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Old 01-31-2006, 05:49 PM   #1
NYCshopper
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Default Full Test: 2006 Porsche Cayman S (edmunds.com)

Full Test: 2006 Porsche Cayman S (edmunds.com)

Video Available @ Link:
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do...ticleId=109089



Quote:
Not just a hard-headed Boxster
By Scott Oldham

Cobalt Blue Metallic just isn't its color. The tone's all wrong. Not light enough or dark enough. Should be brighter, too. The arching undulations of the 2006 Porsche Cayman S, although hardly offensive in the hue, are better served by black or silver. No, red. Yes: red. Every Cayman S should be red. The fact that the Cobalt Blue Metallic is a $3,070 option only makes things worse.

Of course the above falls somewhere between "Don't Care" and "Who Gives a Turkey?" The crowds gathered at the freak show that is Venice Beach certainly don't. We park and are immediately inundated by onlookers spellbound by the Cayman's sexpot shape the high arc in the roofline, the rear hatch tucked neatly into the car's rear haunches.

Although it's still a few weeks before the Cayman would make its North American debut at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, the car's pedigree is obvious to everyone. And we mean everyone Midwesterners escaping the cold, local teenagers shredding the sidewalk, the steroid-suckers pumping iron at Muscle Beach. They all know what it is. Even the street performer who juggles meat cleavers atop a 6-foot ladder knows it's the new "Porsh." And they love it. Color and all.

More than a Boxster coupe
Spade a spade. The midengined, rear-wheel-drive Cayman S is a more powerful coupe version of the Boxster, Porsche's midengined, rear-wheel-drive roadster. Fact is, the two cars are so mechanically similar, the Cayman S could have easily been called the Boxster Coupe, saving Porsche all the trouble of coming up with another name, in this case one lifted from an alligator indigenous to Central and South America.

Other carmakers do it that way without reprisal. The hardheaded versions of Audi TT and the BMW Z4 are simply labeled "TT Coupe" and "Z4 Coupe." But Porsche is working hard to convince the world that the Cayman S in more than just a Boxster Coupe with 15 more horsepower and a $59,695 base price. The company's prepared literature for the media even includes this line, "To classify the Cayman S as merely the coupe version of the Boxster does disservice to both vehicles, each of which is unique with its own special characteristics."

Yeah, and Barry Manilow hasn't had any work done.

We're not saying the Cayman S doesn't taste differently than the Boxster, we're just saying it isn't an entirely new flavor either. If you're a connoisseur of Taco Bell, think Boxster S Supreme.

Not cheap or chintzy
Either way, it's a delicacy. Our Cobalt Blue tester was littered with extra-cost luxuries that spiked its sticker price over $70,000. Some we would pay for, like the 19-inch Carrera S wheels, but some we wouldn't, like the Sport Chrono package that puts a stopwatch atop the dashboard. It's been years since we clocked a trip to Cold Stone Creamery, so we'd rather put the $920 toward the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which lowers the car 10mm and features two ride settings, "Normal" and "Sport." Of course we wouldn't pay for the paint.

Most everything you need is standard: six airbags, power accessories, bodyglove-fitting partial leather seats, ABS, even Porsche Stability Management (PSM), which is one of the best and least intrusive stability systems around. And the interior, although pinched from the Boxster, lives up to the Cayman's lofty price point. Build quality is exceptional, the materials feel right, and the control placement couldn't be better, although it's disappointing that the stopwatch on the dash doesn't light up at night.

As in the Boxster, the steering wheel's diameter feels overly large at first, but becomes perfectly sized quickly. You also rapidly acclimate to the low seating position and close-knit pedal placement. It's all rather comfortable during daily grinding, but absolutely spectacular and finely functional when the road is clear and your right foot hits the floor.

Our favorite part is the tachometer. Oversized and placed dead ahead of the driver, it could not be easier to pick up in your periphery when you're on it, and 4,000 rpm is straight up because that's where the Cayman's 3.4-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder really starts making power. Whoever designed it that way has driven this car like he meant it.

Zero to 60 mph in 5 seconds
Every Cayman is a Cayman S, so the 24-valve 3.4 is the only engine available. Although based on the 3.2-liter six that powers the Boxster S, the Cayman's engine wears the same cylinder heads and uses the same VarioCam variable valve timing system as the 325-hp, 3.6-liter six in the Porsche 911 Carrera. It puts out 295 hp at 6,250 rpm and 251 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm.

