The Porsche Boxster and Porsche 911 are two of the finest sports cars available, but this all-new, second-generation Porsche Cayman has the potential to be even better.
It's lower, wider and lighter than its predecessor, which should help it grip harder and feel more agile.
What's more, its fixed metal roof gives it a stiffer body than the Boxster, while its mid-engined configuration makes the Cayman inherently better balanced than the rear-engined 911.
As before, there are two models: the regular Cayman and the more powerful Cayman S. The lesser car has a 2.7-litre flat-six engine, while the S uses a slightly detuned version of the 3.4 in the 911 Carrera.
Both versions send power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox, although Porsche's seven-speed twin-clutch PDK semi-auto 'box is available as an option.
What's the 2013 Porsche Cayman like to drive?
Our test car was the S model fitted with the PDK gearbox, and in this form the Cayman lives up to its promise.
It's a relatively light car at 1350kg (or 1320kg with the manual gearbox), but you'd swear that figure was even lower because the Cayman changes direction so effortlessly and remains incredibly flat during cornering.
The steering only serves to increase your faith in the car, feeling precise and beautifully weighted, while the standard brakes are powerful and easy to modulate.
Performance is predictably rapid, with 0-62mph taking 4.9 seconds (4.7 if you specify the optional Sport Chrono pack). However, it's the way that performance is delivered that's most impressive; the engine reaches its 7600rpm redline quickly and with no flat spots, while gearshifts are so swift there's barely any respite in acceleration.
The PDK 'box is just as impressive when you're in less of a hurry, shuffling smoothly between gears in auto mode.
That said, we would recommend adding the optional paddle shifters for those times when you want to control it manually – Porsche's standard wheel-mounted buttons are awkward to use.
Another option we'd be tempted to specify is the switchable sports exhaust, which enhances the already sweet engine note at the press of a button.
The amount of road roar that the Cayman generates over coarse motorway surfaces is less welcome, but little wind noise reaches the cabin, and the ride is surprisingly forgiving.
What's the 2013 Porsche Cayman like inside?
Virtually identical to the Boxster, which means it's pretty special. Everything you touch, prod or twist feels beautifully built. What's more, there's plenty of space for two, the driving position is just about perfect and forward visibility is superb.
True, over-the-shoulder vision is more restricted than it is in a 911, and the centre console is rather overloaded with buttons. However, the Cayman does have a decent amount of space for luggage, thanks to its load bays at the front and the rear of the car.
Should I buy one?
Absolutely. The Cayman is one of the best-handling sports cars available at any price, as well as one of the most useable.
It's even great value because the range-topping S model undercuts a 911 Carrera by £23,000, yet is barely any less rapid.
What Car? says…
Audi TT RS
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