Roadshow Video Reviews
2012 Porsche Cayman RThe Cayman R is the Porsche you want when less is more.
The Cayman, this is the hardtop cousin to the Boxster, but this is no ordinary Cayman. This one is 120 pounds lighter, about an inch lower, about 10 horsepower stronger than any other car that wears this badge. They're gonna break your butt getting into it and sweat it off. Once you do, you're still gonna love it. Let's drive the 2012 Cayman R in Check the Tech. Okay. First I'm gonna tell as you're getting into a Cayman R is, oh God, the pain in your lower sacroiliac. This thing has got these racing seats that have these unforgiving bolsters on the side. It's a good indication this is not your normal everyday road-going Porsche. From there, you start to notice right away how they have saved weight on this little guy, and that's tough to do on a car that's already small and light and it's more pedestrian trim, but things like this, that's a door pull. There's no handle, or even a nice little plastic cover to hide that screw head. This, that's a heater. There's no air-conditioning. You can even get rid of the stereo, and they have 2 great big ole empty gaping storage bins right there. Unless you option this thing up with Bose or the PCM Navigation head unit, which I wouldn't do in this car, you're stuck with a real crappy sounding stereo system. But here's my real gripe on this head unit, it looks like hell, grayscale, lousy typography. Now, here's our standard no-extra charge 6-speed manual gearbox in this guy, but if you've got 3700 more burning a hole in your pocket and you've got a lazy left leg, you can get the Porsche PDK. That's their dual-clutch automated manual. Super easy spotter's tip idea came in R. Normally on a Boxster, for example, or most of the 911's now, you've got an electric wing back here that pops up under a motorized situation, but out on this guy, you've got a fixed, kind of a fast and furious deal here. Real ugly, but makes it easy to pick one of these out in the crowd. Now, Cayman, like a Boxster, is a mid-engine car; so, front, back, it doesn't matter what lid you lift; you're not gonna see any motor in this thing until you go under. Now getting under is a trick 'cause this guy is almost an inch lower than a standard Cayman, which is not exactly a high rider. Oh, and check this out. Not often you see a car where you jack up the back and the whole front comes up to. That's a stiff shell. Okay. This is the Porsche of course, so we're looking at a flat 6, 3.4-liter horizontally opposed engine, dry sump lubrication; hence, you don't have some big crank keys hanging down; 330 horsepower, 273 foot-pounds of torque, gets this guy up to 60 in 4.7 seconds through the gearbox, which you can see sticking out the back here, rear-wheel drive only, but this isn't a dragster. It's a canyon car. Let's go see. So we get 330 horsepower out of a 3.4 liter naturally aspirated engine. Direct injection in this car at variable valve timing to the nth degree do wonders to have it always on cam, but the real reason you buy a Cayman is because it's mid-engine and because you're on a road like this where it feels like gunstock of spike through the thing right back behind me and everything turns right on that axis. But this car isn't so overwhelming that you can't drive it at even 50% of its limit. You can even ring 70% out of it when you're on a nice road, and that's the kind of car I like as you'd probably know by now; not some car with 500 horsepower and turbos and crazy spiky power that isn't about the real world. Here's a car you can really stretch your legs out in while it stretches its legs out on the pavement and does a real nice job at that, very linear, very predictable. Now, I really enjoy this Cayman R, but it's a car that I would buy simple and keep it simple. That means you're gonna start around 67 grand that cannot go much higher, yet you can load it up with ceramic brakes and Bose audio, nav and Sport Chrono, and who knows how many interior tweaks, but that's gonna push you peerlessly close to the base price of a 911 GTS, and that's a modern classic with I think substantially different investment value than this guy. Buy it light, keep it light, and manage that grin on your face. You'll be busy enough with that.