Porsche Cayman R: Road test review

Considering the Cayman is basically a Boxster convertible with a roof, it is perhaps a surprise to those not in the know, that as a driver's car it is regarded almost as highly as the 911.

In fact, possibly the only thing missing from this range was a more hardcore and driver-focussed range-topper. After seven years, Porsche finally obliged last year and the result is the £59,874 (as tested) Cayman R.
Even with snow on the ground and no winter tyres, we jumped at the chance of spending a week with the ultimate Cayman.

So, why should you get excited by the Cayman R? Well, it has been on a diet for starters and lost 55kg thanks to some aluminium doors, lightweight 19in alloys and the fitment of some bucket seats. Also, air-con and a radio are no longer standard.

You won't confuse the R version with lesser models from the outside. The unique body styling includes chunkier front and rear air dams, classic 'Porsche' side graphics and the fixed rear spoiler. We like it.

The Cayman R is powered by a 330bhp version of the 3.4-litre flat-six engine, which is basically a tweaked version of the same one fitted in the Cayman S.

This Porsche is a great car to drive too and gets off to a good start with the suede-trimmed, retro-styled, three-spoke steering wheel. The steering seems sharper than ever, is well weighted and has plenty of feel.

The ride is sportily firm and potholes are amplifed through the body and bucket seats, but it's what you'd expect from this type of car. Grip even in the snow on the low-profile tyres was impressive, the turn in sharp; it is roll free and always felt controllable on the limit.

Inside, the suede and leather-trimmed bucket seats plus the red detailing for the centre console, dashboard and seatbelts make the Cayman R feel special. Other evidence of weight-saving in the interior include the belt-type door openers and the lack of a cowel over the intruments.

The best part of the Cayman R's 3.4-litre engine is how responsive it is, whatever the gear. The optional sports exhaust on our test car (£1,414) also had a loud button, making the delicious charismatic wail from the engine even more addictive.

To make the most of the Cayman R's power, you'll have to stir the slick PDK transmission that proves to be a good combination with this engine. Our only issue is it is not as intense as the slick six-speed manual; 62mph comes up in an impressive 4.7 seconds and the top speed is a licence-losing 174mph.

The Cayman's doors open wide, but it is just a two-seater. Still, it does have two boots, the front one has 260 litres and is big enough for the weekly shop or weekends away.

It might be a stripped-out range-topper, but it has a high level of standard equipment that includes central locking, power wing mirrors and electric front windows.

The test car was fitted with £1,986 of optional Porsche Communication Management system that includes sat-nav system, which works well and features high quality maps.

To sum up, whilst the Cayman R might not be much more powerful than the Cayman S, the R tweaks add to what was already a convincing sportscar, to produce one of the best driver's cars on sale today.

Porsche Cayman R
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Porsche Cayman R: Road test review
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