Porsche Cayman Coupe
On the face of it, the Porsche Cayman Coupe and Toyota GT86 are worlds apart - the Porsche rolls in at £39,695 on the road whilst the most expensive Toyota GT86 costs just £31,495. Yet, both cars are coupes, and both have been meticulously designed to offer the ultimate driving experience. The question, of course, is whether the Porsche can justify its higher price tag?
As if to claim its crown almost instantly, on paper, the Porsche smashes the GT86 in every way. It has a 2.7-litre engine versus the GT86's 2.0-litre engine, it will go from 0 - 62 mph in 5.7 seconds versus the GT86's 7.6 seconds, it has 271 bhp and 214 lb /ft of torque versus the GT86's 197 bhp and 151 lb /ft of torque, and the Cayman will top out a whole 25 mph higher than the GT86 at 165 mph.
Out on the road, both cars fire up with immediacy. Toyota has done a great job with producing a nice engine note at idle with the GT86, but the Cayman has more purpose, burbling away as you'd expect a Porsche to. Blip the throttle and both cars growl as if to assert their road pedigree. Launch either car at 4000 rpm and you're greeted with mild wheel spin on a damp road, and heavy wheel spin with the traction control turned off on a wet road. Smash the cars in to second and you immediately feel the extra pull of the Cayman - it feels much faster than the 70 bhp advantage sounds. Make no mistake that in a straight line the Cayman even in 2.7-litre guise is a quick car. It's by no means a quarter mile behemoth, but it'll see off the majority of cars you come across on the roads.
Yet for all of its speed, and for the engines lovely noise, the Cayman is one of the least involving Porsches I've ever driven. Before you even start the engine you're completely secluded from the world, with the doors providing an extremely good level of noise isolation. I was pulled up on the hard shoulder of the motorway at one point, and I could barely hear the cars passing by. This refinement is great for an executive saloon - but the Cayman is not that. It's supposed to be a harder, faster Boxster, and a bridge before Porsche lovers get the 911 they've always dreamed of.
On the move, this lack of involvement continues. It's hard to describe what's wrong with this car but I'll give it a go - you feel at all points of a journey, even with the traction control turned off, that there's two little men behind each rear tyre keeping you on the road.
To its credit, though, at least the Cayman handles well - near-perfect 46/54 front/rear weight distribution is fantastic and it wills you on to push harder and harder. The 271 bhp of the Cayman is easy to exploit and you can't help but rag the engine to its limits. What's more, the long gearing ensures that running costs stay admirable - we got 31 mpg on a combined run (we ragged it most of the time).
So, the Cayman - for around £40k you get a fast coupe that's a riot in the corners. With 271 bhp on tap the car sprints off the line like a Porsche should, but unless you're driving the car hard, it's in no way involving. The Cayman, to us, is the perfect car for anybody who seeks comfort, quality and refinement 80% of the time, and power and handling 20% of the time.
For drivers seeking the opposite, well...