New-look Cayman beats big sister

After the comparative disappointment of the new 911, it’s good to spend a couple of days being enchanted by a new Porsche again. The Cayman has always been Porsche’s slowest-selling mainstream model, but now I have no hesitation in saying that it is also its best. Like the 911 it has been renewed from end to end, though visually is almost unchanged. Like its big sister, the modifications include direct-injection engines, revisions to the suspension and brakes and the provision of its PDK seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox.

I’m not going to dwell on this transmission other than to say I’d always choose the six-speed manual, but the new engine in the Cayman I drove now comes with 320bhp instead of 295 and is a Porsche classic: sharp, snarling and full of the mid-range aggression and response that was lost from the 911 when it was upgraded. Significant too is the option of a limited-slip diff.

It’s still great to drive without, but anyone planning to use the Cayman on track or even for quick motoring on damp roads will welcome the added traction and scarcely notice the extra understeer in tight corners.

At £44,108 it’s nearly £20,000 cheaper than a 911, whose only real advantages over the Cayman are two small rear seats and the iconic status of its name. But if what you want from your Porsche is the best possible thing to drive, save yourself some money and buy a Cayman S instead.