Porsche'(S) Tricks

Our two Caymans for the day
Porsche is known for it's impossible array of 911 trim levels. And that's fine. If you're bold you buy the Coupe. Full head of hair; Convertible. Undecided about a hair transplant; Targa. Risk averse; Carrera 4. Rich; Turbo. Crazy; RS. And smart; GT3. Now, what about the difference between the Carrera plain vanilla, and the Carrera S? Well there's the 40 horsepower difference, and the nicer alloys, and the badge. One could argue that the 911 Carrera only a step in, poor man's Porsche. Others have argued exactly the opposite, that it's the perfect 911 with the ideal amount of performance for everyday use.

So which will it be? Is the Carrera S, with an extra 40 horses, worth the $14,000 premium? Does the 40 horsepower gain transform the car? Would Porsche really make a sluggish bargain step-in model? These were the questions running through my mind as I entered the Porsche dealership. However we had specifically asked to test two 911's -Carrera(4) and Carrera(4)S- in order to find out the difference in engine poke, they'd supplied us with two Caymans; a Cayman and a Cayman S.

The spirited Cayman S
Far away from being disappointed, we were given an emergency Porsche Fuel Card, and we collected our two sets of keys. First up was the Cayman S. We decided to first put take the Cayman S through a workout, and then jump into the plain vanilla Cayman, give it the beans, and record the difference. I'll tell you right now, the difference in performance was hugely noticeable. The boring old base model Cayman  felt like a Nissan 350Z. Plenty of go, but leaves you wanting more from such a low profile high strung sport car. The 320 horsepower Cayman S on the other hand, felt, sounded, and accelerated miles better than the standard 265 horsepower Cayman.

Our well optioned but basic Cayman
So I arrived at an interesting conclusion. Basically what Porsche had done, is in a bout of self mutilation, created a slower less exciting engine, and called it the Porsche 911. While really, they should start at the Carrera S, a proper open your eyes push in the back sports car engine, and called it the base model. I can't imagine Porsche losing half their customers if their base model were ten grand more expensive. Case in point: every 911 you see on the road is a Carrera 4S.  Having personally driven an 997 GT3 RS MkI, I do have to admit, and that's if you want the real experience, I'm sorry, but it's going to have to be a GT3.

Here's a video taken during out comparison, featuring a 0-120km/h time in the blue Cayman S.
Alexotic's Youtube Channel: 0-120 km/h Cayman S