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Sleek architecture, mid-engine performance - 2006 Porsche Cayman S coupe



A new Boxster-based coupe joins the Porsche sports car lineup for 2006 -- the Cayman S. Although it shares much with the acclaimed roadster, its unique characteristics and exceptional dynamic capabilities earn it the right to its own name. Featuring a larger and more powerful 3.4L horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine, the new Porsche coupe was designed with a lightweight but extremely rigid chassis and a nimble suspension system. Careful engineering has optimized weight and provides outstanding aerodynamics -- setting new standards for both speed and fuel economy.

Based on the 3.2L six-cylinder engine in the Boxster S, the new engine wears the same cylinder heads and uses the same VarioCam Plus technology as the 911 Carrera. VarioCam Plus carefully monitors camshaft and valve lift, making constant adjustments to optimize power output. The rear-drive Cayman S is the first car other than the 911 Carrera to benefit from this unique Porsche technology.

To deal with the increased output of the larger 3.4L engine, the six-speed manual gearbox used in the Boxster S was modified, with shorter ratios for first and second gears. As in the 900 Carrera and Boxster S, the synchromesh rings on the first and second gears also have a wear-proof carbon coating to assure maximum efficiency. To assure short, crisp and precise shifts, the Cayman S gearbox has triple synchromesh for the first and second gears with double synchromesh for third through sixth gears.

Porsche's acclaimed Tiptronic S five-speed automatic is an available option. The Tiptronic automatic offers drivers the option of shifting gears by either tipping the gear lever mounted on the center console or by simply pushing the fingertip controls located on the crossbar of the steering wheel. Even equipped with the automatic gearbox, the Cayman S accelerates from 0-60 mph in only 5.8 seconds.

On the road, the Cayman S remains true to core Porsche values of go-fast performance. Hitting that sweet spot at speed, the Cayman S gets down to the business of fast dispatch. A robust clutch takes a bit to get used to at first, but quickly becomes a partner at getting the most out of the sophisticated prime mover.

Although the Cayman S chassis and suspension are based on the Boxster, the coupe is slightly larger and gains rigidity from its fixed roof architecture. This stiffer structure allows Porsche engineers to get the most from the coupe's suspension for exceptional dynamic capabilities. The body of the Cayman S is 100 percent more resistant to flex with a torsional stiffness that approximates the flagship 911 Carrera.

Control hardware for the Cayman S includes spring-strut axles with separately mounted longitudinal and track control arms to assure precise wheel guidance while controlling body roll. A new outbound/rebound stop spring within the damper strut further reduces the body sway angle to make the new Porsche coupe even more sure-footed under high lateral acceleration forces.

The rear suspension also features spring-strut axles with longitudinal and track control arms, but with firmer springs on the rear axle than the Boxster S and an even harder outboard setting for the rear dampers. While the rear springs are firmer, the rear sway bars are slightly softer to provide both control and comfort.

More than a mere performance car, the Cayman S was also designed to be comfortable and well appointed for long-distance driving, whether on two-lane mountain roads or wide-open stretches of Interstate highway with a well-equipped passenger compartment.

The interior of the Cayman S combines luxury-class materials with the controls and seat bolstering required by the enthusiast driver providing a fitting environment whether traveling across country or around a racetrack. Based on the Boxster, the Cayman S adds several unique features such as its long and wide rear package shelf, covered storage bins behind each seat and a revised binnacle above the instrument cluster with a fine metal grid in the open spaces between the circular instruments and the binnacle. The gearshift lever, steering wheel rim, hand brake lever handle, cover on the storage compartment in the center console and in the door panels are all finished in grain leather. Aluminum-colored trim accents the interior, which features standard air conditioning with a pollen filter.

Quick vehicle stats

Wheelbase: 95.1; overall length: 172.1; width: 70.9; height: 51.4 -- measurements in inches.

Engine: 3.4L six-cylinder -- 295 hp at 6,250 rpm and 251 lbs-ft of torque at 4,400-6,000 rpm.

Transmission: six-speed manual, five-speed Tiptronic automatic.

EPA fuel economy: 20 city/28 hwy., (manual); 20 city/27 hwy., (automatic).

Cargo capacity: 14.1 cu. ft.

Safety features

Dual front airbags, front head curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags, alarm system, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, engine immobilizer, remote keyless entry, front fog lights, garage door opener, central locking system, stability control and traction control. Optional safety features include communication management system, fire extinguisher, bi-xenon high intensity headlamps, rear parking sensors, tire pressure monitor and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Warranty

Basic: 4-year/50,000 mile, limited.

Corrosion: 10-year/unlimited.

Roadside assistance: 4-year/50,000 mile, 24-hour.

Pricing

The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2006 Porsche Cayman S coupe starts from $58,900. Destination charges add $795.

As tested

2006 Porsche Cayman S coupe

Exterior color: Arctic Silver Metallic

Interior color: Black

Tire make/model: Michelin Pilot Sport

Tire size: P235/35ZR19 â€" front; P265/35ZR19 â€" rear

Base price $58,900

Destination charges 795

Arctic Silver Metallic paint 825

PCM 2.1 2,970

Bi-xenon headlamp package 1,090

Heated front seats 480

19-inch Carrera S wheels 1,550

Porsche Active Suspension Management 1,990

Tire pressure monitor 590

Sport Chrono package 920

Bose sound system 950

Leather gear shifter gate surround 250

Black mats â€"- Porsche lettering 115

Total as tested $71,425

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About the Author

Ken Chester, Jr.

Ken Chester, Jr. is President & CEO of Motor News Media Corporation – an automotive news service founded in 1989 as The AutoBuyer Plus Corporation. Featured on numerous television and radio programs, viewers, listeners and readers alike relate to Ken's friendly manner and wealth of information about the many vehicles currently for sale in today's complex automotive marketplace.


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