May the Porsche be with you

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Now in its third generation, although technically the second was more of a facelift, the 2014 model has revised engines, a longer wheelbase, wider tracks, new gadgets and a brand new interior and exterior. The model has matured tremendously since its launch back in 2006 as a spin-off from the Boxster, and today it has earned its own standard of pedigree in the Porsche lineup. Where once it was regarded as a little brother to the 911 it has certainly grown up of late.

We got to test drive the Cayman S model, which makes use of a 3.4-litre naturally aspirated flat-six cylinder engine to create an output of 325 horsepower.

This model can be coupled to a six-speed manual transmission, or an optional seven-speed Porsche Doppel-kupplungsgetriebe (PDK), and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h ranges from five seconds to just 4.9 seconds with the PDK, and a lightning 4.7 seconds with the Sport Chrono package, which we tested. This little terrier will continue to accelerate up to a top speed of 283 km/h or 281 km/h with PDK.

To test this mid-engined monster we attacked the Dubai Autodrome’s Club Circuit, which provided the perfect platform to showcase that the new Cayman is built for driving bends. More than ever, the interplay of the mid-engine concept and chassis tuning assures it the top position in its class.

The 2014 changes really come into their own, with the 60mm longer wheelbase ensuring greater stability at very high speeds, the wide track width on both axles supporting additional driving stability and agility in bends, and the larger diameter tyres achieving a better road grip.

But this is, after all, a road car so we had to test it on the open highway, and what better way to do that than a well-defined road test along an almost 300km drive up to the Emirate of Fujairah on the Gulf of Oman.

Long straights ensured that the two-seater had plenty of room to flex its engine muscles, with the flat-six feeling right at home with ample power on tap. No matter what speed you are doing the car is always composed, even on the tightest of bends. But the sound from the mid placed engine, with the sports exhaust option, will give you goose bumps, especially when you drive in convoy alongside a collection of these gems.

The highway eventually gave way to an exciting road peppered with hairpin turns, twists and bends, where the Cayman’s new electromechanical power steering, optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) active damping system as well as Porsche Torque Vectoring  (PTV), resulted in an even better, more stable drive, creating an exhilarating experience that left both, driver and car, asking for more.

It must also be noted that the road trip lasted several hours and yet we emerged from the Cayman as fresh as we had entered. In previous generations the road was challenging on the spine, but the interior has been tremendously overhauled to give more space, more comfort and more stability. The driving position is spot on and the quality and craftsmanship is utterly first rate.

The car’s styling is marked by precise lines and razor-sharp sculpted edges. They emphasise the car’s low, extended silhouette with the windscreen shifted forward and the roof line that reaches far back. Typical of the more advanced styling is the shoulder line, which runs from the wings towards the rear side panels. The door mirrors are newly positioned near the top shoulder. Especially expressive and characteristic are the dynamic recesses in the doors, which guide induction air into the distinctive air scoops on the rear side panels and then directly to the engine.

From the front end, the new Cayman is marked by its dominant cooling air inlets, which increase in size towards the sides of the car. Integrated in them are the round front lights with four-point daytime running lights or position lights — an unmistakable identifying feature of the new Cayman.

Just as unique to the new generation of the sport coupé are the large, low rear lid made of aluminium and the rear section with its wrap-around edges. At the upper end of the rear window, an LED brake light spanning the entire window width warns traffic behind. Mounted directly to the rear lid is the thin blade of the rear spoiler, which — in contrast to that of the Boxster — is higher and deploys at a steeper angle.  Overall this creates a beautiful fluidity in design and tremendous aerodynamic properties, yet it still retains a certain bullish masculinity and looks at its best painted bright red or yellow.

The Porsche Cayman is car you can live with every day and it’s just as home popping to the shops and thrusting down the highway. It’s a practical runner too with a very modest fuel consumption of around 35 mpg.

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