Before being modified with shorter 1st- and 2nd-gear ratios, the Cayman's standard six-speed manual gearbox was also borrowed from the Boxster. Our tester was equipped with the manual, which just might have the best shift linkage this side of a Formula Ford racecar, but a five-speed automatic that Porsche calls "Tiptronic S" is optional.

At the drag strip, the Cayman S blows the doors off a Boxster S, and nearly keeps up with the 355-hp 911 Carrera S. Zero to 60 mph takes just 5 seconds and the car covers the standing quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds at 105 mph. It also proved to be indestructible, shrugging off 6,000-rpm launches like it was being driven to church by Miss Daisy.

An engine for the ages, the flat six storms toward its 7,200-rpm redline as quickly as the rev counter can count, growling more like a living beast than a man-made machine. At full throttle the 84 decibels of intake roar penetrate the closed Cayman, which may be a new record. We found the snarl worth the volume, but we also just ordered a compilation CD of hair band ballads from the 1980s.

100-percent stiffer structure
Porsche says the Cayman's coupe body offers 100-percent more resistance to flex than the structure of the open-topped Boxster. It feels like 200. It's as if the car were carved from billet.

Because of that solid foundation, Porsche was able to tune the Cayman's underpinnings to a higher level of "dynamic dimension." All the suspension hardware and geometry is shared with the Boxster, but the Cayman S uses firmer rear springs, stiffer dampers and a slightly smaller rear sway bar.

The result is an astonishingly athletic machine that delivers exceptional ride comfort on 19-inch low-profile tires. Body roll is never an issue, turn is tight and midcorner bumps get soaked up without drama. Chassis balance is extraordinary. This is a car that can be driven cross-country in complete comfort or as fast as you dare on a mountain road with complete confidence.

Toss it around and the Cayman feels glued to the road but light on its feet. This is due to its very sticky Michelin Pilot Sport tires, its wonderful variable-ratio steering plagiarized from the Boxster S, and its relatively light weight. At 2,954 pounds, the Cayman S is no Lotus Elise, but it is 11 pounds lighter than a Boxster S, 80 pounds lighter than a Carrera, and a whopping 225 pounds lighter than a Chevrolet Corvette Coupe.

In our slalom test it carved its way through the cones at an incredible rate of 72.2 mph, which is one of the fastest slalom speeds we've ever recorded. Its 0.98g performance around the skid pad is equally impressive.

Brakes are the same big ventilated discs and four-piston calipers used on the Boxster S and Carrera, and they're arguably the best brakes in the world. First of all, they stop the Cayman S from 60 mph in just 106 feet, they are impervious to fade, and pedal feel and effort are exceptional.

Roof good, very good
Back in Bohemia by the Sea, the crowds continue to swarm the Cayman like fire ants. "You should see it in red," we say. "Or black. It really looks good in black." But they pretend not to hear us. It could be olive drab for all they care. To the shirtless guy with the dirty beard and the women selling strawberry incense from a folding table, the Cayman S is a "Porsh" and that's all that matters.

To the rest of us, however, the 2006 Porsche Cayman S may be the best all-around Porsche ever. It's 75-percent pure sports car, 15-percent luxury car and 10-percent grand tourer, a recipe that makes it more livable than a Boxster, faster than a Boxster S and more affordable than a Carrera.

One guy got it. He arrived on the scene obviously inebriated and unbathed. With little hesitation he walked right up to the Cayman and said, "I didn't know 'Porsh' made a Boxster Coupe. How about helping a guy out with some spare change?"

You know, if he had said "Porsche," we may have tossed the guy a buck










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Old 01-31-2006, 05:49 PM   #2
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Old 01-31-2006, 08:39 PM   #3
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Put 3.8 in there...
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:18 PM   #4
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After seeing one of these things in person, I find myself enjoying the cayman design over the current porshce. It just seems to fit the bill of being awkward yet beautiful. The current porsche just not stack up to the old air cooled 911 shape.

