Before I could answer that question, I had to consider two things: 1. What is affordable and 2. How does one quantify “fun”?
For the avid Porsche connoisseur, the immediate reaction would probably be, “sure, a pre-owned Porsche”.
For the sake of time though, let’s exclude all pre-owned Porsches from the equation and only consider new Porsche’s. There are some reading this that may consider the Porsche Boxter a fun to drive “car”, but is it really what comes to mind when thinking about the Porsche brand? Probably not. I’m sure it’s a fine automobile, but spine-tingling and hair-raising aren’t adjectives that I’ve ever heard to describe the Boxter driving experience.
This 2014 Porsche Cayman S on the other hand, certainly looks like it’ll be fun to drive and with a reasonable enough $63,800 price for entry into elite company, “affordable” just rolls off the tongue. Before all of the economist, accountants and fiscally responsible readers start commenting on the affordability of the Cayman S, let’s be clear that if you’re clipping coupons out of necessity, this may not be the sports car for you. After all, sports cars are a luxury and price is relative in this instance. Also, for anyone that knows anything about the Porsche lineup, they know that a Cayman can run up to $100,000 with all of the available options, but at that point it may be prudent to opt for a base Porsche 911 for around $89,000. So, all things considered, I will conclude that there is a such thing as an “affordable Porsche.”
Now let’s tackle the “fun to drive” part of the question. With 325 horsepower I wasn’t overly optimistic, but its 7,800 RPM redline left a glimmer of hope. Also, the six speed manual gearbox (what is that these days), was another ray of hope, as I eased behind the wheel and snuggled into that supportive, yet comfortable race inspired seat. There’s nothing that says “sports car” like the rev of the engine and the growl of the exhaust that can only come from slowly easing off of the clutch. Let the fun begin!
With the limits of U.S. streets and highways, there’s no place to truly experience all that the Cayman S has to offer (legally), but it was my mission to ease all the way to the limits of the law; and this car was more than willing and able. Rolling acceleration and 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds, are respectable for a 21st Century sports car and even exhilarating at times without ever feeling like it would get away from me; it felt almost forgiving of any mistakes. The electric steering on the Cayman may be something to complain about for most sports car enthusiasts, but I would be hard-pressed to distinguish it from the old hydraulic systems of the past. The steering is tight and direct which made hard cornering and lane changes feel like I was riding on rails.
Partner all of this, with all the stares at the traffic light and thumbs-ups as the Cayman S and I cruised around the ATL (home of “who’s who” and “look at me” dweller’s), I would have to answer in the affirmative about the latter…this Porsche was fun to drive.
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