We’re busy having shouting matches almost every day at the wheels office lately. It happens every year around about this time, the name calling, the blackmailing, the spitball ambushing…
And it’s all because wheels Car of the Year 2012 is right around the corner, and your wheels team together with our regular gang of contributors can’t stop arguing about what’s awesome and what’s rubbish.
Well, actually, the extreme ends of the spectrum we can agree on — it’s the stuff in the middle that necessitates closer scrutiny, or in our case, Yo Mama jokes. Even in this time of office warfare, the wheels team is mature enough to call a momentary ceasefire and agree on some undisputed facts such as, the Porsche Boxster is darn awesome.
And that fact makes us extremely excited about our sportscar-driving prospects for 2013, because Porsche has just announced a tin-top Boxster, which you may know as the Cayman. This third-generation coupé sportscar was just launched at the Los Angeles auto show last week, promising less weight coupled with a stiffer chassis, more efficiency from its flat-six engine range, a buy-it-now price and, most importantly, good looks.
Let’s get to the best bit first, which is that the base Cayman will start from Dh200K in the GCC, while the Cayman S kicks off from Dh227,500 — you can order yours today, rubbing your hands with glee until the April 2013 delivery date.
As a completely re-developed coupé, the latest Cayman is both lower and longer than before, but crucially also up to 30kg lighter with a 40 per cent stiffer body. The wheelbase is additionally also longer, and coupled to a wider track and bigger wheels, it should easily scare plenty of 911s on the winding road.
A longer wheelbase, wider track and larger wheels enhance the performance of the mid-engine sports car to an unparalleled level in its competitive class. The new Cayman is — after the 911 Carrera and Boxster — the third sportscar model line from Porsche to feature innovative lightweight body design.
The new generation is up to 30kg lighter, depending on the specific model and equipment, and consumes up to 15 per cent less fuel per 100km than the previous model — despite higher engine and driving performance.
Porsche is also quick to point out the Cayman’s economical virtues, with 15 per cent less fuel usage despite higher performance from the base 2.7-litre 275bhp engine, and the Cayman S 3.4-litre 325bhp flat-six. The former sprints from 0-100kph in 5.4 seconds and reaches a top speed of 266kph, while the latter does the acceleration run in 4.7 seconds and tops out at 283kph.
If you spec your Cayman S with Porsche’s double-clutch PDK instead of a six-speed manual, and let’s face it, you will, then you’ll also see economy figures of around 8.0 litres-per-100km — don’t laugh, we actually experienced that in the Boxster S.
Of course, those affordable starting prices hide some nasty surprises, mainly that the cars come in bare-bones trim. Porsche, however, has added more optional equipment to make your decisions easier (and costlier), so the Cayman is now available with adaptive cruise control for the first time, a specially developed Burmester sound system, and a keyless Entry & Drive system.
All this sounds to us like we’re possibly in for fewer shouting matches in the wheels office, come the 2013 awards for the best sports coupé.