BlitZ
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Old 01-31-2006, 10:12 PM   #5
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No limited slip, only in the 911 GT3.
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:34 PM   #6
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Am I the only one who sees Cayenne when they see Cayman and vice versa? It's really starting to bother me!
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:39 PM   #7
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I'm interested to see the engine hatch open.
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Old 02-01-2006, 02:43 AM   #8
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dear porsche,
who would want to buy one of those? i don't think there will be a market for them at all. in fact you should just quit production and send them all to me. i will take good care of them. that way they won't have to sit on dealers lots for all eternity and you won't need to dispose of them. i'll do it for free.
sincerely,
steve

i saw one in tiburon, ca yesterday. i really like the looks.
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Old 02-01-2006, 04:03 AM   #9
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They need a better commercial for these though. Not that I need a CM to persuade me to buy one.
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Old 02-01-2006, 04:13 AM   #10
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my buddy just bought one of those...and he has an sti with a stage 2.5 motor from kingpin with all the other goodies. who says military guys dont know how to save money...haha maybe ill get him to chime in here.
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:44 AM   #11
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I love Porsche's, but the pricing of the Cayman is too close to the 911 and is also in the zo6 range. I just couldnt see spending that kind of money when there are nicer cars for the same money and even less in some cases.

Rob
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:03 AM   #12
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yes please..... or, maybe a used one in about 5 freakin' years! (60K base MSRP - crap!)
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Old 02-01-2006, 08:48 AM   #13
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The Cayman looks even sexier in World Rally Blue.
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:28 PM   #14
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I love this car, but hate those wheels. For that price, the Elise looks a lot more tempting.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattDell
I'm interested to see the engine hatch open.
What engine hatch? Like the boxster.. you won't be getting a look at the engine unless you crawl underneath.
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sasquatch95
I love this car, but hate those wheels. For that price, the Elise looks a lot more tempting.
There is a reason why Elise is considered exotic, despite the rather affordable price. Nobody expects it to be "safe" or "reliable" or "practical". I would not feel comfortable nor safe driving long distance in an Elise. It is a VERY narrowly focused weekend toy.

The Porsche, on the other hand, has always been the safest sports car you can buy, and probably not much less reliable than other German brands. It's also pretty damn practical with storage space everywhere.

Very different cars in my mind, although I would kill to own either.
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Old 02-01-2006, 07:58 PM   #17
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I'm salivating, what a beautiful car!
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len
There is a reason why Elise is considered exotic, despite the rather affordable price. Nobody expects it to be "safe" or "reliable" or "practical".

The Porsche, on the other hand, has always been the safest sports car you can buy, and probably not much less reliable than other German brands.
I think it's funny you should say that the Porsche wouldn't be much less reliable than other German brands when German cars are some of the least reliable in the world, yet you call the Elise's reliablity into question when it has a Toyota drivetrain, and Toyota pretty much sets the benchmark for reliabilty and dependability.
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoophageousbeing
I think it's funny you should say that the Porsche wouldn't be much less reliable than other German brands when German cars are some of the least reliable in the world, yet you call the Elise's reliablity into question when it has a Toyota drivetrain, and Toyota pretty much sets the benchmark for reliabilty and dependability.
Not on that engine they don't....
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REX8
Not on that engine they don't....
What problems have there been with the 2ZZ aside from the lift bolts pre-redesign?
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Old 02-02-2006, 10:46 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoophageousbeing
I think it's funny you should say that the Porsche wouldn't be much less reliable than other German brands when German cars are some of the least reliable in the world, yet you call the Elise's reliablity into question when it has a Toyota drivetrain, and Toyota pretty much sets the benchmark for reliabilty and dependability.
Zoo, I know how unreliable German cars are in US standard. That's why I avoided directly saying Porsches are reliable.

But I wouldn't say that German cars are "the least reliable in the world", as they are considered decent in that aspect in Europe. I think it all depends on who your competitors are. If you put Germans up against Toyota and Honda, then they suffer badly. But if you put them against the likes of Fiat, Rover, and Renault, suddenly they don't look so bad.

As far as Lotus goes, I'm sure it's engine and tranny will be by far the most reliable part of the car. But then again, it's not like most of the problems German cars have are in that area either. It's the other little stuff that breaks. I think it's quite safe to say that English specialty sports cars are not nearly as reliable as "even" the Germans.
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