Probably the strongest part of PCM 3.0 involves the audio entertainment setup. It’s not the most advanced or fully featured system. However, with the notable exception of support for local media file storage, it does everything you could ask for and generally does it well.
Along with the touch-screen controls, Porsche has fitted a pair of transport control buttons to the left of the screen. This allows you to navigate music files from whatever part of the interface you happen to be in. Another welcome touch is the ability to set source-specific sound profiles such, bass, treble and balance. The dynamic range of various sources, whether it’s FM radio or an iPod can vary widely, so it’s nice to be able to set things up once and then always have the right configuration load automatically when you change inputs.
Our test car was also fitted with Porsche’s Sound Package Plus. Yours for £345, this features nine speakers and a 235W total rating. You’d think that would be enough for a fairly rich audio experience. Sadly, the reality is that even with the upgraded kit, the Cayman’s sound system remains a little weedy. The bass lacks heft and range, while loss of composure at moderate volumes is betrayed by occasional squeaks and rattles. Overall, the sound stage is a bit thin and joyless – the thunking warmth characteristic of a really good installation is essentially absent.
For the record, a TV tuner with DVB-T and analogue support is available. It also adds DVD video playback but was not fitted to our test Cayman. Given the mediocre quality of the screen though, that’s probably just as well.
In PCM trim, the Cayman’s radio is a conventional analogue system with AM and FM tuners and RDS support. Long-wave analogue and digital radio are not on the menu. Similar to the radios in most contemporary infotainment setups, it automatically scans the airwaves and presents users with a list of available stations in alphabetical order.
As standard, PCM 3.0 comes with a single optical disc drive with support for CDs and DVDs. Along with factory pressed discs, the system will also read the home-burned variety. File type support takes in MP3, WMA and AAC with a limit of 4,000 tracks per disc. An optional six-disc changer, again with digital file support, is also available. A pair of CD slots in the glove box provide a modicum of disc storage.
For £217 Porsche will rig your Cayman with USB and iPod sockets in the centre arm rest storage compartment. You also get a standard analogue 3.5mm aux-in jack thrown in for good measure.
iPod support is limited to music playback but is pretty comprehensive within that remit. Lists by artist, track and album along with your iPod’s playlists all appear in the PCM menu. You can’t generate new playlists in-car, but in our view that’s probably not something most users really want.
USB support is similarly simple but effective. As with the iPod, PCM usefully displays a screen message upon connection, so you know your memory key has been successfully recognised. Scanning for music files is automatic and rapid. Assuming your files have proper ID3 tags, you can navigate via the usual artist, album and track lists. Playlists are not supported, however. In terms of file formats, it’s the usual MP3, WMA and AAC options. Oh, and memory keys must be formatted using either the FAT16 or FAT32 file systems.