Used 2007 Porsche Cayman
- Supreme handling characteristics, pinpoint steering, strong brakes, ideal driving position, generous luggage capacity, classic styling.
- Options are costly, busy control layout, straight-line performance equaled or bettered by many less expensive performance cars.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Thanks to its stirring performance capabilities, semi-affordable base price and petite dimensions, the 2007 Porsche Cayman embodies the heart and soul of history's best road-going Porsches.
Introduced last year, the Porsche Cayman S neatly bridged the gap between the Boxster roadster (from which it was derived) and the 911 series in terms of performance and price. With the stiffness afforded by its solid-topped body, the reflexes provided by a firmer suspension and the thrust offered by its muscular 3.4-liter flat-6, the Cayman S coupe was (and is) an extremely well-rounded sports car.
But as any Porsche enthusiast knows, the "S" typically indicates a higher-performance version of a given model. The question of, "Where's the base version?" has been answered for 2007 with the debut of the regular Cayman. With a smaller, 2.7-liter flat-6 (as opposed to the S model's 3.4-liter engine), the Cayman makes a still-respectable 245 horsepower and 201 pound-feet of torque, which Porsche says is enough punch to hit 60 mph in just under 6 seconds. A top speed of 160 mph isn't too shabby, either. Listing at just under $50,000, the standard Cayman is nearly $10,000 less than the S version and would seem to be more than adequate for most sports car fanciers. Still, another obvious question remains: What does the S give you for the additional cabbage? The biggest (literally) upgrade is the more powerful engine, which brings that 0-60 sprint down to 5.1 seconds and pumps up the top speed to 171 mph. The S also has upgraded wheels, bigger brakes and a six-speed (versus five-speed) manual gearbox.
Regardless of model, the Cayman's core strengths are its compact and nimble midengine platform and high body rigidity. This has allowed Porsche's engineers to hone the car's reflexes to a point where one can argue that this is the company's best-handling car. It feels sharper than a Boxster and is more forgiving at the limit of adhesion than the 911. The Cayman also offers a measure of practicality thanks to its hatchback body style that allows a total of 14.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
If you just look at the numbers, the 2007 Porsche Cayman and Cayman S are no bargains, especially if you start adding some of Porsche's extensive (and expensive) options. There are plenty of sports cars, such as the BMW Z4 coupe, Chevrolet Corvette and Nissan 350Z, that can produce similar or even more impressive test track data for less money. But as it's always been with Porsche, there's a lot more to the 2007 Cayman than brag-worthy numbers. It's about how connected to the road you feel through the communicative steering, how composed and rhythmic the car feels as you unravel a twisty road and how utterly cool the flat-6 sounds as you accelerate hard onto a freeway. For the driving enthusiast, it doesn't get much better than this.
Trim levels & features
The midengine 2007 Porsche Cayman comes in two trims, the standard Cayman and the higher-performance Cayman S. The Cayman comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a CD player, cruise control, a trip computer and power accessories. The S adds the bigger engine, 18-inch alloys, larger brakes, metallic gauge faces and an upgraded, nine-speaker audio system. There are options galore, including a choice of leather trim that can be ordered à la carte on virtually every interior piece of the car, including the dash, sun visors and steering column. Other options include power seating, a choice of wood, carbon or aluminum trim, rear parking assist, heated seats, a navigation system, race-bred ceramic composite brake discs and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). PASM, which drops the car's ride height slightly and adds automatically adjustable dampers, allows the driver to choose between a sporty but comfortable "Normal" mode and a full-on "Sport" suspension setup at the touch of a button on the dash. Another interesting choice is the Sport Chrono package. It makes for even quicker and sharper responses via a remapped electronic throttle and (on automatic cars) transmission. This serious enthusiast-oriented package also switches the PASM to a stiffer setting.
Performance & mpg
The Cayman has a 2.7-liter horizontally opposed ("flat") six-cylinder engine that makes 245 hp and 201 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a five-speed manual transmission. Optional are a six-speed manual and five-speed Tiptronic S automatic, with the latter allowing manual-style gearchanges via the gear selector or buttons on the steering wheel. The Cayman S is powered by a 3.4-liter flat-6 that produces 295 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while the Tiptronic S automatic is optional.
