Porsche Cayman 2.9 PDK Review - Quality, Comfort & Safety Review

Thanks to its option-swollen £50,000 price tag, this Cayman finds itself in rather rarefied territory. Visual fit and finish, fortunately, is absolutely immaculate both inside and outside. Whether it’s the precision stitching of the leather or immaculate exterior panel shut lines, this Porsche is extremely polished.


It is not, however, perfect. For starters, one or two items inside the cabin are pretty low rent. Specifically, everything that appears to be metal is actually plastic. This includes the door handles, kick plates, PDK selector, air vent surrounds and more. Put it this way, direct comparison with a poverty spec Audi A4 would be a humiliating experience for the Cayman. Even if this was an option-free £36,000 example, it would be disappointing. At £50,000 it’s almost insulting.


Making matters worse, there’s a slightly insubstantial overall feel to the cabin. Our low mileage (6,000 miles) test car was already developing a rattle or two from the rear of the passenger compartment. At the very least, it makes you wonder what the car will be like with 50,000 miles on the clock.


Quality concerns aside, the Cayman is remarkably comfortable and refined for an out-and-out performance car. That’s no doubt a consequence of the optional PASM active chassis and PDK robotised gearbox on our test car. The former provides two basic modes for the shock absorbers, comfort and sport, while the latter has a fully automatic mode for easy cruising.


According to Porsche, PASM constantly monitors both road conditions and driver inputs, adjusting the damper settings to suit. In our experience, however, comfort mode is pretty much uniformly soft while sport mode simply remains hard. Of course, the finer points of suspension control fall outside our remit here on TR. But what we can tell you is that with the chassis in comfort mode, the aggressive “Sport” throttle mapping disabled and the 7-speed PDK box in smooth-shifting automatic mode the Cayman is an extremely comfortable cruiser. Yes, there’s a little wind and tyre roar at speed. But as a daily driver, the Cayman is eminently usable.


It’s also pretty practical for a mid-engine car thanks to two luggage compartments, one in the nose and one under the rear hatch. Together they deliver 410 litres of storage and can be opened remotely using the key fob. The cabin provides a generous selection of cubbies and storage, too, as well as two cup holders neatly hidden behind a flap on the dashboard. Yup, that’s cup holders in a Porsche.


Wrapping up the comfort features is the optional Park Assist feature. It’s a basic proximity sensor based system and does not include a camera (the Cayenne is the only model in Porsche’s range with parking cameras.) Unfortunately Park Assist was, again, not fitted to the test car, but Riyad assures me that it’s a perfectly good system – at least he hasn’t reversed his 911 into anything yet!


Not that long ago, it was a given that you compromised on safety when you plumped for a performance car, but not with a modern Porsche. The Cayman packs a plethora of airbags fitted to the steering wheel, passenger side dash, doors and seat bolsters.


Adding to safety on the move is Porsche’s stability control system, PSM. It’s a thoroughly up to date solution complete with ABS braking, yaw compensation, traction control, brake assist and all that jazz. As this is a Porsche, PSM not only offers multiple levels of intrusion, allowing the driver to reduce the size of the safety net in favour of more driver control, it’s also fully switchable for advanced drivers and track day larks. Factor in the active rear spoiler which pops up at 75mph for improved stability at speed and an optional tyre-pressure monitor – not to mention Porsche’s reputation for the finest braking systems in the industry – and you have a compromise-free car in terms of both passive and active safety.

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