When Porsche launched the original Cayman in 2005, they emphatically stated that it was not a Boxster Coupe. With more powerful engines set up for sharper response and higher revving capability, and a much stiffer structure than its roadster sibling, the Cayman was a more driver-focused car designed to bridge the gap between Boxster and Carrera.
Unfortunately, this message was not clear to the buying public who asked why, contrary to the accepted norm, this Coupe was more expensive than what was perceived to be its Roadster sister.
However, mixed marketing message aside, the Cayman set the bar very high in terms of handling, and soon became the keen drivers’ choice. Accepting its inherent mid-engine balance and the Porsche engineer’s ability to create near perfect handling, the fundamental cornerstone of the Cayman’s dynamic excellence was its exceptional structural stiffness.
As Jan Roth, Director of the 718 Model Line explained, “The original Cayman (987 C7S) had a torsional stiffness of 31,500Nm/degree, or about 250% better than the contemporary Boxster (987). This meant the Cayman quickly gained favour with hard-core Porsche enthusiasts and track day addicts.”
“Over time however, succeeding generations of Boxster became better and better, with the recent 981 generation approaching the dynamic prowess of its fixed-head stable-mate,” he recalled. “The 718 Boxster has a 19,000Nm/degree torsional stiffness number that significantly closes the handling gap when you drive the two cars back-to-back.”
Meanwhile, the Cayman’s structure has also been further stiffened thanks to a new rear section. The body-in-white weighs about 5.0kg more, but the extra reinforcement and new rear suspension design helps the 718 Cayman set the sportscar benchmark for structural stiffness, with an impressive 40,100Nm/degree. This exceeds the big numbers of some super sports cars with carbon-fibre centre tubs!
On paper, the Boxster and Cayman share practically the same homologation weight model-for-model as the extra structural reinforcement and relatively light ragtop of the Boxster is counter-balanced by the roof panel and glass hatch on the Cayman.
With the further dynamic improvements built into the 718 Boxster, Porsche now considers the Boxster and Cayman as having morphed from two separate model lines into one.
Thus, Porsche presents the 718 Boxster and Cayman in the same conventional way the Cabriolet and Coupe do in the Carrera range, with both open and closed variants now sharing identical drivetrain and engine outputs.
There is no question that the 350hp 2.5 litre single VTG technology turbocharged flat-four that powers the 718 models is punchier and more effective against the stopwatch than the 3.4 litre, naturally-aspirated six that went before.