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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Porsche Puts A Roof On Its Prettiest-Ever Boxster, Makes Prettiest-Ever Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman and Cayman S
It's no secret that to make a Cayman, you simply add a roof and 10 horsepower to the Boxster. However, the stiffer chassis that results, and perhaps a few other changes we don't see, have lead to the Cayman being considered as the benchmark sports car in its class/price range (which is also true of the Boxster anyway). But since the 2009 refresh of the Mk.1, or 987 Cayman, which added a Limited-Slip Differential, people have started to ask whether the Cayman S is actually a better deal than a 911 Carrera, something Porsche tried hard to avoid at the start, but seems to be OK with now, as the two cars appeal to different types. Those who want a 911 will still buy a 911, whereas people who aren't as picky will still spend plenty on the Cayman or Cayman S. Now we have a Mk.2 Cayman, and seeing as its Boxster sister has apparently come of age, this is going to be one exceptional mid-engined sports car. It also looks great, fixing the dodgy roof of the Mk.1 and getting a less smiley, more serious "face" than its topless twin.

Engines are the same as the new 981-generation Boxster, with a 2.7-litre or 3.4-litre flat-six on offer, but they make 10 more horsepower, at 275 and 325bhp respectively for the base model and the S. Because Porsche are cool, a 6-speed manual will be offered alongside the 7-speed "PDK" flappy-paddle 'box. Expect it to cost a bit more than the equivalent Boxster and get glowing reviews in every road test you read about it. Prices and other stuff will be added here when they publish it. UPDATE: Microsite here (with more colours!) and a press release here.

But I know what you're saying already. You're saying that it looks the same as the outgoing Cayman, and that Porsche's designers are lazy. There always has to be someone...

OK, because the Cayman is basically the Boxster with a roof and 10 more horsepower, let's compare Boxsters first. The 987 was designed around plain old 911 doors, like the original 986 from the '90s was. That means the sides are plain in general, because of Porsche's smooth, clean aesthetic (for its sports cars, at least). The key difference in the 981 is that the Boxster was granted its own doors, so with that freedom they deeply embedded the main air intakes, giving it the gradual dip into the car. They also made the characteristic rear arches a little more curved and pronounced in profile, while adding the double-decker headlights, à la 918 Spyder and updating the three front bumper grilles to fit with the new shape(s) better, giving clearly defined "cheek bones" in the process. Of course, my favourite touch is the rear LED lights, which have the pop-up spoiler arching down into them at the ends to make the reversers, which looks very smooth and very cool. The roll hoops are also chunkier and more shaped, possibly for aero reasons but I don't know if that's really why that is.

To make the Cayman, they added a fixed roof - which is now more 911-shaped in that it arches down more smoothly to meet the waistline at the spoiler, rather than having that dip in the middle of it where the rear window ended - and a reprofiled front bumper with less smiley/more aggressive Down-the-Road Graphics (DRG), or "face". As with the 987, the rectangular foglights have been replaced with a dot in the bumper grilles for the hardtop model.

So there. Just because it's evolutionary rather than revolutionary, doesn't mean they aren't trying. You just have to be paying attention for about two or three seconds. Here are some more pictures, because it looks great. The mostly-subtle changes really make a difference in my opinion.

The S version has a twin-pipe exhaust, whereas the standard Cayman features a single oval tailpipe, much like on the Boxster.
It would probably look better in a colour other than acid yellow though...
That's more like it.
The rear window no longer dips in at the bottom, making it smoother and, I think, prettier. Also, DAT SPOILER.
The question is, with only 20 fewer horses, about 50kg less weight and what Porsche's configurator reveals to be a £22,660 price gap, would you buy this over a 991 Carrera? Hmm......

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