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Sport in the City

connoisseur May 31, 2013 0
Sport in the City

The new Porsche Cayman is more distinctive and differentiated from the previous model – its proportions are new and set fresh standards in its class for driving capabilities. It is the Cayman S model that I take out on a test drive, which reveals that the high performance car is just as well suited for daily city driving too.

It is clearly a Porsche sport coupé – the styling of the Porsche Cayman S is marked by precise lines and sculpted edges, which emphasise its low, extended silhouette, with the windscreen shifted forward and the roof-line reaching far back. The air intakes are new as are the integrated four-point daytime running lights. However, the lightweight body design is evolved from the 911 Carrera and the Boxster.

The extended wheelbase, with shorter overhangs for enhanced stability at high speeds, wider track-width for better handling and agility in bends and the larger diameter wheels – at 19 inches for the Cayman S, with greater rolling circumference – are identifying visual clues to the improved driving performance that can be expected of the car.

The two-seater with rear-wheel drive has its flat-six cylinder power-plant positioned in front of the rear axle. The 3.4-litre engine is rated for 325PS (239 kW) at 7,400rpm with a maximum torque of 370Nm in the 4,500 to 5,800rpm range. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, but the Cayman S that I am testing has the optional seamless seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) and the Sport Chrono package, which allows the car to race from standing-start through 100kph within 4.7 seconds to reach a top speed of 281kph – both of which have little relevance to me, given the speed controls in place, here, on our Dubai roads.

Speaking of the PDK transmission, the new Cayman – like the Boxster and the 911 Carrera – follows the principle of generating engine power only when it is actually needed: the coasting function, which results in optimal fuel savings.

I am impressed with the optional Sport Chrono package that offers a wider spread of gear ratios, ranging from sporty tuning, meant for circuit courses, to riding comfort in everyday use. It delivers the best possible drive-off acceleration, thanks to the PDK and the Sport Plus button with the Launch Control function.

Porsche engineers seem to have placed high priority on chassis tuning of the mid-engine Cayman, not only with the goal of improving driving performance, response and agility, but to improve comfort and everyday practicality as well. And, most important, the inimitable Porsche wail is all there!

The interior of the new Cayman S is consistent with current Porsche sports car design. Despite my six-feet-plus frame, I find the new sport seat quite comfortable and offering adequate lateral support – which would have been perfect if there were possibilities for a more dynamic style of driving.

The centre console that ascends towards the front, with its motorsport-like high-set gear shifter, gives me the feeling of being almost cocooned in the car. The three classic round instruments of the Cayman series, with a centrally positioned tachometer and an ignition switch to the left of the steering wheel, make the connection to a familiar cockpit environment. Key controls for vehicle operations and settings are arranged logically, allowing quick and intuitive control of individual functions. New is the high-resolution 4.6-inch VGA multi-function screen on the right. Along with the most important trip computer functions, it also includes a map display for the optional PCM with navigation module.

The standard CDR audio system, with its seven-inch touchscreen that is centrally located further upwards, is easily visible and offers convenient access to many different functions.

An especially exclusive ambience is created by the optional bi-colour leather packages – the base colour agate grey may be combined with lime gold, gravel grey or amber orange.

The new Porsche Cayman S that is lighter, shorter and with better weight distribution, proves to be a nimble, manoeuvrable sport coupé, as lithe and easy to handle on our city roads as it would be at home – maybe on a race track or on the autobahn!