2006 Porsche Cayman S

Written by tonks on October 14, 2006

2006 Porsche Cayman SThe Porsche Cayman S is more than a Boxster coupe, less than a 911. That’s the official line on Porsche’s latest car, which has major components from both models. The Cayman S is powered by a 3.4 litre flat-six engine, which comes right in the middle of the existing range of engines which goes from 2.7 to 3.8 litres.

Although the Cayman S is based on the Boxster,the body has been changed quite a lot to give it a different look and that has succeeded.  It is barely larger than a Boxster, though.  It is a fastback coupe in the Porsche tradition, but the fastback slopes down quite quickly emphasising the upward sweep of the fenders over the rear wheels. From the side, the Cayman S is unmistakably Porsche, and to distinguish it from the Boxster, the air intakes forward of the rear wheels are rather a different shape and have vertical louvres. The overall effect is good, and the new body clearly works; it has a drag coefficient of 0.29, which is slightly better than the 911 Carrera, and a very low figure.

The front is not far removed from the Boxster, but does have a pair of small lamps suspended in the outer grilles to make it look different.The new lip spoiler at the front increases downforce at the front, and at the rear, the Cayman S has a pop-up wing instead of a spoiler. Because it is specially shaped and is higher – 3 inches above the body – it gives more downforce, increasing stability.

So does it really fit in between the existing Porsches? The figures in the Table show it does, with the power, power-to-weight ratio and acceleration right between the Boxster S and 911 Carrera.  However, the low drag coefficient and smaller frontal area of the Cayman S give it the edge over the 911 Carrera in top speed – by 1 mph. The power-to-weight ratio is also close to the bigger car, so in reality the performance will be very similar, except that the Cayman S will be easier to drive fast than the 911 Carrera, thanks to the mid-engined layout.

Mechanically the Boxster and Cayman are very similar, sharing the same basic body, but with some different panels, and stiffened up by the coupe body. There is a very large tailgate to give good access to the surprisingly large luggage space at the back – there is also a reasonable luggage space at the front.

In fact, Porsche says that the body is twice as stiff as the Boxster, which is remarkable. Owing to this stiffness, the body will hardly flex at all while cornering or on bumpy roads, which will help the suspension and steering behave the way it is supposed to.  If the body flexes much, the suspension pivots move relative the body, resulting in poor tracking and suspension geometry a problem with some cars, but certainly not with the Cayman S.

Strut suspension, very similar to that of the Boxster, is used. This is not ideal suspension for a sports car, but works well on the Cayman S because it is stiffer than the Boxster, which already handles very well. Of course, both cars share the same mid-engined layout, which is the best set-up for good handling, as emphasised by Porsche in their information on the Cayman S.

The brakes are the same as those on the Boxster S and 911 Carrera, but there is the option of larger ceramic composite brakes with 13.78 inch (350 mm) diameter discs. These are 50% lighter than the cast iron discs, and are much less prone to fade. But they are expensive.

Posted Under: Porsche

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