Porsche reveals new Cayman

GREG KABLE
Last updated 11:23 29/11/2012

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The renewal of Porsche's sports car line-up continues apace with the unveiling of a larger and lighter second-generation Cayman at Los Angeles motor show overnight (NZ time).

The new mid-engined coupe adopts a redesigned platform offering improved weight distribution as well as a series of weight saving measures that are claimed to see it tip the scales under that of its predecessor.

Sister car to the Boxster, alongside which it will be produced at Porsche's traditional manufacturing plant in Zuffenhausen, Germany – and, if demands warrant it, the old Karmann factory in Osnabruck, Germany – the new Cayman receives slightly different proportions in a move that serves to stretches it silhouette and provide the basis for a larger cabin. Length is up by 35mm, width extends by a scant 1mm while height drops by 10mm over its predecessor at 4380mm, 1801mm and 1295mm respectively.

The Cayman once again shares its styling with the Boxster. Distinguishing features over the roadster are daytime running lights and indicators housed within a round unit within the outer top edge of the front air ducts instead of a trapezoidal shaped unit in the top of the air duct. It also has more shapely rear hunches and a heavily angled liftback style tailgate at the rear.

As with its roadster sibling, the new coupe adopts an edgier appearance than its predecessor, with tauter surfacing and crisper feature lines, including a distinctive swage running through the doors and into larger cooling ducts ahead of the rear-wheel arches. As on all recent Porsche models, the exterior mirrors are mounted on the doors rather than within the glasshouse. The wheelhouses have also increased in size, allowing Porsche to fit the range-topping Cayman S with standard 19-inch wheels and offer 20-inch rims as optional equipment.

Inside, there is a higher quality interior with added levels of accommodation. The two-seat layout remains, but a longer cabin provides for greater levels of seat adjustment and improved oddment stowage space. Porsche claims a nominal 150 litres of luggage space up front in the nose section and a further 162 litres at the rear in the space above the engine.

As with the Boxster, the new Cayman will be sold with the choice of two horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines: a new 2.7-litre unit at the entry level and a reworked version of the existing 3.4-litre powerplant in the initial range-topping model. Buyers will also be able to choose between two gearboxes: a standard six-speed manual and optional seven-speed dual-clutch unit – the latter boasting a coasting function that idles the engine and disengages the clutch on a trailing throttle for added fuel savings.

The 2.7-litre unit replaces the older 2.9-litre engine, producing an added 7kW but 10Nm less torque, with 202kW and 290Nm. It is sufficient to propel the base 1310kg Cayman from 0 to 100km/h in 5.7sec and up to a top speed of 266km/h while delivering combined cycle consumption of 8.2L/100km and average CO2 emissions of 192g/km in combination with a standard six-speed gearbox. The dual-clutch gearbox extends performance and reduces consumption and emissions, with official claims of 5.4sec, 264km/h, 7.7L/100km and 180g/km respectively.

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It will be joined from the outset by the reworked 3.4-litre engine. It delivers a scant 4kW more but the same level of torque as the old unit, with 239kW and 370Nm. This is enough to endow the 1320kg Cayman S with an official 0-100 km/h time of 5.0sec in six-speed manual form and 4.7sec in combination with the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, together with corresponding top speeds of 283 km/h and 281 km/h. Fuel consumption is put at 8.8L/100km and 8.0L/100km respectively for the two gearboxes, with corresponding CO2 emissions of 206g/km and 188g/km.

Underpinning the new Porsche is the same aluminium-intensive chassis used by the Boxster. It receives a 60mm increase in the wheelbase over the platform used by the outgoing first-generation Cayman at 2475mm. The tracks have also been extended by 36mm to 1526mm at the front and 5mm to 1540mm at the rear, giving it an more aggressive stance.

As with the Boxster, the new car also adopts an electro-mechanical steering system with different states of tuning depending on the engine and comes with the option of Porsche's PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) that offers differing damping, throttle and steering characteristics.

The Cayman wears 18-inch wheels – 8 inches wide up front and 9 inches at the rear, shod with 235/45 and 265/45 tyres. The 19-inch wheels of the Cayman S are 8 inch wide up front and 9.5 inches at the rear and come with lower profile 235/40 and 265/40 rubber. The standard steel brakes are 315mm in diameter for the Cayman and 330mm for the Cayman S up front, with the two sharing the same 299mm rotors at the rear. Carbon ceramic brakes with 350mm composite discs up front and 299mm at the rear are available as an option.

The reduction in height is claimed to provide for a lower centre of gravity – something Porsche claims is at the heart of improvements in the Cayman's overall dynamic ability. Further highlights include a torque vectoring function and electronic differential to aid traction. Nothing is official just yet but insiders suggest the new two-seat coupe is up to 10sec per lap faster around the Nurburgring than the old model in Cayman S guise.

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