Watch this: Is the new Cayman S the best car Porsche's lineup?
The first-generation Cayman showed that you didn't have to buy a 911 to have an amazing Porsche experience. It also helped that it cut a fine figure pootling down the road. Now there's a new Cayman and it's better than its predecessor.
It shares much with the Boxster -- its look, engine, and interior are all pretty much the same. The biggest difference, as before, is its roofline. That extra roofyness gives it a cleaner look and a touch more rigidity that makes it feel just that little bit better than the drop-top Boxster.
Unlike the last-generation Cayman, the new car doesn't borrow its doors from the 911; it's got its own, made specifically for it and Boxster. That may seem like an inconsequential point, but it shows that Porsche is taking its smaller cars more seriously.
In Cayman S spec, you get a 3.4-litre engine with 325 bhp and 273 lb. ft. slap-bang in the middle of the car. Midengined cars have a wonderful balance to them that gives a wonderfully "pure" drive; the Cayman's is that and more. It's wonderfully controllable and it offers great feedback -- you know exactly where the car is and what it's doing at any given moment.
The Cayman will top 62 mph in 5.0 seconds and it'll manage 175 mph if you've got a long enough runway/big box of brave pills.
Changing gears can be done with either a PDK dual-clutch gearbox or a manual. The manual car I drove had a great shift, but its clutch was pretty springy when you're disengaging it. Stop/start traffic was an utter ball ache, but when you're on song it's awesome, adding to an already brilliant experience. I'd go so far to say that the manual is the way to go.
Its interior will be familiar to you if you've been anywhere near a Porsche built in 2013. The fact that its architecture is oddly familiar is not bad thing -- it's perfectly laid out for fiddling on the move.
All in all, the new Cayman is a brilliant car, one deserving of some high accolades and, if you're looking for an engaging drive, well worth a look.