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Driving the new Boxster, Cayman

2009-04-23 11:26

Hailey Philander

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Porsche
Engine 2.9-litre six-cylinder; 3.4-litre six-cylinder
Power Boxster - 188 kW @ 6 400 r/min; Boxster S - 228 kW @ 6 400 r/min; Cayman - 195 kW @ 7 200 r/min; Cayman S - 235 kW @ 7 200 r/min
Torque Boxster - 290 Nm @ 4 400 r/min; Boxster S - 360 Nm @ 5 500 r/min; Cayman - 300 Nm @ 4 400 r/min; Cayman S - 370 @ 4 750 r/min
Transmission seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK)
Zero To Hundred Boxster - 5.8 seconds; Boxster S - 5.2 seconds; Cayman - 5.7 seconds; Cayman S - 5.1 seconds
Top Speed Boxster - 261 km/h; Boxster S - 272 km/h; Cayman - 263 km/h; Cayman S - 275 km/h
Fuel Tank 65 litre
Fuel Consumption Boxster - 9.1 l/100 km; Boxster S - 9.4 l/100 km; Cayman - 9.1 l/100 km; Cayman S - 9.4 l/100 km
Warranty 3 year/90 000 km
Image Gallery:

Video Gallery:
Boxster S - Driving
Boxster S - Interior
Cayman S - Driving

I swish into the bend a lot quicker than I probably should on an unfamiliar road. No braking, not even a tap, and the car responds with predictable calm. Nice, I think as a grin sweeps across my face. I'll take a Boxster S, thanks. 

I'm in the lush KwaZulu-Natal for the media launch of the second generation Porsche Cayman and Cayman S coupes and Boxster and Boxster S roadsters. Sure, there are some changes to the cars' appearance but thankfully, and in typical Porsche fashion, the cosmetic adjustments are kept to a minimum with the fireworks reserved for beneath the metal.

Long teased for being seen as the "soft" Porsche, Boxster grows up to become an even better drop top. It's focused enough to make you forget it doesn't really come with a roof. With its top down, the rushing wind is probably the biggest indicator.

No tell-tale scuttle shake, no teeth-chattering shudders through the chassis, nothing. Just cool confidence. Even though, in our case, the weather gods were a little grumpy and the occasional fat water droplet joined the rushing wind in the cabin…

Similarly, the Cayman takes its game up a notch to be even more purposeful than before. The experience also served to reinforce why, if you're looking for a decent little sports coupe, Cayman is it.

More shove

Both Cayman and Boxster have been subjected to all-new six cylinder boxer engines with increased capacities, and as a result increased outputs, although fuel consumption and emissions on both units are said to be down.

New intake and exhaust systems and direct fuel injection are key improvements, too. The electronic oil pump that supplies oil on demand based on conditions is new, while Porsche's VarioCam Plus altering valve timing and lift is carried over to the new cars.

More sedate Cayman and Boxster models share the new 2.9-litre unit (up from 2.7), while the S models have been gifted the 3.4-litre motor with direct fuel injection - and a most addictive exhaust note.

Porsche's seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox PDK (or Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe) replaces the Tiptronic transmission and is standard across the local Boxster and Cayman ranges.

And while it is one amazing piece of engineering, purists who relish the satisfaction of personally shifting through the cogs may feel hard done by. Don’t worry, a few quick kilometers in the company of PDK should go some way to convincing those who need it.

If you're still not convinced, the PDK 'box does allow one to shift gears manually, either via paddles on the steering wheel, or the selector lever. Frankly though, if you allow the gearbox to do its own thing, you're not likely to feel shortchanged. Shifts are seamless and without a loss of traction - perfect!

The cars' basic chassis and suspension remain unchanged, although the set-up has been adjusted to allow for the extra power. The standard PSM provides for quite a sporty drive, but the optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) can be activated to change the damper forces and provide a mix of comfortable and sporty settings.
Beefy cross-drilled and ventilated brake disks provide impressive stopping power on all models, although ceramic brakes are a worthy option.

Don't blink!
Porschephiles are likely to be the only ones particularly interested in the aesthetic changes. However, these changes, though subtle, are marked when the cars are compared side-by-side.

For Boxster, new headlamp clusters and a new bumper with a revised airdam are the most noticeable changes.

Cayman gains new optics for its headlamps and repositioned front fog lamps.

Both cars get new rear bumpers and tail light clusters with LED banks. The body work has also been twisted and straightened, in sections, to convey a sportier and more athletic appearance.

This trademark minimalistic approach continues inside the cabin, where the interiors are kept straightforward. The biggest change here is the new (optional) PCM Communication Management system that controls the audio, communication and navigation features on Boxster and Cayman.

Despite the long list of options available for both Cayman and Boxster ranges, few cars remain able to tap into a driver's psyche so completely to provide kilometers upon kilometers of driving satisfaction.

Boxster should now be more convincing when arguing that roadsters are not the exclusive realm of female drivers and the Cayman could not be more desirable, even if it tried. We'll have to wait a while still to see what the masters at Zuffenhausen will produce on the next loop, but would it be foolish to expect anything less than stellar?

Boxster      R595 000
Boxster S   R695 000
Cayman      R650 000
Cayman S   R795 000

Image Gallery:

Video Gallery:
Boxster S - Driving
Boxster S - Interior
Cayman S - Driving


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