Manufacturer 0-60-mph times are 5.8 and 5.1 seconds for manual-transmission versions of the Cayman and Cayman S, respectively, while top speeds stand at 160 and 171 mph, respectively. A Cayman S that we instrument-tested made good on Porsche's claim, accelerating to 60 mph in 5 seconds flat and hitting the quarter-mile mark in 13.2 seconds. It also turned in a highly impressive 60-to-0 braking distance of 106 feet.
Antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control and torso- and head-protecting side-impact airbags are all standard on the 2007 Porsche Cayman.
Choose the 2007 Porsche Cayman and you're in for a great driving experience. Handling is virtually identical for both versions, with the S version having a bit more punch in terms of acceleration. The variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering provides precise control and quick reflexes, yet the Cayman is also stable at triple-digit speeds. Potential Cayman buyers should seriously consider getting the optional PASM suspension; in Normal mode it still feels sporty, yet absorbs the bumps well enough to make the Cayman a fine daily driver. Switch to the no-compromises Sport mode and the chassis stiffens up considerably, taking body roll out of the equation and allowing one to attack the corners with even greater bravado, provided the road is fairly smooth. Brakes are likewise a confidence booster, as they respond quickly without being grabby and have a firm, solid feel underfoot.
Even the standard seats are well-bolstered and supportive and headroom is especially generous for a sports car. As with other Porsches, the Cayman's handsome cockpit contains a number of initially confusing controls, mainly those of the audio and climate control systems. With familiarity, however, they become fairly easy to use and the gauges are also typically Porsche, meaning large and well-marked. With the hatchback body comes more cargo capacity than the Boxster on which the Cayman is based. There are 9.1 cubic feet under the hatch, which combined with the front trunk, provides a total of 14.5 cubic feet of capacity.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
More About This Model
Launching a car like the 2007 Porsche Cayman after introducing a high-performance model like the Cayman S presents something of a conundrum. How do you refer to it? Is the new "non-S" Cayman a base model or is it a regular edition? How does "standard," or "normal" grab you?
Our weekend thrash of the new standard/regular/base/normal 2007 Porsche Cayman on German back roads and autobahns instantly revealed that this S-less wünder retains much of the inherent goodness and finely honed driving behavior of the original high-performance, 2-seat, midengine/rear-drive Cayman S coupe. What has been lost in the S-removal process is 50 horsepower, 0.7 second of 0-60 quickness, and $9,500 in price.
S and S-less versions of the Cayman differ primarily in the engine department. In typical Porsche fashion, nearly all of the non-engine changes to the car relate specifically to cost and weight savings made possible due to the reduction in thrust and top-speed potential.
Engine capacity drops from 3.4 to 2.7 liters, due to a piston bore diameter reduction from 3.8 to 3.4 inches. To offset the displacement loss and promote free revving, the still oversquare mill gets a 0.2 point compression ratio bump up to 11.3:1, and a lighter crankshaft with smaller journals.
Porsche's VarioCam Plus intake valve timing and lift system is carried over, as is the nifty dual-chamber intake system. The operational thresholds of both subsystems have been adjusted to suit the needs of the revised power plant.
The end result is a 50-each drop in peak horsepower and torque to 245 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 201 pound-feet at 4600-6000 rpm, respectively. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but an 88-pound drop in the Cayman's curb weight, to 2867 pounds, offsets this somewhat.
Porsche's 0-62-mph claim of 6.1 seconds is only 0.7 shy of its 5.4-second Cayman S figure. Since our recent full test of a 2006 Cayman S returned a 0-60-mph run of only 5.0 seconds, we won't be surprised if we see the Cayman come in under 6.0 seconds once we get one back at the lab. As for stated top speed, the Cayman allegedly drops from 171 to only 162 mph. Traffic during our autobahn blast limited our speed, but it was no struggle to get to and sustain 137 mph — a velocity that would see us rot in a Barstow jail had we done that while Hunter S. Thompson-ing to Vegas.
On a kinder, gentler note, Cayman fuel economy with the 5-speed manual is a braggable 23 city/32 highway. That's quite a boost over the S's 20/27 mpg rating.
