This is the car that I had my eyes on and I waited 5 years for my dream to finally come true.
BHPian The Rainmaker recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
“Introduce your family to the finer things in life. Ours.” – Porsche Print Ad Tagline.
I am writing this not just to share my ownership experience but also to highlight when you buy a Porsche, it is more than the car you are buying. What you are actually buying is the brand, history, heritage, lifestyle and engineering excellence, which is unparalleled!
Since a very young age, I’ve been fascinated by Sports & Super Cars, Porsche and Ferrari in particular. When I was growing up, I would buy magazines to learn more about them and through the years, I started liking McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche cars while Japanese tuners were always closer to my heart due to being affordable and easily accessible.
My first real interaction with Porsche happened when I visited the newly opened dealership in my city in the year 2010. I was so excited to go and see the beautiful 987.2 Porsche Cayman S they had on display at that time. A salesman invited me into the dealership and let me sit inside a brand-new Cayman S, it made my year! He also gave me a hardback Cayman S brochure, which was more like a book. I studied that brochure for months, reading all the technical features again and again! I was literally hooked, although it took a long while before I could afford one. I worked my way through the hot sedans phase (Octavia > Corolla Altis Sports > Cedia Sports) and finally started working towards realizing my goal.
WHY A CAYMAN S (987.2) ONLY?
The only hardtop Porsche with a Mid-Mounted Engine, classic Porsche shape, updated with modern technology and more predictable balance at the limit than the equivalent 911.
More reasons below
- The first gen had the infamous IMS Bearing and Bore Scoring Issues.
- Boxster S has a soft top, way less chassis rigidity, lesser power and more added weight due to the roof mechanism.
- 911 doesn’t have a mid-mounted engine and no trunk either.
- The mid-mounted Flat 6 is exactly where it should be, making the Cayman S handle predictably which inspires total confidence.
- Quality is at par with a 911 combined with an ideal 3.4L engine for the chassis.
- This car, for me, still is the most amazing car designed by Porsche or to be more specific – Pinky Lai. None of the succeeding generations could ever come close to the raw feel and real driver engagement of the 987.2 Cayman S or R.
Let me summarize what this gen had that the newer generations will never have sadly:
- Hydraulic Steering (Amazing connected feel and feedback)
- Long Travel or Long Modulation Brakes
- Real ‘Hand’ Brake
- Short Wheelbase (Nimbleness/Agility)
- Proper Sports Car Dimensions
- Raw Feel
- True & Real-time Feedback
- Analog Buttons with Tactile Feedback (No distractions on the road)
- Analog Dials and Gauge Cluster
- Better Visibility (Low shoulder lines)
- Pinky Lai Design and Killer looks
LIST OF REQUIREMENTS — The 5-Year Search Begins!
I was very clear on what all factory options I definitely needed on my car and the condition it should be in. I’m not the one to compromise when it comes to my cars even if it means waiting for a long time — 5 years in this case. I have summarized it as under:
- Factory original paint all around (Preferably Carrara White).
- Factory stock — No mods whatsoever.
- Less driven.
- Complete service history at the dealership.
- One owner only
- Triple Radiator Setup
- Sports Chrono Package Plus
- Bose Surround Sound System
- 19-inch Carrera Turbo Forged Wheels
- Porsche Sports Exhaust System
- Bi-Xenon Headlights with PDLS
(Saw many over the years, shortlisted only these because of the Factory Paint condition)
- A black Cayman S being sold by a dealer in Chandigarh. Left because it didn’t have the required factory options.
- A silver Cayman S being sold by a dealer in Bangalore. Left because it had 3 unofficial owners and an aftermarket exhaust and missing the Forged Wheels that was on my requirement list.
- A white Cayman S being sold by a fellow BHPian, but the deal didn’t go through as I didn’t find the car to be in good shape / well-maintained.
- Now comes my car with way more loading/factory options and way better everything else. Better explained under its own special head.
REALIZATION OF THE DREAM — Opening Scene: My Car!
Alright so let me come clean. This IS the car that I was eyeing for a long time and was actually my benchmark to compare all other cars with (Because of the PERFECT build sheet). However, the owner was not prepared to sell it till now. But finally, my 5-year wait came to an end when he finally decided to let it go. I immediately went to finalize the deal with him. 2 – 3 days of back and forth and the deal was finalized and after completing all the paperwork and legal formalities, I drove this beauty home and the feeling of owning it — beyond words…
Porsche Cayman S (987.2). Every angle is a money shot!
