2012 Porsche Cayman R
Power: 330hp, 273 lb.-ft.
Engine: DOHC 24-valve flat six
Fuel Economy: 20 city, 28 hwy
Price as Tested: $82,250
“They left the keys to the brand new Porsche. Would they mind? Umm, well of course not.” – Parents Just Don’t Understand, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
You don’t hear many rappers garnishing their rhymes with the Stuttgart shield. Maybe they’re caught up playing Mr. Me Too with their Bimmers, Benzes, and Bentleys. Or perhaps the prospect of piloting a virtually street-tuned racecar through the streets is too daunting. But the day the keys of an Aqua Blue 2012 Cayman R found their way into my hands, I threw a third option into this mental mix; a Porsche could just be too much of a ^&*%ing awesome experience to rhyme about.
At initial glance, the Cayman R is all in the family, and then some. From the modern sculpt of the iconic body shape, to the colossal calipers, to the divergent hue of the mirrors and spoiler, the coupe delivers a swagger that appears to have spun right out of pit row to your pad. Inevitably, your lustful eye goes in search of the sticker. Ready for the shocker? The car starts at $67,250—downright reasonable for what you’re about to get into. Sure, there have been previous Porsches that took heat for coming in at a price point well below the 911, but to label this one entry-level would be a cardinal sin.
“Stomach bustin’ out the white Carrera.” – Laughing at you Now, Big Punisher
At 5’10” and around 190 lbs., the thought of me climbing into the Cayman wasn’t quite as comical as the image of the great Pun, shoehorned in its big brother. But its stance still looked like it might pose a challenging entrance. Lucky for both myself and my self-image (note: crowds gather quick when you rock this whip!) I slid into its firm, bolstered seat with ease. Once you get over the giddiness of strapping in with the car’s cherry-red seatbelt, it only takes moments to acquaint yourself with the rest of the cabin. Spartan isn’t the word, as the Cayman still has the appeal of something you’d want to drive on the daily. Purpose-built may be a better descriptive. The gauges—while race-inspired—are clear to read and speak to you in everyday road language. An integrated multimedia system with touch-screen is placed easily within reach, and even if you’re not the gadget type, its iPod interface is a breeze to operate. On the other end of the spectrum, the pop-out cup holder above the glovebox is no better than one from an early ’90s VW Golf, and was clearly put there out of spite. However, if that’s a sticky point for you, you’re sadly in the wrong car.
Firing up the Cayman R’s flat 6 is an act of pleasure in itself. Before you even drop into gear, you may be doubting if the engine’s 330 horsepower rating is accurate. Behind your back, the gentle rumbling of the aluminum block 24-valve feels almost marine in nature, and sounds even sweeter with the windows down. Around town, the car is a well-behaved gentleman. A moderate tap of the gas reminds you of its potential, though it struts through the city—speed bumps included—without making you feel like you’re babysitting a problem child. Still, it doesn’t mean you should waste any time heading for the open road. Clicking on the car’s “sport” setting and opting for the wheel-mounted shift paddles literally jerks the Cayman into beast-mode. With its steering and suspension tightened, along with a more aggressive throttle map, the car will immediately have you hunting down the nearest road course. And as nimble and quick as it becomes, that may be a good idea if you already have a few points on your record. Still not satisfied? Well, there is a “sport plus” switch. But you may want to go there only when you’ve put your complete trust in the car, as invoking its power lets loose a noise from the engine that sounds like automotive Harakiri. Even more assertive than before, the howling six now dares you to play chicken with its redline before clicking to a higher gear. Couple this with the Cayman’s scant 3,000 lb. curb weight and you have a serious case for some track instruction, if you haven’t already.
“To my South Beach bitches with that sassy walk, who ain’t tryin to hear nothin’ if you don’t ride Porsche.” – Dirty Money, The Clipse
Tired of blending in with the rest of ‘em? The Cayman R will get you noticed. But that’s hardly the main reason you should drop your hard-earned stacks on one. Still, there’s a few things you should think about before hoofing it down to your nearest dealer. Sure, you can handle all the double takes from the fairer sex, but are you good with an occasional unprovoked middle finger? More importantly, is it a car that can practically fit your day and evening lifestyle? The answer’s actually a solid maybe. Case in point, it took some convincing to get the Mrs. to climb in for a night out, but even dressed in her LBD, she surprisingly had no complaints with the logistics of it all. And at the risk of a Latina stare-of-death, I have to say that her already amazing legs looked even a bit better stepping out and over the car’s billet-trimmed door sills. More than you and your boo, though? Forget it. The Cayman R is strictly a two-seater, with little room for more than a jacket on its rear deck. To its credit, the front bonnet will swallow up a carry-on-sized suitcase and a duffle or two with ease, but its potential for a road-trip car hinges on your ability to pack light.
The Cayman R is not the greatest, fastest, or most track-worthy Porsche on the market. But for the money, you’re going to have a hard time finding another car that can whip the heads of both you and your onlookers like it can. Maybe there’s the answer to its lack of lyrics—it’s a sweet deal, and when have sensible economics ever made for good rhymes? But are you really taking your ride advice from a rapper? Damn, homey, I sure hope not.