What will they cost?
Improving efficiency is the whole reason behind the Cayman's smaller engine, so you’d imagine it would trounce its heavier, bigger-engined rivals for fuel economy. Well, not in the real world it doesn’t. In our True MPG tests it was fractionally the thirstiest of the trio, posting 28.4mpg compared with the F-Type's 28.8mpg. The M2 averaged a relatively respectable 31.4mpg.
This, plus the fact the M2 is by far the cheapest to buy – even before you’ve factored in the £3000 discounts BMW dealers will cough up – makes it the cheapest to own privately over three years. The Cayman will cost nearly £2800 more than the M2 over the same period, and the F-Type will cost around £6600 more, although picking a manual gearbox (just 4% of buyers do) reduces the gap.
However, many buyers will sign up to a PCP finance agreement and, on this front, the Cayman appeals least. Put down a 15% deposit and you’ll pay £576 a month over the next three years for this Cayman S, whereas the M2 will cost you £463 and the F-Type a whopping £602. All these deals limit you to 10,000 miles a year, too.
If you’re lucky enough to have any of our contenders on your company car list the M2 is your cheapest option; its lower list price offsets the fact it (officially, at least) pumps out more CO2 than the Cayman. There’s less than a fiver a month in it, though, assuming you’re a 40% taxpayer, whereas choosing the F-Type will mean sacrificing almost £200 extra from your salary every month.
Standard equipment isn’t as generous as you might expect, particularly in the Cayman. It’s the only one of our trio that does without sat-nav, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors and a DAB radio. Air-con is standard in all three, although only the M2 has dual-zone climate control that allows you to set different air temperatures on each side of the interior. The M2 is also the only one with cruise control.
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