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Call 911 - The 911 Has Got a Problem

The Porsche Cayman has always been a quality car, but the new one seems a little over-qualified for the job.

After seeing the new Cayman S for the first time in the flesh last week at the LA Motor Show, it got me thinking, why would you want a base 911 once that goes on sale?

In the past Porsche has always managed to find at least one differentiator between its models, whether it be outright pace, refinement, practicality or a combination of several things. However it will certainly be interesting to see how the new Cayman - especially the 'S' - is marketed and positioned compared with the firm's flagship sports car.

I remember seeing the original television review of the first-gen Cayman, and Jeremy Clarkson stated that it felt as if Porsche deliberately made it underpowered so it didn't turn into a cannibal and munch on 911 sales. And after driving both cars since, I can see his point.

This is where it gets interesting though, because as we know, near enough every model of car is slightly quicker than the one it replaces. In keeping with this trend, all Cayman models will outrun their older counterparts, but I'm unsure there will be a big enough performance gap between the new Cayman S and the boggo 911 Carrera. Obviously on paper there will be a difference (around 0.4/0.5 secs to 60), but when you consider the S will cost £50-55K and the 911 will cost £80-85K, I'm sure a lot of people could sacrifice half a second in return for thirty thousand pounds!

Going back to my earlier point of having a differentiating feature, this near enough rules out the subject of speed. When you also consider how much more refined a model is than its predecessor, you can't really use this one as an argument either. Even the current generation Cayman is completely acceptable on the motroway at 80mph, and the forthcoming replacement should improve that even further. Likewise with the interior - the new model will get the centre console from the Panamera, just like the new 911 has got.

Now I know at this point, you might think the classic 'Marmite' looks of the 911 cannot be had if you were to opt for the Cayman, and you definitely have a point. If you love the looks of it that much that you want to spend a BMW 135i - or £30K - on top of the Cayman S price, then I will not stop attempt to stop you. However for the rest of us, it will be difficult to justify I'm sure.


The 911 is a fantastic car no matter which model you go for, and Porsche is a great car company. No doubt about that. I will just leave it there to let you consider whether spending that significant amount of extra cash will be worth it. I guess we'll have to wait and see how the Cayman drives next year.

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About Matt

Contributor Without the motor car I'd be bored and also late. Lifelong petrolhead. I hope you enjoy reading articles written from a different stance to the rest of the motoring world.  ... read more