2014 Porsche Cayman S

2014 Porsche Cayman S

An expensive toy that's worth every penny.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: June 20th, 2014

The 2014 Porsche Cayman S, let's be honest, is a toy. It seats two people (or three, if one is dead and folded into the front trunk), it's lower to the ground than any reasonable family-toting vehicle, and its entire existence is predicated on sportiness. It's not a car you're supposed to feel responsible in; it's something you're supposed to have fun in. And fun is the only thing you will have in the newly-redesigned Cayman S.

The 2014 model year marks the introduction of the 981-generation Cayman. It's a whole new car, featuring a new exterior aesthetic that's significantly more aggressive than the previous design, chassis expansions on both the x and y axis, and an interior that brings the Cayman in line with the rest of Porsche's familial offerings. All in all, it's a brilliantly cohesive package that further ingrains the notion that the Cayman and Boxster are being taken nearly as seriously as the 911.

The Cayman S is the trim level above the base Cayman. Opting for the S will add about 10 grand to the MSRP, but it's worth it; instead of the base model's 2.7-liter H-6, the Cayman S receives a de-tuned version of the base 911 motor, a 3.4-liter unit that also includes the 911's running gear. It's a mid-engined 911 with a $20,000 discount attached.

With the engine shoved midship, you lose the pint-sized rear seats found in the 911, but you do gain a small bit of storage space out back. There's no carrying a set of golf clubs in this bad boy, unless you're mini-golfing. There is, however, enough space for a weekend bag or two, or a week's worth of groceries for two. Like we said, it's a toy, and it has no concern for such pedestrian chores.

If you stop paying attention to driving the Cayman for five seconds, you'll enjoy the interior. With the leather package, everything feels soft to the touch. The layout is traditional Porsche; there's a gauge cluster with a multi-function display, an optional nav system with small, albeit actual, buttons underneath, and a large center console filled with buttons. It looks daunting at first, but once you catch on to everything's purpose, you'll realize how sensible the layout actually is. It's nice not having to dive through five menus to put the car in Sport Plus mode or turn on the seat heaters.

But you're probably not going to stop paying attention to the driving experience, because that, in and of itself, is worth every single penny of its $60,000+ price tag (not counting the nearly-infinite amount of available options). The steering, while a bit more numb than its predecessor, is still finely tuned, and it will get you around obstacles with little more than a flick of the wrist. The brakes are equally snappy, perhaps a bit too much at lower speeds, but if you need to stop in a hurry (or if you like pressing your eyeballs against the windshield), the middle pedal will make that happen.

You can have your choice of either two or three pedals, and while the PDK is absolutely amazing in every application, we really have to give it to the manual here. The shifting action is quick and precise, and once you learn the difference between reverse and first, you'll be shifting for fun all day. As a bonus, when the car is in Sport Plus mode, you'll get automatic throttle-blips on downshifts. This is great for those who cannot heel-toe reliably and further encourages gas-guzzling, rapid-fire shifting.

The Cayman S's 3.4-liter flat six is a lower-power version of the 3.4-liter unit found in the base model 911. It's responsive at nearly every point in the rev range, capable of building speed even around 2,000 RPM. That said, you won't really feel the full effect unless you wind the engine out to nearly 8,000 rpm - the lack of torque is to blame there. But considering how the engine sounds at that speed, you're going to want to be up there all day anyhow. Just don't expect great gas mileage; our lead feet averaged about 18 mpg in the week we had it.

But you're not going to be buying this car with gas mileage in mind. You're buying this car because you want to drive it, because you want to have fun, screw everything in your way that won't let you. That's why Porsches of this ilk have access to countless options - you want something unique, something yours, something to get excited about.

Truth be told, the 2014 Cayman S is one of the best-driving cars on the road right now - likely the best if you don't count any car that costs more than $100,000. It's lively at all times; everything in the car screams response and agility. You can't have a bad time in this car, unless the massive SUV next to you sideswipes you because your diminutive silhouette disappeared into the SUV's massive blind spot. In which case, thank goodness you've got a primary car to use as backup.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 3.4-liter, direct-injected, naturally-aspirated H-6

    Transmission: Six-speed manual, Seven-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive

    Power Output: 325 hp / 273 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 20 city / 28 highway

    Base Price: $63,800

    As Tested: $89,915 (incl. $950 destination)

    Available Features:

    Convenience Package: Dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats

    Premium Package: Convenience Package plus 14-way or 18-way power seats, auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, headlight washers

    Premium Package Plus: Premium Package, plus ventilated seats, ambient LED lighting, keyless entry and start

    Sport Chrono Package: Dynamic transmission mounts, chronometer with integrated computer lap timer

    Individual Options: Burmester premium audio with navigation, Bose premium audio with navigation, sport tailpipes, sport suspension, sport exhaust, speed-dependent power steering, torque vectoring, carbon-ceramic brakes, power folding side mirrors, parking sensors (front, rear, or both), backup camera, heated steering wheel, ashtray and lighter, ventilated seats, multifunction steering wheel, fire extinguisher, handsfree voice control, carphone, and an endless number of aesthetic modifications

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