Let me share the Build Sheet with you:
- Triple Radiator Setup
- 7 Speed PDK (Porsche’s Lightning-Fast Dual Clutch Transmission)
- Sport Chrono Package Plus
- Porsche Communication Management (PCM 3.0) w/ Extended Navigation Module
- Bose Surround Sound System
- Extended Leather Option
- Natural Brown Leather Interiors
- Porsche Crest Embossed on Head Restraints
- Porsche Design Steering Wheel w/ Paddle Shifters
- Floor Mats in Interior Color
- Auto Dimming Rear & Wing Mirrors w/Integrated Rain Sensor
- Illuminated Stainless Steel Door Sill Guards
- Porsche Sports Exhaust System
- Bi-Xenon Headlights with Dynamic Cornering Lights (PDLS)
- Integrated Headlamp Washers
- 19-inch Turbo Wheels, Forged (The only Forged wheels in the Porsche lineup at the time)
This was by far the most exceptional build sheet I had seen on a Cayman S in India. Not a single weight adding useless feature and only logical and performance-oriented options. I couldn’t find a single Cayman S with all these factory options. They all had something or the other missing, but this one was a rare gem!
REVIEW — About Time!
I’ve owned my Cayman S for about 14 months (As of writing this), I drive it all year round, mainly on the weekends though. I especially love taking it out on my favorite local roads for the sheer fun of it, either early in the morning or late evening. The roads are generally empty — my playground.
The balance of the chassis is perfect, the steering communicates wonderfully, without overloading you with every bump on the road. The brakes have a huge amount of feel too, you can gauge exactly how much stopping power is required, with no sudden initial bite to throw you or your passenger forwards into your seatbelt. And the suspension soaks up all the unwanted road noise but still passes through the road information to give you the confidence to push on without a sweat. The instant power you get out of the Flat 6 Boxer power plant is both exciting and aural pleasure.
The Long Version with Specs
Screenshot taken from Excellence magazine website
Porsche Cayman S (987.2) comes with a Flat 6 Boxer Engine (With direct fuel injection) developing 320 BHp and 370 Nm of Torque and a new 7-speed dual-clutch transmission dubbed Porsche Doppel-Kupplungsgetriebe — or PDK, as they call it in German. PDK replaces the ageing Tiptronic five-speed automated manual transmission. Porsche claims that a PDK-equipped Cayman S will accelerate from 0 to 100 Km/h in 4.9 seconds when performing a start in Sport Plus mode with launch control, a feature only available with the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus that my car came equipped with. But as I have checked with many websites, the 4.9 seconds time is a conservative estimate and this car has done faster times than claimed while testing in many reviews.
The ZF-supplied, PDK works flawlessly in automatic mode. The shifts are so smooth & quick that they’re hardly noticeable — the only giveaway is the small display that tells you what gear the car currently is in. Fun Fact: It moves through the gears faster than a manual! All the Porsches I shortlisted had only the base steering wheel with sliding buttons that one pushes to upshift and pulls to downshift, which is really confusing and takes away from the whole driving experience. Fortunately, my car came equipped with the Porsche Design Sports Steering Wheel that has dedicated Paddle Shifters — you know the universally recognized, “Right paddle up-shift, Left paddle down-shift” setup.
The car is quite quick already in the Normal mode itself and is more than enough for city driving or even highway cruising. However, you switch on the Sport mode and a different factory remap comes into play with a higher rev range to play with and instant acceleration. The sudden surge of power is so satisfying and exciting at the same time. Now switch on the Sport Plus mode and you’ve got a beast that is wild and needs taming through an authoritative control. Here you get the whole rev range to play with, all the way up to the 7500 RPM red-line. Saying that you get an instant acceleration in this mode would be an understatement, no kidding! The engine has so much low-down torque, that the car can pull from any gear at any speed.
So, in short, you’ve 3 Factory Maps to play with, with the Normal and Sport mode using all 7 gears. However, what’s interesting is that the Sport Plus (Strictly for the track!) mode only goes up to the 6th gear because the 7th gear is an overdrive gear meant for better fuel efficiency. Clever engineering, huh!
The moment you press the pedal, you’re greeted with that swooshing induction noise. It adds a rawness that, in conjunction with the roar of the engine, goads you into using all the available revs more often. What adds further to the music is the Porsche Sports Exhaust System, adding that depth and loud growl to an already perfect soundtrack!
