After driving the new Porsche Cayman S, I reached one inescapable conclusion: it s woefully underpowered. Don t get me wrong: Porsche s mid-engined marvel is a crushingly competent sports car that laughs at its direct competitors and smirks knowingly at the heavy hitters. The German/Finnish two-door goes like stink, handles like a dream, stops like bullet striking Kevlar, looks cool, sounds mean and doesn t punish daily drivers. But there s no question that Porsche s hardtop Boxster needs another 100 horses in its belly. Or more. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Cayman S s lack of neck-snapping urge makes it the dickless porn of Porsches.
Here s the deal: Cayman equals confidence. Any driver who hasn t knocked-back a fifth of sour mash can jump straight into this lil bastard, drive it like he or she stole it, and not die. And I mean really fast. Fast enough to show a clean set of [co-joined] pipes to most anything realistic money can buy — especially in the corners, where the Cayman S hold onto the tarmac like its South American namesake clamping on a wild pig. Short of giving the electronic nanny the afternoon off (PSM causes cramps I m told) or entering the car into the Ice Capades, there is no way you re going to get into trouble caning a Cayman S, other than the kind that takes you to jail.
That s why it needs more power. Grabbing the Cayman s blissfully button-free optional sports wheel ($250 well spent), snicking the short-shifting six-speed into any gear (as long as it puts the rev counter above 4000rpm), running the 3.4-liter six to redline with anything but monotonous regularity, you soon discover that everything works so progressively and safely that you have time to think. And the thought that eventually occurs is this: I could have done that a lot faster. So you do. And the same thought occurs again. And again. Until you think, Hmmmm, this thing needs a bit more oomph; something a little less subtle from the G-force aisle that makes me cackle, as opposed to grin like a gator.
Obviously, it s an absurd idea. The Cayman S hits sixty from standstill in 5.1 seconds, a plenty quick sprint by any absolute standard and only .9 seconds slower than a base 911 (which is a similarly priced, equally underpowered car). And yes, I know: Porsche s marketing people thought long and hard about the Cayman/Carrera price/power calculus, relative to protecting their rear-engined cash cow from the very real danger of mid-engined fratricide. But like the aforementioned non-phallic adult entertainment, the Cayman S dearth of whoa Nellie excitement is obvious, annoying and absurd. Porsche constantly harps-on about evolution. If they mean it, they should build the best possible Cayman and let the extinctions fall where they may.
Yes, well, I m the same guy who said The Sultans of Stuttgart should have never built the lardy ass Cayenne SUV, bought one and wished he d plumped for an Infiniti FX45 instead. So take that as you will. And while you re at it, mark my words: with a bigger engine on board, the Cayman S would be the finest sports car Porsche ever built, bar none. Even with just 291hp underfoot, this bad boy has seriously sharp teeth. Is it worth a $5G premium over a Boxster S? Yeah sure, why not? Is it better than a 911? Are you a badge snob? [by Robert Farago]