The 2012 Porsche Cayman is powered by a 265-horsepower, 2.9L horizontally opposed "flat" 6-cylinder engine while the Cayman S gets a 320-horsepower, 3.4L flat six. Both models of this mid-engine sports car now have a 6-speed manual gearbox standard, with a 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) automated dual-clutch transmission optional.
The PDK transmission has an automatic mode or the driver can command shifts the steering-wheel selectors or with the shift lever itself. The transmission is overseen by a control system that coordinates very quick shifts from one gear to the next--faster than a driver could consistently achieve with a manual transmission. The Cayman can get to 60 mph in as little as 5.2 seconds, while the Cayman S and R can reach 60 in 4.6 seconds. The Cayman S can reach a top speed of 170.
The fastest times are achieved with the PDK gearbox along with the Sport Chrono Package, which brings a sport mode allowing even more aggressive shifts. Both models of the Cayman--whether with the manual or PDK--get the Start-Off Assistant, which helps standing starts uphill. Launch Control, a mode that enables the fastest possible takeoffs from a standing start, comes with the Sport Chrono Package as well.
Fuel economy is actually quite good for a sports car, with EPA estimates of up to 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway. Both engines were all-new last year and now include the VarioCam Plus system for variable valve lift and timing--essentially helping to extract more power while also saving fuel.
The Cayman S gets larger tires, wheels and brakes in addition to the engine upgrade. Cayman S models get 18-inch wheels, but 19-inch rims are optional. Both models have no spare tire--just an emergency sealant system and compressor.
The Cayman R is a special high-performance model that makes 10 more horsepower than the Cayman S using the same 3.4L 6-cylinder engine and weighs 121 lbs less. It can be outfitted with two Sport Chrono packages, special black trim and unique leather trim.
Seating space is quite good in the Cayman with a good perch and decent visibility and cargo space is much better than in most sports cars; the Cayman has 5.3 cubic feet in its front trunk and 9.2 cubic feet in a separate rear trunk, altogether adding up to about the same as a mid-size sedan.
Though the Cayman line comes quite well-equipped, with most of the features you'd expect to see in a luxury car, the taking a look at the extras is part of the fun when it comes to buying a Porsche. The options list on the Cayman is very long, allowing all sorts of special trims and appearance extras, including special carbon-fiber material, wood trims and leather upholstery. In addition to the Sport Chrono Package, a limited-slip rear differential, sport exhaust system, or the Porsche Active Suspension Management System (PASM) and lowered suspension might appeal to performance-minded customers.