Home Business Business 2014 Porsche Cayman S: The Perfect Sports Car

2014 Porsche Cayman S: The Perfect Sports Car

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Cheryl Porscheby Cheryl Eldridge and wire reports

Do you like the finer things in life? Well, I certainly do, and if you ever get the chance to drive a Porsche, you will experience the ultimate relationship between a driver and sports car. If an invigorating sports car driving experience is what you’re after, the 2014 Porsche Cayman S is one of the best options at any price. The Cayman S delivers the one-of-a-kind experience of a high-revving flat-6 engine wailing directly right behind your head.
My 7-year-old son thoroughly enjoyed the car and instructed me when it was time to shift gears, “gotta love the kids.”
The Germans really know how to live and have created one of the most easiest six speed manuals to drive. The ride was smooth and I felt like a queen with plenty of power.
For $88,835 my two-seater coupe Cayman S tester is available in base and S trim levels.
Standard equipment on the base Cayman includes 18-inch wheels, summer high-performance tires, an automatically extending rear spoiler, cruise control, air-conditioning, auto stop-start to conserve fuel, an electric parking brake, variable-ratio electric power steering, partial power sport seats (power recline, manual fore/aft and height adjustment), Bluetooth, a 4.6-inch driver information display, a center-mounted 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a shockingly Spartan four-speaker sound system with “2 x 25 watt” output per Porsche’s specifications. At least you get an auxiliary input jack in the glovebox.
My tester, the Cayman S adds a bigger engine, bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch wheels, larger front brake discs, red-painted brake calipers and dual exhaust pipes, though it keeps the same bare bones base stereo.
Fortunately, my tester was equipped with a “CDR Plus” audio upgrade that contributes a nine-speaker sound system, an enhanced touchscreen, HD radio, satellite radio and iPod/USB connectivity. Alternatively, you could spring for the Infotainment package, which brings a hard-drive-based navigation system, smartphone integration via the Aha radio app and either a 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system or a 12-speaker Burmester surround-sound system.
Other notable technology add-ons include keyless entry/ignition, voice-command functionality, adaptive cruise control (available only on Caymans with the PDK transmission), a convenience package with dual-zone automatic climate control and heated seats, and an “electronic logbook” that automatically records various driving data for subsequent analysis on your computer.
While you’re upgrading the cabin, there are no fewer than three optional seat designs to consider: 10-way power versions of the base seats, the minimalist Sport Seats Plus (SSP) with racy bolstering (our favorites), and a 14-way power version of SSP called Adaptive Sport Seats Plus. Naturally, there are also countless ways to personalize the interior with distinctive colors and special trim pieces.
Moving to the exterior, Porsche offers adaptive bi-xenon headlights, various wheel designs up to 20 inches in diameter, a sport exhaust system (with a cool on/off button on the center console) and a slew of paint options. On the performance front, meanwhile, you can select ceramic composite brakes, electronically controlled dampers (Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM), a mechanical rear differential lock with variable torque distribution (Porsche Torque Vectoring, or PTV), speed-sensitive power steering, and a Sport Chrono package that tacks on dynamic transmission mounts, a dash-top stopwatch, a Sport Plus button that essentially puts your Cayman in madman mode and a launch control feature (PDK only).
The base Cayman is powered by a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine (also known as a flat-6 or boxer-6) that produces 275 horsepower and 213 pound-feet of torque. Like every Cayman, the base model employs rear-wheel drive and comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Optional is the PDK seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual.
In Edmunds testing, the base Cayman with a manual transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates have improved significantly: The base Cayman returns 24 mpg combined (20 city/30 highway) with the standard six-speed, while PDK creeps up to a remarkable 26 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway).
My tester Cayman S steps up to a 3.4-liter flat-6 good for 325 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.
On the safety side, the 2014 Cayman comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control and an array of eight airbags that includes two side airbags and a knee airbag for each passenger.
Note that Caymans equipped with adaptive cruise control (ACC) are also treated to Porsche Active Safe, which uses ACC’s radar to monitor collision probabilities up to 650 feet in front of the vehicle. The system can operate even when ACC is inactive, and its emergency responses range from simply priming the brakes to applying them with maximum force. If that freaks you out, don’t worry: You can turn it off.
The Cayman’s snug interior has always been a defining trait, and that continues for 2014, therefore I was only able to travel with my son. He enjoyed the drive and thought that it was “cool.” There are many meaningful improvements inside, though, starting with the sleek, high-mounted center console design that first appeared in the Panamera and has since spread across the Porsche lineup. Throw in superior materials, high-tech displays and some striking color combinations (check out the optional Amber Orange leather upholstery), and you’ve got a genuinely premium product. The Cayman used to feel like a junior Porsche, but with its newly refined cabin, it gives up little, if anything, to the much more expensive 911.
Cargo space is not a Cayman’s strong suit, however, as inside there just aren’t many places to store your stuff, and the cupholders are flimsy. But on the bright side, its midengine layout allows it to have two trunks. The one in front measures 5.3 cubic feet and is handy for a duffel bag, while the rear hatchback/trunk measures a more useful 9.7 cubes.
Critics of the optional dual-clutch automated-manual transmission (PDK) say it detracts from driver involvement. We say: “Phooey.” It is true that using the paddles isn’t quite as tactilely rewarding as rowing a stick shift, but PDK’s shifts are quicker and more precise than you could ever achieve. Plus, PDK actually frees up your attention for other demands, such as picking the proper braking point or acing corners like a pro.
Overall, though, Porsche’s midengine coupe is hard to beat for sheer driving pleasure.
Until next week, drive safe, don’t text and drive, buckle up, it’s the law. Also give someone an encouraging word today.

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