My recently detailed Engine Bay
The following print ad says it all in one line.
I’ll begin by saying that the Steering and Brake feel is among the very best. The hydraulic steering is so precise, it’s uncanny. The car has the ability to transfer itself from one side of the road to the next with ease and grace. The ride and handling balance is quite perfect, thanks to a re-tuned suspension. It has been revised to promote crisper & tighter handling. The suspension is stiff but that is in part attributable to the ‘N’ rated tires by Porsche. What’s that, you ask?
‘N’ rating is a rating given to all the tires that have been developed by tire manufacturers in conjunction with Porsche for each of their models based on the weight on the front or rear axle, handling characteristics, engine layout, corner weight transfer etc. Although it will still be called Pilot Sport 2 or PZero, but the ‘N’ rating next to it distinguishes it from the regular tire of the same name. And what’s even more interesting is that these tires do look similar but actually have a different load index and compounds being used for manufacturing the ‘N’ rated tires. In my case, it was time to change the tires and as OCD as I am, I went for the best available for my car – Pirelli PZero ‘N2’ Rated tires designed especially for this car and track tested by Porsche in line with their operating procedures — N2 means 2nd revision of the N rating.
Always remember, how your car handles and grips is based on tires. This is your first contact with the ground. Never cheap out on tires. This is the part that makes or breaks a car’s handling characteristics more than anything else.
See that ‘N2’ marking next to ‘PZERO’?
Why PZeros N2? Because they are the best road/track tire for this car. After thorough research and reading through many websites, forums and track junkies’ posts, it was a shared opinion that they’re actually better than the Pilot Sport 2 ‘N2’ in terms of grip, cornering and overall handling both on the street and on track. PS2 N2 was a close second though. The only downside is they don’t last very long which is acceptable to me because I purchased this car for the sheer handling and ‘feel’ of a sports car. No point in skimping on tires.
I only use the German-made Nextzett Vinyl Rubber Extra on the tires. It may be overkill for the tires but that is the only rubber conditioner that adds UV protection while offering the same satin-smooth factory finish on the tires. It’s also an OEM for many German automakers along with Sonax.
Yes, I got these ceramic coated as well. I’m OCD, I’m allowed to do that…
The brakes on this thing are another marvel. The brakes unlike most of the other cars I’ve driven have a long travel, so you can actually modulate the level of braking you want entering or exiting a corner. The newer gen Porsche cars don’t have this anymore. The four-wheel disc brakes featuring cross-drilled, vented rotors to better dissipate heat, bring the Porsche to a complete halt with far less drama than the average Elon Musk product launch. Braking has long been a Porsche obsession. With the added Sport Chrono Package Plus, it is possible to limit the ABS’s intervention even further, making the system almost feel like it isn’t there at all.
As per Porsche, the Cayman offers near identical torsional stiffness as a 911, and that the Cayman is twice as stiff as the Boxster. This has firmer springs and dampers all round and a thicker anti-roll bar at the front as compared to a Boxster.
The Cayman has an engine ideally placed for road holding, cornering and agility — but the aspect that exceeds expectations is that both 911 and Cayman have Porsche’s stability system (PSM) that is as unobtrusive as one could hope, but the intervention comes much later on the Cayman because it doesn’t suffer the same extremes of oversteer or understeer as an equivalent 911.
The Cayman S teaches you to be a better driver and this is what makes it so rewarding to drive. Get it right and you’ll feel on top of the world. That’s what makes it such a unique car to drive.
Ride quality is a highly subjective topic. I often read people complaining about the stiff ride of a sports car. What I fail to understand is that if they really wanted a comfortable and cushy ride, why not buy a Mercedes… or even a BMW since apparently they have moved far away from the “Sheer Driving Pleasure” or the “Ultimate Driving Machine” taglines that used to describe their once amazing cars up until the E90 generation and are now making Luxury German tourers with comfortable enough ride to appeal to the mass market and not purists. After all, profits dictate development and manufacturing.
Having said that, the ‘true’ purpose of a sports car is its tight handling, instantaneous response to inputs, raw feedback, rigid chassis and yes a stiff ride for direct communicative feedback. That is the USP of a sports car and this car delivers on all fronts without breaking a sweat. Although the roads in my city are good enough even if they weren’t, I won’t be the one complaining about a stiff setup on any car.
