Osie gets philosophical about the Porsche Cayman R.
|Date acquired:||April 2013|
|Kilometres this month:||947|
|Costs this month:||$35|
|L/100km this month:||10.6|
There has been much banter with my mates at home this month on what the R actually is. I’ve been trying to make the argument that the R is the sweetest road car Porsche has made in a while; affordable enough to access, small enough to be threadable and fast enough to not infuriate. In the end, the easiest way to describe the R is as one of those rare machines that creates a driving experience much more special than its meager spec list would suggest. The engine is a masterpiece and I can only imagine what the new 991 GT3 mill is like when the Cayman unit is this strong.
I’ve gotten grief for having the R as an auto but in Sports Chrono mode there is no finer act than pulling one of the lovely paddles behind the wheel and grinning at the waaaaaaaaaap-pop-waaaaaaaap on up change. It’s so brutally abrupt at times that it can be nauseating, but that high-rpm jolt is spectacular. It gives you the sensation of being right on the edge of what is mechanically possible. No manual change could ever get close and when hard charging chasing a few bikes through the tunnels and tight sweepers of Kalba, the PDK gives me a huge advantage. Fellow scribe Sean is a believer too and coined it a modern day Dino, which is high praise indeed considering he’s owned about almost every type of Exige and/or Elise ever made.
One other thing the Cayman won’t do is try and kill you. 911s of all generations are famous for thisdue to their heavy rear ends, but Caymans aren’t known for biting back (ironic really, considering the snap happy creature it’s named after). This was put to good effect at a recent wet handling day with the Porsche Club UAE at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Some seriously exotic 911s were also in attendance, including a 997 GT3 RS and wicked-sounding 997 Turbo. I’d wager there is no better car in which to learn the discipline of oversteer management than a Cayman (R or S). You can feel every stage of slip progress and meter it in so finely, such is the forgiving nature of the car. A Toyota 86 does the same up to the point where it is sideways, but the terminal lack of power means you can rarely enjoydriving through on the throttle. On the wet handling circuit you’ve really only got two choices hooliganism or finesse. Finesse got boring quickly. One car that really impressed was the 997 Turbo. Watching it do figure eights in the wet around the cones was akin to watching a 1980s Group B rally car do a special stage – it decimated everything else there and is a devastatingly effective piece of machinery.
So for now the car is in perfect condition (but not for long – more on that next month) and I’m off to find out more about the new Cayman GTS to see If it might be worth considering toward the end of 2014. The R has certainly raised a high bar for it to beat.
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