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2009 Porsche Cayman Preview

2009 Porsche Cayman Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
Critical Knowledge:
  • Freshened front and rear fascias with new LED illumination
  • New direct-injection engines
  • New dual-clutch PDK transmission
  • Revised suspension
  • Upgraded infotainment system with iPod integration
  • Available ceramic brake upgrade
  • New ventilated seat option
Introduction
After the success of the Porsche Boxster roadster, first launched in 1997, the German automaker went back to the drafting books to re-engineer the chassis with a fixed steel roof. The result, introduced in 2006, was called the Porsche Cayman. The closed-roof coupe offered half the chassis flex of the open-top Boxster while sharing the identical powerplant, drivetrain, suspension and brakes. As a complete package, the 2-seat Cayman offered race-worthy performance to rival the car's iconic big brother, the 911 Carrera. For the 2009 model year, Porsche has updated both models of the Cayman with an exterior facelift including new LED running lights and tail lamps, two new engines, a new dual-clutch transmission, and a host of other improvements that once again raise the bar on its performance level.

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Model Lineup
Porsche is offering two Cayman models for 2009: Cayman and Cayman S. Each rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger coupe offers razor-sharp responsiveness and agile handling. While both models have few peers in their segment, the Cayman S differentiates itself from the standard model with its larger and more powerful engine, recalibrated suspension, stronger brakes, and wider wheels and tires to achieve even higher levels of performance.

All 2009 Porsche Cayman models feature a long list of standard equipment, and a seemingly longer list of options. Option packages include the DVD-based Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system. It has been upgraded for 2009 with a larger, 6.5-inch touch-sensitive screen with fewer buttons to simplify its use. The optional Porsche Sound Package Plus comes with a radio, CD player and 9 speakers. The upgraded Bose Surround System audio package features a 7-channel digital amplifier and no fewer than 10 speakers. Other options include new ventilated seats with heating (they can be used simultaneously), and bi-Xenon adaptive headlamps. As is customary with Porsche, buyers may also choose from a long list of optional seats, wheels, upholstery combinations, and exterior colors to customize a Cayman.
Hardware
While the cosmetic makeover aligns the coupe's appearance with the flagship Porsche 911, the big news for the 2009 Cayman is hidden within the middle of the chassis-two new direct-injection powerplants. The standard Cayman is fitted with a 2.9-liter, horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engine rated at 265 hp and 221 lb.-ft. of torque. The Cayman S features a 3.4-liter, horizontally-opposed 6-cylinder engine rated at 320 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. The Cayman's engines are all-aluminum, water-cooled, and mounted in the middle of the chassis (mid-mounted) for optimal handling and balance, Porsche says.

The standard transmission on both the Cayman and Caymans S is a traditional 6-speed manual. Optional, and new for 2009, is the Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) dual-clutch automatic transmission. Depending on the driver-selected setting, the transmission can be programmed to act like a traditional automatic with soft shifts or it can be sped up in "sport mode" for more aggressive shifting. For driving on the track or under race conditions, the transmission offers "launch control" for its fastest acceleration mode. According to Porsche, the standard Cayman will accelerate to 62 mph in 5.8 seconds with the 6-speed manual, and 5.7 seconds with the PDK. The Cayman will hit 164 mph without restrictions, Porsche claims. The more powerful Cayman S model will pull itself to 62 mph in just 5.2 seconds with the 6-speed manual, and 5.1 seconds with the PDK. The top speed of the Cayman S is 172 mph, the automaker reports.

The suspension on both Cayman and Cayman S models is independent front and rear with MacPherson struts and twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers. The standard wheels are 17 inches and made of cast aluminum. The Cayman S models get 18-inch wheels that are also wider for more cornering grip. On vehicles equipped with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), the shock absorbers are actively controlled. The brakes on the Cayman are 4-wheel discs, featuring 4-piston aluminum monobloc calipers with cross-drilled inner-ventilated brake rotors. The Cayman S models feature an upgraded braking system with larger calipers and rotors. New for 2009, high-performance ceramic brakes are optional on the Cayman S model. Anti-lock brakes are standard on all models.
Technology
The 2009 Porsche Cayman and Cayman S are available for the first time with a new double-clutch gearbox. Launched on the flagship 911 earlier this year, it is called the Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (or simply PDK). The all-new 7-speed transmission replaces Porsche's traditional Tiptronic S automatic on both models. Based on racing technology pioneered by Porsche more than two decades ago, the PDK transmission features two parallel clutches designed to seamlessly switch between gears without any interruption of power, the maker says. This is a huge advantage to enthusiasts who will enjoy the lightning-fast shifts that PDK delivers (according to Porsche, the PDK transmission is so fast that it is able to accelerate to 60 mph faster than a professional driver with a 6-speed manual transmission). Furthermore, the new transmission is more fuel-efficient than the transmission that it replaces.

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