To many purists and students of the sports car, the Cayman and Cayman S coupes are clearly the modern descendants of the groundbreaking and legendary Porsche 904 and its precursor, the Porsche 550 Coupe.
Originally launched in 2006, Porsche unveiled a second-generation model year 2009 Cayman and Cayman S in 2008 with new front and rear panels, larger halogen headlights and integrated direction indicators and new LED rear lights. Porsche’s latest interpretations of the fast and agile mid-engine, two-passenger coupes are more environmentally friendly than even their immediate predecessors thanks to new engines and Porsche’s new PDK double-clutch gearbox.
And like their Boxster siblings, for 2010 the Cayman and Cayman S come with the three-spoke Sports steering wheel as a standard feature, and Dark Blue Metallic exterior paint and a heated steering wheel are new options.
A new 2.9-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine developing 265 horsepower at 7200 rpm and 221 lb-ft of torque from 4400 to 6000 rpm drives the 2010 Cayman. This translates to a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds and a top test-track speed of 165 mph when fitted with standard six-speed manual gearbox. Adding the PDK gearbox drops the 0-to¬60 time to 5.4 seconds, and adding the optional Sports Chrono Package further improves this sprint time to 5.2 seconds. The top test-track speed for a PDK-equipped Cayman is 163 mph.
The Cayman S pushes the performance envelope with its new 3.4-liter engine producing 320 horsepower at 7200 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque at 4750 rpm. A Cayman S with a standard six-speed manual gearbox will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds on its way to a top test-track speed of 172 mph. Adding PDK lowers the sprint time to 4.8 seconds (4.6 seconds when using the Sports Chrono Package) while providing a top test-track speed of 171 mph.
Yet all this performance does not mean one must sacrifice fuel efficiency. The 2010 Cayman delivers 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway with a manual gearbox and 20 city/29 highway with the optional PDK gearbox. The Cayman S achieves 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway with a manual gearbox and 20 city/29 highway with the optional PDK gearbox.
The 2010 Cayman MSRP is $51,400, while the Cayman S MSRP is $61,500, plus $950 for destination.
A choice of manual transmissions
Again, these Porsche mid-engine sports cars now come equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard equipment. While the gearboxes for the base models and the S versions are similar in design and construction and have reinforced synchromesh rings on all gears, each has gear ratios carefully mated to its optimize the 2.9-liter and 3.4-liter engines’ output and characteristics.
The Cayman can be equipped with Porsche's innovative and blazingly fast seven-speed, double-clutch PDK, transmission as an option. The PDK, like the Tiptronic S automatic transmission it replaces, allows the driver to shift up and down using either steering-wheel mounted gear selectors or the console-mounted lever. Or the driver can simply leave the PDK in automatic mode and allow it to operate totally on its own.
But unlike a traditional automatic transmission with a torque converter, on an extremely simple level PDK is two manual gearboxes combined into one unit. At its crux, the PDK has a sophisticated electronically controlled valve body overseeing the operation of two separate multi-plate wet-clutch packs, each with its own gear set. One clutch activates First, Third, Fifth, Seventh and Reverse, the other acts on Second, Fourth and Sixth
In manual mode, under load, the PDK upshifts sequentially, alternating between odd and even numbered gear sets. During downshifts, however, the PDK can skip gears, even going from Seventh to Second.
For those enthusiast drivers who want even more direct control of the Porsche double-clutch gearbox, Porsche engineers have configured the optional Sports Chrono Package and Sports Chrono Package Plus to provide added performance. At a touch of a button, the PDK’s character changes to a more aggressive set up. Gearshift points are delayed until the upper rev range. The shift times are shorter and the gear changes are sportier. At low rates of deceleration, the system initiates a swifter, brake-induced downshift. In manual mode, gear changes are faster and more dynamic.
Regardless of transmission, these mid-engine sports cars also boast Start-Off Assistant as standard. This feature allows the driver to get moving from a standstill on a hill without rolling backward.
An optional mechanical locking differential for improved traction on uneven or slippery surfaces is available. It works seamlessly with the standard equipment electronic Automatic Brake Differential (ABD) and the standard Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system, to further improve traction on varied surfaces and when driving enthusiastically, especially around curves.
Sure-footed chassis, Porsche Stability Management, and outstanding brakes
Porsche’s mid-engine sports cars ride on fully independent suspensions. For 2010, the suspension tuning has been refined to improve both ride comfort and dynamic response. To maximize both.
The front and rear suspensions are of Porsche-modified McPherson strut configuration, with trailing links and twin-tube gas-charged dampers. In addition to the standard suspension, the Cayman and Cayman S offer Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as an option. PASM offers the driver a choice of two basic damper settings, Normal and Sport.
Like all Porsches, the mid-engine sports cars are equipped with enhanced Porsche Stability Management (PSM) as standard equipment. This computerized system relies on data from an assortment of sensors to help maintain the car's intended path as the driver pushes it to edges of its dynamic limits. By comparing speed of the individual wheels, vehicle speed and engine speed, PSM can determine if the car is beginning to slip sideways or that a tire is losing traction and beginning to spin.
