Anyone reading road test reviews of the new Porsche 911 will have noted claims that the longer-wheelbase, wider-track 911 is now more grand tourer than sports car. If the new Cayman will now be Porsche’s truest sports car, why don’t Porsche take it to the max?
Motor Trend Editor Angus MacKenzie recently put this directly to Porsche CEO Matthias Muller. I’m sure he’d considered his response at length: what to do about Cayman must be a hot topic in Stuttgart. The model is the most undermarketed Porsche I’ve ever seen, and yet remains one of the best sports cars the company has built.
Will there never be a Cayman that will outperform a 911? “If I look at pure performance numbers,” says Muller thoughtfully, “then maybe.” But then he quickly adds he believes Porsche’s two sports cars are aimed at two entirely different customers — substitution between the two cars is less than five percent in the United States. And with Turbo and Turbo S versions of the new 911 still to come — as well as GT3 and GT2 variants — you can bet there will always be at least one 911 variant that will be faster than even the hottest Cayman in the future.”
Watching the privateer Caymans circulating at Nurburgring 24, it’s clear that the chassis has plenty of headroom. The cars looked much lighter on their feet compared to heavier GT3 cars in switchback direction changes, making Cayman the perfect base for a good power-to-weight race platform that could be up there on efficency, speed and reliability. Translate that to a road car that wasn’t too stiff and you get something like the Cayman R, but with added marketing mojo.
Boxster Spyder ticked the box for everyone who took it out wanting to drive. James May’s Spyder review (video below) will go down as one of the great Top Gear Porsche product tests. The only downside – certainly for the UK – was that convoluted canvas top. So why not a Cayman R Carrera: same ethos as Boxster Spyder, but with a solid roof? We would finally have a daily drivable Porsche sports car, raceable for not much money, marketed as a drivers piece and sold at a sensible price (we hope).
New Boxster is into UK £60k when specced to the hilt and Cayman is likely to be similar. I guess we’ll see how the Cayman plan works out, but it would be nice to see more on the road, taking it to the Porsche-is-911 brigade and speaking to prospective buyers who view PDK 911 as expensive pipe and slippers.