The car literally turns like it’s running on rails, basically rotating on its axis and that too with minimum steering input. Stays planted irrespective of the speed or road conditions. The rebound on the suspension has been tuned perfectly by Porsche. Amazing is the word!
I wish we had some nice twisty canyon roads like they have in Japan. One could experience what this car is actually meant to offer on those brilliantly finished roads.
Picture first so that the accompanying text makes sense.
I’m a poser, eh?
A new front fascia, headlights, taillights and wing mirrors give the coupé a slightly more aggressive appearance. Bigger air openings at the sides and the center of the front bumper look suitably mean. The headlights are modeled like those of the more exclusive Porsche Carrera GT; they incorporate the Bi-Xenon Projectors, turn signals and dynamic cornering function into a single light cluster.
At the back, the LED taillights create a curvy-shaped outline that accentuates the curves of the car.
The side vent grills on both sides add to the sportiness and are totally functional. The left side vent is for the intake and the right side vent is for cooling the engine. The red brake calipers look amazing and form a beautiful contrast against the dark wheels.
Classic Porsche Curves. That’s what you see in your wing mirrors…
The spoiler goes up automatically once the car crosses 120 Km/h. One can also manually raise the spoiler at the touch of a button on the center console, but that would look ricer cruising at city speeds, so I’d rather let the car do it when the down-force is actually required.
Notice the chrome exhaust tips? That’s the Porsche Sports Exhaust System and that’s how you tell it apart from a regular exhaust. The stance from the rear and rear quarter panel is really aggressive; as if it’s ready to pounce on its prey and tear it apart — in this case, tarmac. With the mirror gloss Carrara White paint and Aerokit, the Cayman S looks sensational from every angle, I like the subtle daytime running LEDS in the front bumper and the silhouette of the sloping roof disappearing in the bulbous curves.
The gloss levels on this car are INSANE!
Long story short: Based on the borderline sexual shape of this car, it would be safe to say that this is what Kim Kardashian would look like if she were a car… Lol.
Drum roll, please…
The leather-clad cabin of the Cayman S is a wonderful place to spend time in, the touch points are made from high-quality materials, just like in the 911. I just love the combo of Tan Brown Natural Leather interior in a Carrara White car. Personally, I just can’t stand the typical Black or Beige usually optioned by some buyers.
The rubber seals all around the car were nourished using Würth Gummi-Fit as that is the only EPDM seal conditioner without any silicones, lasts a long time and keeps the weatherstripping soft and supple like new.
The extensive use of leather in place of Vinyl/plastics uplifts the cabin quality and it still smells like new inside. That intoxicating scent of leather when sitting inside this car — Priceless!
The controls are perfectly placed for you to reach without stretching. The displays are clear and easy to read at a glance. I also love the Porsche Design Steering Wheel, notice the slick paddle shifters?
I can’t honestly fault anything, even the two fold out cup holders are a feat of engineering, their silky smooth movement is almost stress relieving (not really — but you get the idea!).
What you see here is the beautiful leather-clad PDK shifter that shifts so smoothly that it’s satisfying in its own right. To the left of the shifter, you can see the Sport, Sport Plus and Sport Exhaust Buttons (This is the one that opens the valves to give out that true deep growl of the engine). The main screen is the multi-info display which plays multiple roles of the Bose Surround Sound System, Navigation System, Multi info display, timing your laps using the Porsche Sport Chrono Clock etc.
I love the stitching on the leather dashboard all thanks to the Extended Leather option that this car came equipped with. Even the door cards are finished in leather. Just adds to the premium feel of the luxurious materials all around.
Porsche Crests embossed on the headrests are a pleasant sight every time you get in the car. You might have noticed that these seats are covered in full natural leather and not the base option with partial leather and partial alcantara. That’s again because of the Extended Leather Option which offers full leather seats with sporty perforated leather down the middle of the seats for breath-ability.
Porsche Sport Chrono Clock is a part of the Sport Chrono Package Plus and is used to time your laps. Use the stalk on the lower left behind the steering wheel to Start/Stop the timing and record your best lap times.
From left to right: Dead pedal, Brake Pedal, Accelerator Pedal & Fuse Box. All spick and span!
The Cayman S can easily be used as a daily driver but I drive this mostly as a weekend car. I’ve not done any track days in it and don’t intend to either due to the toll it takes on the engine, transmission, brake components and suspension not to mention the paint. It is far more practical than many people are led to believe.
