Once again, Porsche wants you think that the Boxster and Cayman are two different cars. In other words, they say the Cayman isn't merely the coupe version of the Boxster roadster.
But in reality, you really can't help thinking otherwise for the two models that have excelled over the years on the entry-level front of luxury sports cars.
Despite their different nomenclatures and launch dates, these two Porsches are very closely related and not as remote as its German brand owner wants buyers to believe.
Take a look at the exterior design, for a start. The Cayman gets the same visual improvements first employed in the Boxster last year, including a tidier front end, a better proportioned side appearance (if you don't count the roof), wider rear stance and fine details like the rear fin and side air intakes.
Compared over the outgoing Cayman, the successor looks more dynamic and athletic thanks to bigger exterior dimensions that haven't necessarily made the car heavier thanks to increased use of lightweight materials _ just like in the Boxster.
In fact, the Boxster and Cayman weigh the same at 1,340kg, despite having different rooftops, and both share the same wheelbase length and width.
Our test Cayman was coloured in a rather sombre dark grey, meaning that if you really want to appreciate the new visual flair of the Cayman, you might have to settle for a brighter hue.
Interior-wise, the Cayman continues to mirror that of the Boxster. What this naturally means is that the Cayman's cabin uses fine materials, is finished impeccably but draws some criticism from an ergonomic point of view.
Of course, the dashboard layout is generally simple and most functions are in their obvious locations. But the numerous switches for the main system are fiddly to use and there are some overlapping operations on both the instrument panel and centre console.
Like the Boxster, the Cayman has been designed as two-seater right from the onset. The good news is that there is now more interior space in the Cayman for people of bigger sizes.
But you'll have to live with the fact that the Cayman is a mid-engine sports car, meaning that you won't get a proper boot to put your golf bags into.
What you get instead, as usual, is smaller storage at the front and rear, as well as a shallow shelf above the engine compartment which, however, hasn't been designed to prevent things from sliding forward into the passenger compartment.
By being a true coupe, the Cayman doesn't need to store a foldable roof. This means that it is a more practical car than the Boxster and is certainly more relevant to buyers in a country where roadster don't sell well as coupes. But this hasn't been the excuse for Porsche asking for more money in the Cayman than the Boxster.
In the brand's global game, the Cayman is positioned above the Boxster, explaining the 800,000 baht difference between the two cars in Thailand.
And to justify its loftier position, the Cayman's 2.7-litre flat-six (downsized from the 2.9-litre, just like in the Boxster) is rated at 275hp _ 10hp more than the Boxster _ thus making the Cayman a tenth of second quicker from 0-100kph.
In spite of this, the Cayman performs practically the same as the Boxster on the move. In city driving, the engine feels lazy and a little breathless, partially thanks to a soggy throttle response.
The traffic ahead really needs to clear up before you can enjoy the Cayman's true performance credentials. But if high engine revolutions hold the key to driving enjoyment, then you might as well as just settle for the go-faster S model which has another 50hp to play with.
True, you could imply that the regular Cayman is great for first-time customers of Porsche. But we reckon that those punters, particularly those who have been acquainted with turbo engines in Beemers and Mercs, will still find the Cayman lacking in fizz _ even when approaching the engine's redline.
If you really want to make the car lively on the move, it's better to press the Sport button to increase responsiveness or, even better, Sport Plus (which also stiffens the suspension).
What probably made the Cayman look a little underachieving in performance terms is the chassis, which has substantially improved over its predecessor.
Bigger dimensions usually allow engineers to introduce more ride comfort and road-holding grip at the same time, which is exactly the case for the Cayman.
And with a nicely balanced front to rear chassis and well-judged steering weight, the Cayman is a peach to steer on back-country roads. Because it handles so well, you will always crave more power to exploit the advantageous chassis set-up.
Despite a softer suspension setting that pays for increased ride comfort around town, there is still road noise in the cabin as speed builds up.
At least, it's less than before and not as excessive as in the Boxster, which inevitably suffers more because of the rag-top.
This makes the Cayman, in the end, a better car than before, as if the older one wasn't capable enough. This isn't surprising given how Porsches have predictably, yet rightly, evolved these days, Cayman included.
As is tradition, the Cayman, at 8.99 million baht, is pricier than any conceivable rival in Thailand. If you're after one, it obviously means you aren't perturbed with its price premium.
The S would probably suffice then, because it somehow feels the regular Cayman is short-changed in terms of performance _ unless cat-walking is the name of the game.
AT A GLANCE
Styling ............................. 8/10
The Cayman now has a more dynamic, if not that rousing, appearance thanks to wider dimensions.
Performance and economy.. 8/10
The naturally aspirated flat-six initially feels lazy but goes reasonably well in its powerband.
Handling and ride............... 9/10
The Cayman now has a more comfortable ride and higher levels of grip at the same time.
This was never a forte of the Cayman, but you get boot space in the front and rear.
Safety kit.......................... 8/10
There are the usual levels of active and passive safety features not making any headlines.
VERDICT .......................... 8/10
Like the Boxster soft-top, the Cayman has evolved in a very predictable yet correct manner. It's still good to drive yet more comfortable. But if you really want true fizz, the S model might be a better choice.
Spoiler automatically pops up as speed builds. The Cayman performs practically the same as the Boxster on the move OR TRY THESE
Spoiler automatically pops up as speed builds.
The Cayman performs practically the same as the Boxster on the move
OR TRY THESE
About the author
- Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor