26 Sept 2013

2013 Porsche Cayman on test - gallery and first impressions

I've got a Porsche Cayman on loan for 3 days.  Here is my initial gallery and first impressions

2013 Porsche Cayman

I've been at the motoring writing game for 15 months now and have driven some pretty decent cars.  I'd spent a day with Porsche at its Silverstone Experience Centre last December but hadn't asked to borrow a car for a longer loan.  Porsche is pretty much the pinnacle of sports cars for me (well, alongside Lotus).

I waited until the site was firmly established until asking.  Happily they said yes, I could borrow a Cayman, but that I'd need to pick it up from Porsche GB HQ - which is only 4 miles from home.

So on Wednesday morning I popped up to the giant grey box which is HQ, with the main Porsche dealership tacked on at the end, left my 1986 Porsche 924S in the car park, and came home with a 2 week old Cayman.

A Cayman costs £40,000 but this one is fitted with several options that put another £12k on the price - 20" wheels, PASM, PTV inc mechanical diff, Sport Chrono, Bi-xenon 'lamps, Carrera Red leather interior, Park Assist, PCM and telephone module.

I drove it home then had to go straight to work.  Later I picked my son up from the school bus stop.  He made sure everyone on the bus knew he was getting in the white Porsche parked opposite the bus.  He was pretty ecstatic to say the least.

Then, in the evening I finally got a decent drive in the car.

The Cayman looks pretty in Carrara White, and the red interior looks fantastic.  The cabin is strictly a 2 seater - there's a bulkhead immediately behind the driver and behind that the engine and gearbox.  It's a spacious cabin (for 2) with controls perfectly placed.

The steering and clutch are stiff compared to most cars.  The manual gearbox requires firm input and feels like it'll last a million miles.

It's got 275bhp, 213 lb ft of torque and weighs 1,310kg.  The bulk of the power is in the upper rev range.  In first gear it feels like a rocket, in second you have to wait until the power really comes in to feel it's torque, and that's it.  You don't need any of the other four gears.

Second gear is ridiculously tall, no doubt to set fast Nurburgring times, but not really aligned for crappy UK roads.  It would be much happier with a close ratio gearbox.

That and the lack of digital radio are my only complaints though.  I picked up a friend who guided me around some of West Berkshire's finest roads, in the rain and dark.  We ended up at the Williams F1 factory in Grove and popped out to take some photos in the dark.

The Cayman is a pretty epic driving tool.  It's comfortable in terms of ride, seats and interior materials but raucous in terms of its handling prowess and noise.  External sounds are damped well but that engine and gearbox are in the small of your back, and they make a great noise.

It feels save to drive on dark, wet roads which enables you to drive in a 'spirited' fashion well within the limits of yourself and the car.

I've a long day out the day after writing this.  I'll put 400 or so miles on the Cayman across the A303, Salisbury Plain and Lambourn.  I'll make use of the iPhone integration (bluetooth and cable) and cruise control for the long sections of the A303, and the manual 'box and sharp steering on the twisty sections.

I'm pretty sure it's going to be a great day.  So far the Porsche Cayman has impressed.
2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman

2013 Porsche Cayman interior Carrera Red