Since it is Porsche’s fervent belief that the driver always be in total command of the vehicle, PSM can be switched off. Yet if the situation demands it, PSM will re-activate to help the driver regain control of the vehicle. While PSM can help a driver maintain control, it cannot overcome the laws of physics.
Four-wheel disc antilock brakes are standard on all models. Cross-drilled rotors and four-piston monobloc aluminum calipers are used on all four wheels.
Drivers who desire even greater braking power than standard may opt for Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB). Developed for the extreme use of motorsports, PCCB replaces the standard metal brake rotors with ceramic discs. Besides delivering otherwise unobtainable levels of consistently superb braking performance under repeated heavy use, the ceramic rotors weigh approximately 50 percent less than iron discs.
Multiple wheel and tire choices
The Cayman rides on standard 17-inch light-alloy wheels. The Cayman S comes with 18-inch wheels. Optional on either are 19-inch rims.
The Cayman comes with 7-inch wide front and 8.5-inch wide rear wheels. All tires are Z-rated radials, 205/55 aspect in front and 235/50 in the rear. The Cayman S rides on 8-inch wide front and 9-inch wide rear wheels with standard 235/55ZR front tires and 265/55ZR rear tires
To save 22 lbs. (10 kg) and increase cargo capacity, both Cayman models are equipped with an electric air compressor and emergency tire sealant. There is no spare tire, jack or tire-changing tools.
Porsche’s engineers know that correct inflation pressures are not just critical for safety, but also mandatory for exacting the full measure of a car's dynamics. Therefore all of Porsche’s mid-engine sports cars come equipped with Porsche's Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) as standard equipment.
The Cayman sports car feature hot-galvanized all-steel bodies on a monocoque structures. Their low, lithe bodies have a coefficient of drag of just 0.29 when equipped with manual gearbox, 0.30 with PDK.
Clearly, these agile sports cars look like no other vehicles on the road while and at the same time have a distinct Porsche appearance. Subtle design cues help differentiate them from earlier models. In front, the Cayman the round positioning lights and fog lamps are placed on the outer edge of the air intakes. Though the headlamps have the traditional Porsche look, the fog lamps are separate and positioned low and away from the car’s centerline.
In the rear, the taillights and brake lights boast LEDs. This technology improves safety through their instantaneous response time and improved clarity when lit. The light units are broken into three separate elements on each side of the car, with clear demarcation between the elements.
The Cayman is available with optional BI-XENON headlights with an integral daytime running light function, dynamic curve lights, headlight washing system and automatic headlight range control.
The Cayman is a two-passenger sports car that provides a surprising amount of cargo capacity due to their mid-engine design. The Cayman, with its coupe design and rear hatch, provides 5.3 cubic feet up front and an amazing 9.2 cubic feet in the rear.
Customers can still choose among a variety of seating options beyond the standard sports seats, including full or partial leather seats, Adaptive Sport Seats and Porsche’s unique Sports Bucket seats, essentially a racing seat with a folding backrest and a thorax airbag. Porsche now offers seat-ventilation as an option combined with seat heating. What is unique about Porsche seat ventilation solution is that instead of blowing air, they pull moisture away.
Full occupant protection
While Porsche engineers stress the importance of active safety by designing agile vehicles with outstanding brakes to help drivers avoid accidents, they also provide occupants with a safe passenger compartment. All models are equipped with three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt-latch tensioners and belt-force limiters as well as six airbags.
In addition to two-stage frontal airbags, these mid-engine sports cars feature the Porsche Side Impact Protection (POSIP) system with side-impact airbags mounted in the seatbacks and head-protecting side-impact airbags which deploy from the doors' windowsills.
To protect small children, the passenger seat sensors automatically defeat the passenger front airbags if the sensors detect a lightweight occupant.
Sport Chrono Package Plus
The PDK offers greater performance for the enthusiast driver when utilized with the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus, available as an option on all models. The Sport Chrono Package Plus allows more aggressive control maps for the engine speed limiter, Porsche Stability Management (PSM), Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), as well as the PDK. The feature is activated by pressing a button on the center console. The package also includes a separate stopwatch gauge on top of the instrument panel.
Sights and sounds
In addition to Sport Chrono Package Plus there is a veritable laundry list of options available to allow customers to create their dream cars.
At the head of the list is the enhanced Porsche Communication Management (PCM). For 2010, the PCM has been refined with a larger screen and simplified controls. The color touchscreen is 6.5 inches, and the number of control keys has been reduced by half. The PCM can also be used with external music sources, such as iPods and memory sticks and can provide Bluetooth connectivity for mobile telephones.
For 2010, standard equipment is Porsche’s CDR-30 sound system with a monochromatic display and integral CD and MP3 player. Options include Sirrius XM Satellite radio, Porsche Sound Package Plus with AM/FM radio, CD player and nine loudspeakers, and also a BOSE® Surround Sound System with ten loudspeakers and a seven-channel digital amplifier.
Other options include a navigation system with the PCM, a six-disc CD changer, and Park Assist.