Porsche Cayman S is a friendly car with excellent ergonomics and an engine that is beyond everything a driving enthusiast would expect
From the moment I was told I was going to Dubai to drive a Porsche Cayman S, I’d been having sleepless nights. After all, it’s not everyday that you get your hands on a 325bhp speed monster. If the old Cayman’s reputation is anything to go by, this new Cayman S’s abilities is taller than the towering Burj Khalifa. I slid in behind the wheel. I put the gearlever into ‘D’, which snapped into place with a smart click and leaned on the beautifully weighted throttle pedal.Now, Dubai isn’t the best place to drive a sportscar. There are very strict rules regarding speed limits and its taken very seriously — there are over 900 speed cameras across the city to keep a check on any throttle happy drivers. For us to get a clearer idea of what this new Cayman was capable of, we would have to take the road to the beach town of Fujairah. It’s a 120km stretch of smooth straights and a fair number of wide curves. The best part though is the mountain range it goes over, where tunnels make matters even more exciting. Likeevery recent Porsche, the Cayman S is a friendly car. There are no intimidating blind spots, the driving position is just perfect, the controls are beautifully weighted and, despite Cayman v2.0’s increasein size, still feels utterly compact.
Apart from the superb ergonomics, the interior quality really stands out. For now, I choose the most tame of the driving modes on the Cayman. The buttons around the gearlever are off and the gearlever remains in ‘D’. It’s quiet (with some tyre noise), it’s rather comfortable (although this could also be because of Dubai’s unblemished roads) and the upshift are smooth. Porsche has done a good job of making sure this car doesn't lack in everyday capability and the fuel-saving stop-start system cuts the engine when we stop at the occasional traffic light. One could be forgiven for thinking that one is sitting at the wheel of an everyday hatchback. And then, as Dubai’s bustle fades into the flat six’s purr, the opportunity presents itself. A straight road disappearing into a shimmering haze of desert heat — time to dig in. Purr, snarl, metallic rasp as the seven-speed PDK gearbox snaps down cogs and the rev-counter swings to 7800rpm.
The short-stroke engine is endowed with constantly variable valve timing and valve lift and a second induction system allows it to breathe through those new ducts that sit behind the doors. The result is a6bhp bump in power, while torque stands at 37.7kgm, delivered at 4500rpm. The lusty 325bhp, 3.4-litre, mid-mounted flat-six motor’s power is so accessible, so in tune with throttle inputs and so delicious in the way the pull gets progressively stronger as you wring it out, it’s almost unbelievable. It has that magical throttleresponse that only a naturally aspirated motor knows.
Porsche pegs the 0-100kph time for this PDK-equipped Cayman S (the one we are likely to get in India) at 4.7sec and a top speed of 281kph. Despite being bigger, this new Cayman S loses 30kg over the old one and at the same time, torsional rigidity is up by a stunning 40 per cent. Also in its favour is the 60mm increase in its wheelbase and wider tracks front and rear. Like the Boxter it is based on, the Cayman’s body is predominantly aluminium with the rest fashioned from a combination of magnesium and high-strength steel. It’s exactly this that comes to the fore as we get to the mountains. Porsche has nailed it on the head with brake feel and stopping power too. The Cayman S engine’s modest power and chassis (aided by Porsche’s optional torque vectoring system) works to provide an experience that’s beyond everything the enthusiast would expect. Even the newelectro-mechanical steering is tremendously engaging with its weight and sheer directness. Still, owners of the old Cayman might be disappointed slightly with the new steering’s lack of the feedback that characterised the old system though. Getting paddle-shifters on this car is highly recommended as the steering wheel-mounted push-pull buttons on this car are quite infuriating to use. Another fantastic feature to add would be the sport exhaust which makes the flat six sound like a completely new beast. However, keep in mind that theseare options that don’t come cheap. But of course, for those investing in a Porsche, some aspects of the car are simply priceless. The Cayman S in India will cost Rs. 70.5 lakh (ex-showroom, estimated).