s layout and controls. Here’s a high-dollar car with an interior that reminds drivers their investment was primarily in the engine and chassis. Expensive options package and nickel-and-diming for even trivial upgrades round out the complaints.

Owner Reviews:
Porsche Cayman Owner Reviews (autoTRADER.ca)

Porsche Cayman, 2006–2012Porsche Cayman, 2006–2012
Porsche Cayman, 2006–2012. Click image to enlarge

Common Issues: Since Cayman is a sports car that could have had the stink driven out of it by past owners, be sure to check the remaining life of consumable parts like tires, brake pads and the clutch, if shopping a manual-equipped model. None of these components will be cheap to replace.

Avoid a manual-equipped Cayman that shifts roughly, grinds, exhibits clutch slippage, or ‘pops’ out of gear. Note that a difficult-to-shift model with automatic or “PDK” transmissions could be suffering from a faulty motor mount. Pull the shift lever through its various positions several times to ensure there’s no difficulty.

Sports cars, by nature, are driven hard, often. As a result, they can break down their fluids more quickly than a lightly driven Toyota Corolla – so be sure the Cayman you’re considering has had its fluids changed at factory-prescribed intervals, using factory-prescribed fluids. Proper attention to these fluids, especially in a sports model, can have a very positive effect on the durability and reliability of the driveline components they slosh around inside of. Changing your Cayman’s transmission fluid on time, for instance, is a great alternative to changing its transmission.

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