- Agile and responsive in all respects
- Sonorous flat-six engine is a joy
- More cargo space other high-performance sportscars
- Fuel efficiency is a pleasant surprise
- Standard seats lack enough side bolstering
- Noisy interior
- Options can push bottom-line price through the roof
The 2008 Porsche Cayman can be just as much of a blast to drive as the flagship 911 sports car; if you watch the options, it’s a deal, too.
The 2008 Porsche Cayman slots between the Boxster and the 911 in Porsche's sportscar lineup. Mechanically, it's closely related to the Boxster roadster.
Two different horizontally opposed ("flat") six-cylinder engines power the 2008 Porsche Cayman. A 2.7-liter makes 245 horsepower in the standard Cayman, while the S gets a 295-horsepower, 3.4-liter version. The standard Cayman has a five-speed manual transmission, but the Cayman S upgrades to a six-speed manual; a five-speed automatic with Tiptronic manual control is available on both. The Cayman S also gets different suspension tuning, larger wheels, a central dual-outlet exhaust, and red brake calipers.
According to Porsche, the Cayman S model can accelerate to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds (0.7 second faster than the Cayman) and reach a top speed of 171 mph. The 2008 Porsche Cayman with the five-speed manual is rated at an economical 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.
Both 2008 Porsche Cayman models are a blast to drive, with very sharp steering and braking response; all the pieces come together to make an average driver feel good, yet there's enough capability as they gather for a seasoned driver to experience a good deal more out on the track. All the while, the flat-six engines pump out a sound that's an event in itself. The optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system brings Normal and Sport settings for firmness and allows the driver to set it according to driving style.
The Cayman's interior feels rather intimate and narrow, with seats that are comfortable and supportive, but for enthusiastic driving or if you plan to spend much time at the track, you might want to upgrade to the excellent adaptive sport seats, which have power-adjustable side bolsters. Ride comfort is acceptable for a sportscar, but it can still be jarring on rough surfaces; the interior in the 2008 Porsche Cayman can also be noisy and tiresome on coarse surfaces.
Compared to the Boxster, the 2008 Porsche Cayman has more cargo space due to its hatchback design, and like all of Porsche's sportscars, there's a significant amount of cargo space under the hood in front.
For 2008, there's a new Porsche Design Edition version of the 2008 Porsche Cayman S. Developed in conjunction with Porsche Design Studio, the firm that also produces consumer goods, the Design Edition comes with coordinated extras like a briefcase, a pocket knife, and sunglasses. The model is only available with a black finish on the outside, plus leather and Alcantara upholstery on the inside, also black. It comes with PASM and rides nearly a half-inch lower than the standard Cayman S, also getting its own 19-inch alloy wheels.
Cruise control, an alarm system, air conditioning, leather seats, and a five-speaker sound system are standard on the base 2008 Porsche Cayman. The options list is lengthy on the Cayman, and if you don't watch them, the price can be driven up near that of the more expensive 911. Highlights, some grouped into packages, include several different steering-wheel designs, more aggressive-looking wheels, a Bose surround sound system, bi-xenon headlamps, automatic climate control, a sport exhaust system, an in-dash navigation system, all sorts of trim options, and special-color upholstery.
The 2008 Porsche Cayman has not been crash-tested by either of the established U.S. programs, but it comes with dual side and side curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, and the performance-tuned Porsche Stability Management stability control system.