Porsche Cayman

The Cayman is Porsche's attempt at combining a lightweight, tossable and grin-inducing chassis with serious sports car performance. Even in base form the Cayman is quite fast; but it's the perfectly balanced handling that most buyers ultimately cite as their reason for purchasing one. Put simply, the Cayman handles like a dream, thanks to its lack of weight, its ideal mid-engine setup, and high levels of suspension wizardry from some of the best performance engineers in the business.

There are four trim levels for the Cayman: base; S, GTS and GT4. All are powered by horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engines. In the base Cayman, it's a 2.7L unit making 275 horsepower and 213 pound-feet of torque. The Cayman S and GTS both feature a 3.4L; in the S the engine produces 325 horsepower and 273 pound-feet, while in the GTS it makes 340 horsepower and 280 pound-feet. The GT4 uses an even bigger flat-6 engine, this time displacing 3.8L and making 385 horsepower. Due to the Cayman's light weight, fuel economy is quite good, scoring an EPA estimated highway rating of 30 mpg, with the Cayman S not far behind at 28 mpg. The GTS is only slightly further back at 26 mpg. The Cayman can be equipped with either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Standard items include 18-inch wheels, a 7-inch color touch-screen, partial leather seating surfaces, a programmable garage door opener and power-adjustable seats.

Short of engine, wheel and brake size, equipment differences between the Cayman, Cayman S, and GTS are relatively minor. GTS models, for example, include the Sport Chrono package that tweaks engine response, along with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard equipment, but they can be optioned on the other models. Beyond PASM and Sport Chrono, performance options include ceramic brakes, active body mounts, and torque vectoring between the two rear wheels.

Convenience options include a premium Bose sound system with a 6-disc CD changer, nicer seats, a fully leather clad interior, a 2-zone climate control system, Bluetooth connectivity, a navigation system and parking assist.

Despite being a fast, small and lightweight sports car, Porsche has put serious consideration into the safety systems on the Cayman. The anti-lock brakes work well, but the system is even more effective when attached to the Cayman's massive 4-piston calipers grabbing cross-drilled rotors. Stability control and traction control are both standard but can be switched off. Two-stage front airbags are aided by side and knee airbags to help minimize injury if an accident should occur.

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Editors' First Take

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The Knockhill Racing Circuit is a 30-minute drive northwest from Edinburgh, Scotland, and is surrounded by sheep-filled grazing fields. Based on the surrounding countryside and track map, Knockhill doesn't seem like too much of a challenge, but romping around "Scotland's national motorsport center" in a 2020 Porsche Cayman GT4 proves otherwise. The 1.3-mile, 9-turn road course keeps you on your toes with tight turns and elevation changes. It's a serious race track best tackled in a serious track car. Thankfully, that's exactly what the new Cayman GT4 is.

Sweet six

After a slow and steady recognizance lap behind an instructor in a 911 GT3 RS, it's time for my hot laps. Flooring the GT4's throttle out of the hairpin onto the front straight causes its new, 4.0-liter, naturally aspirated flat-six engine to belt out some lovely sounds, running up to its 8,000-rpm redline. The soundtrack isn't quite as ear-pleasing as the higher-pitch scream of the GT3, but not many engines come close to matching those riveting noises. It sure beats the four-cylinder drone from other Cayman models, anyway.

Like in the 718 Spyder, with which the GT4 shares its mechanicals, the engine has a stop-start system and cylinder deactivation, too.

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