A nicely cleaned and detailed Frunk
Under the hood, there is a very deep trunk that we Porsche owners call the ‘Frunk’, the roof has attachments for a roof rack/box and the rear features a trunk as well since the engine is in the middle, right behind the seats.
A nicely cleaned and detailed Trunk
The fact of the matter is that this is a very practical sports car that can be used every day, feel at home on a race track and give a rewarding driving experience beyond what fast saloons/coupes can offer. It’s this complete package that makes the Cayman S a special proposition.
SERVICE & MAINTENANCE
Although the car was already in pristine condition with an up-to-date service record and always garaged, I’m too OCD when it comes to my cars and had to reset the car to a factory state like I do with all my cars. Every single factory fluid, tires, filters etc. were replaced with Brand New Factory Recommended replacements for that peace of mind and my OCD satisfaction. Here’s a list of the services performed on the car till date:
- Engine Oil
- Brake Fluid
- Power Steering Fluid
- PDK Gear Fluid
- PDK Clutch Fluid
- Air Filter
- Cabin Pollen Filter
- Stone Guards
- Car Detailing with CQuartz Ceramic Coating
The car is always washed with a touchless foam cannon and pressure washer and dried with an air blower to prevent any hard water spots in nooks and crannies. No touching = No scratches, simple as that. I’ll probably post a separate thread on my washing, detailing and day-to-day interior cleaning techniques someday.
It is always parked inside a temperature-controlled garage with a dedicated Battery Tender on at all times. Interestingly, this car has never been driven in wet weather or rain. Always driven in dry weather and on dry Chandigarh roads only. The under-body stickers and metals still look like new!
You better knock when entering my room!
Battery Tender doing its job.
As OCD as I am, my obsessiveness extends to the finest details when it comes to my cars. I just can’t compromise on anything. Hence, my key had to be protected as well.
Silicone key case with Porsche Heritage Collection Keyring
Since both the keys were absolutely mint, I decided to protect Key 1 (The primary key) with a silicone case that I ordered from abroad. To add to the finishing touch, I also ordered a genuine Porsche Heritage Collection Keyring since it was the only keyring with perforated leather and also matched my leather interiors. The idea behind this was that key should match the exterior color while the leather keyring should match the interiors just like the car was ordered. BTW The keyring is a piece of art!
I went a step further and wrapped the chrome part of the key with PPF that I got laser cut from a vinyl shop in my city so that the keyring doesn’t scratch the same. Yeah I know I’m crazy, but I won’t be able to sleep at night if I see that beautiful chrome scratched up.
Safely stored with my other valuables
When I’m not driving, the key is safely kept in my drawer along with my other valuables like watches, sunglasses, etc. I ensured it gets a separate jewellery tray since I plan to keep both the keys and the new keyring in mint condition.
Motometer Tire Pressure Gauge. The best a man can get!
I also went ahead and ordered a Porsche Classic Tire Pressure Gauge which is actually made by Motometer in Germany. They’re a very old German company & have been manufacturing tire pressure gauges for years. I did my research for weeks before finally buying a Motometer gauge since these were the most accurate along with Flaig gauges. Digital gauges are mostly inaccurate even the expensive ones and analog ones aren’t that accurate either so I wanted to buy something Made in Japan or Germany only and you really can’t go wrong with old German brands that have been doing this all their life. It’s not exactly cheap but I’ve already spent big money on tires, I’d rather not cheap out on a tire pressure gauge that has a huge role to play in maintaining accurate pressure in the tires.
In the long term, this Cayman S is a keeper for sure seeing as how the prices of this particular generation have been skyrocketing, some even selling higher than their original MSRPs. I have yet to come across another Cayman S which is so highly specced as this one, so I value it being with me and feel honored to be its custodian. It always gets compliments and praise from fellow enthusiasts. Also, I’ve noticed that the newer 718 has gone in a different direction, the styling is less classic, and the engine is a smallish four-cylinder turbo; Not what a real Porsche should be! That should ensure that the earlier Cayman S cars until 987.2 gen always have an enthusiastic audience, even if it is just me!
In the subsequent posts, I’m willing to elaborate on each factory option and other features unique to this car. If anyone would like me to do that or be interested in knowing anything specific that I might have left out, please do let me know. Shall be happy to share whatever I can.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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