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The Cayman is almost universally renowned for being cynically engineered to be slap-bang between a Boxster and a 911 in the Porsche range. Everything is halfway from the price to the power, and for this Porsche have had quite a bit of criticism from the motoring press. Mainly for the chassis being reputedly better than anything else they make, so they toned the rest of it down so it didn't tread on the halo 911's toes. Still, the advice has always been to get the Cayman S with 300+ bhp as it's really snapping at the heels of the 911 and in a lot of respects, (whisper it) may even be better. Of course I've not done that. I come from a somewhat unique perspective these days were straight line speed really doesn't do anything for me any more. Plus I have other far more exciting outlets for that when the need does arise. As such I've bought myself a base 2.7 Cayman.
There is logic at play here. My requirements are slightly different to other people. This car does not need to be used on track, I have a Juno and Westfield for that. It is not a convertible substitute and indeed, one of the reasons I've gone for a coupe this time is so when it is very sunny, I make the effort to go get the Westfield out for a run. That's not to say that I won't be taking it out on runs mind you. It's not a commuting car either, but I may like to commute in it every now and then.
So what is it? In relation to what I'm used to, it's a Grand Tourer. Something with a great engine, practicality and hopefully reliability. But that's still fun to drive. No it isn't that quick. To be fair to it, it's about the same sort of speed as my outgoing Elise. Which in my opinion, in this day and age, is more than fast enough. There are financial concerns also. Being the 2.7, it's in a lower tax bracket and is cheaper to insure. All of which adds up when you're running four cars.
In modern performance terms, like the Elise, a current hot hatch will tear it a new one. Modern turbo diesels will no doubt show it a clean pair of heels in upper gear acceleration too. None of this really matters unless you have issues regarding being overtaken by 'lesser' machinery. The point is how it drives, how it feels and how it makes you feel. It was never going to be as connected or as 'race car for road' like as the Elise. What's surprising though, is that for a 'normal' car it still has amazing steering feel and great balance. Sure there's almost double the weight, but it doesn't feel like a barge. It's bigger, but it shrinks around you when you get in. Then there's the engine. It may only be the little one of the range, but it sounds magnificent. It howls when you push on. Yes you have to push it harder, which is actually what makes it more fun to drive than the bigger engined cars. As I've said many times before, in this day and age, there's a finite amount of power that's actually usable on the road, and this has plenty.
So it is with a heavy heart that the Elise has to go. Maybe I'm finally growing up? The Cayman certainly feels like a more grown up car. It's that or I'm just getting less tolerant in my old age of the foibles that come with running a Lotus? I turned 38 last week, and I think I'm ready for Porsche ownership.
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