Variant trannies and more
But enough about numbers: The bottom line is that the Cayman's 2.7-liter engine is highly flexible and drivable, and still gets with the slightly downsized program. Intoxicating still describes the engine note, as we found ourselves rowing through the gearbox more often than the table-flat torque peak required, just to hear that guttural, snarling-pack-of-wolverines upshift bark again and again.
Porsche provides a plethora of transmission permutations. Standard on the Cayman is the same 5-speed that comes on the Boxster. Fans of the S's Getrag 6-speed need not worry, as it's available here, too. This upgrade eats up $2,680, which seems steep until you discover that Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a two-range adaptive damping system and 0.4-inch ride height drop, is part of the deal.
You can get a Tiptronic 5-speed automatic, if you must, for a whopping $3,210, not including PASM — that's another $1,990 here. But know first that the 6-speed manual in our Deutsche test car featured precise, short throws; a butter-smooth clutch with clairvoyant engagement feel; and ideal heel-and-toe pedal placement. Not only did it strike us as perfectly evolved for tearing around the hinterlands, but we figure that the clutch effort will be more than livable in the L.A. stop-and-go scene.
With less autobahn terminal velocity to bleed off and the aforementioned 88-pound drop in curb weight, the brakes have been slightly reworked. The still ventilated and cross-drilled rotors shrink a bit in diameter and thickness, while 4-piston fixed monoblock calipers remain. The resulting whoa still nicely exceeds the amount of go, as stopping power remains impressive, with a reassuringly rigid pedal.
Z-rated 17-inch tires straight from the Boxster are standard equipment, 205/55 up front and 235/50 out back. Eighteens from the S will run you $1,235, and sportify the sizes to 235/40 and 265/40. For those who want to go completely nuts, 19-inch 35-series tires can be conjured for $2,785-$3,175, depending on which of the four available wheels you choose.
In back-to-back driving we found the 18-inch combo to be most to our liking on the bumpy lanes that comprised most of our test course. Better able to handle midcorner disturbances, they seemed to generally hold onto the road better than the 19s. Perhaps the bigger meats excel on glass-smooth roads and at track days, but we wonder if we'd tire of them in day-to-day use.
The Cayman S's steering is one of its strong suits, and so it is with the Plain Jane Cayman. The variable-ratio rack and pinion steering box is carried over, bringing precise control and quick reflexes along with it. Indeed, we found our Cayman stable and twitchless at triple-digit speeds, with surgical and quick response through tight bends.
Base suspension settings are slightly recalibrated to the new horsepower and weight. Front spring rates stay identical to the S, while the rears drop 10 percent. Stabilizer bars at both ends shrink by the hair-thin margin of a half-millimeter each. The result is about the same fantastic cornering behavior, prodigious grip and maniacal laughter that an S provides.
Apart from the missing S, cosmetic differences on the Cayman are few. Inside, there isn't much to talk about apart from black gauge faces, as everything looks much the same from the driver seat. External differences include black brake calipers (instead of red), and black lips on the front spoiler. That's about it. Oh, I almost forgot the most distinctive difference: a change to a decidedly more biological-looking single orifice for the central exhaust port. Symmetry is not always the friend of design.
One thing is certain. The 2007 Porsche Cayman, even without the S, is no croc. And at $50,195, $9,500 less than an S, it's not as critical to have an offshore account in some Caribbean island bank to afford one either. Sure, the substitution of a 245-hp 2.7-liter flat-6 for the S's 3.3-liter mill trims some acceleration and speed, but it hasn't damaged the precise handling and pure driving thrills that this 2-seat midengine coupe provides.
Standard? Normal? Base? Regular? Porsche's 2007 Cayman, S-less though it may be, is none of these things. It may not be a Cayman S, but it's chock full of Cayman-ness.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2007 Porsche Cayman Overview
The Used 2007 Porsche Cayman is offered in the following submodels: Cayman Coupe. Available styles include S 2dr Coupe (3.4L 6cyl 6M), and 2dr Coupe (2.7L 6cyl 5M).
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Should I lease or buy a 2007 Porsche Cayman?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.