Review: 2009 Porsche Cayman PDK is sporty but pricey

Known by many as “˜The Poor Man”s Porsche”, the mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, Porsche Cayman was introduced in 2006. Derived from the Stuttgart automaker”s second-generation Boxster convertible, the 2-seater Cayman is the third-most affordable option to those who long to own a Porsche; only the Boxster and Cayenne are more modestly priced. So when it comes to buying a more affordable Porsche coupe than the 911, the Cayman is your choice.

We were able to test-drive the Cayman for a week, though our test-car was only modestly equipped. We were not afforded amenities like Porsche”s Active Suspension Management (PASM), Sport Chrono Package, or Sport Chrono Package Plus. We did however, get to experience Porsche”s new 7-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission, which did have us a little excited and allowed us to have a better time with the car than anticipated.

Make the jump to read more and to view our high-res image gallery (at the bottom of the post).

Review: 2009 Porsche Cayman PDK:

2009 Porsche Cayman Specifications:

Base Price: $51,400.
Price as Tested: $54,295.
Engine: 2.9L inline 6-cylinder – 265-hp / 221 lb-ft of torque.
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 7-speed PDK automatic.
Curb Weight: 3,104 lbs.
0 to 60 mph: 5.4 seconds.
Top Speed: 165 mph.
Fuel-Economy: 20/29 mpg (city/highway).

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.

Exterior:

As is typical of Porsche, there has been no dramatic aesthetic change between the current model and the out-going, but some subtle details do serve as to distinguish the car. The air-intake is accented on either end by positioning lights and fog-lamps, and although the headlamps maintain the typical Porsche aesthetics, the fog-lamps stay separate and positioned low and away from the car”s centerline.

The rear tail and brake lights boast LEDs, which Porsche says improve safety due to instantaneous response time and improved clarity, and are segmented into three distinct pieces on either side of the rear.

Optionally available are BI-XENON headlights which feature an integral daytime running light function, dynamic curve lights, headlight washing system, and automatic headlight range control. Wheels options on the Cayman are strangely configured; 17-inch Boxster III wheels can be had for an additional $390, while 19-inch Carrera Sport Wheels will run about $3,620. Colored wheels are available and come in black, yellow, white, and red. A metallic paint option (our test-car was Metallic Macadamia) is also available for $710 with special colors and costs a whopping $3,140.

Interior:

Our test-car was extremely standard equipped; manually adjustable seats, no iPod connectivity (AUX input only), no navigation, non-heated/cooled seats, and no ambient lighting. We expected more from a car that carries a starting MSRP of $51,400. In fact just to convert the seats to fake-leather power seats one will have to pay $1,550, and real-leather will bring that figure to $3,935. Heated seats can be had for $510 while cooled seats will run you an extra $800. A Bose surround system, Bluetooth functionality, and Navigation will run an extra $1,690, $695, and $3,110 respectively. Five minutes in the Cayman was all it took for us to realize that Porsche pays little concern to the convenient standard features expected by many in a luxury sports car.

Performance:

The 2009 Cayman derives its power from a horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine that puts out 265-hp at 7,200 rpm and attains a maximum of 221 lb-ft of torque from 4,400-6,000 rpm. When mated to the standard 7-speed manual these numbers equate to 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 165 mph. The PDK transmission (a $3,420 option) will drop the 0-60 time to 5.4 seconds, and the Sports Chrono Package (a $960 option) will drop the time to 5.2 seconds. The top test-track speed for a Cayman equipped with PDK is 163 mph.

Whatever you do, do not purchase this car if you live in a snowbound area; we were barely able to move an inch during a snowstorm. That being said, the Cayman is a great sports car as performance goes; it handles well, accelerates hard, and brakes on a dime.

The biggest upside to the Cayman is the fuel-efficiency that it offers for a sports car. The “09 Cayman delivers an EPA estimated 19/27 mpg (city/highway) with a manual transmission and 20/29 with the optional PDK transmission.

Overall:

After all is said and done, there are much better uses of $51,400 than spending on a bare-bones Cayman and not even having the ability to use it as an everyday car. If you absolutely must have a 2-seat rear-wheel-drive sports car, we advise that you look into the 332-hp Nissan 370Z. It is a much better option given that it reaches 60 mph in 5 seconds flat, handles impeccably, comes loaded with options , and demands a starting MSRP of $29,990. If you were so inclined the 350-hp NISMO 370Z could be had for $39,190 and leave any Porsche Cayman owner regretting their waste of $51,400.

Review: 2009 Porsche Cayman:

– By: Stephen Calogera

All Photos Copyright © 2010 Omar Rana ““ egmCarTech.