You feel the fatigue on your shoulders after a long enduring day. The sweat of your hands has created half a dozen blisters that ache like bites from an angry rat. Your hair is compacted so tightly its as if a solid woolly sphere would cover your cranium. At a distance, you can smell and feel the heat that the 8 Thousand dollar Carbon Ceramic brakes expel from your Carrera 2S. As the sun still glistens on your 911’s Guards Red painted hips besides your white helmet you think that it was an amazing run. Your fifth track day on the gorgeous Richmond raceway, where you have learned about grip, braking and balance to really make your car work around those curves. Each practice has been an improvement and each improvement is going to result into that stopwatch stating your time. As you see the stopwatch you read 2:13. 2 Seconds quicker than last time, and oh boy are you excited. And just as you start congratulating yourself comes that guy Chad in the Cayman who does a 2:10. And you know what?
You won’t give a damn about it.
Porsche is currently in a situation where they have so many excellent products that they have to literally make some of them a bit worse in order for others to continue striving. Im not talking about how they are straining themselves from making the Macan perform better than the Boxster (Although it could) but with their most iconic sports car and the over-achieving little sod it has as a brother. The Cayman’s mid engine configuration and the balance it brings with it has made it into such a brilliant machine Porsche has always toned it down for fear of uncrowning the king. From the first generation its flat six has always had just enough horsepower to be slower than the base 911 and just enough grunt to never be able to catch it either. With this second generation of the Cayman and the 991 911 its business as usual and Porsche should stop doing this because it wont make a difference if the 911 is the slower car.
Do you know how many people see the Camaro Z/28 and know it will pull more lateral G than both the Nissan GTR and the 911 Turbo S? Do you know how many people that bought a 2014 Mercedes Benz S65 AMG know that their car does 0-60 0.1 seconds slower than the $140K less expensive CLA45 AMG? And I am not even introducing a Viper VS. Hellcat comparison. What is the most surprising fact though is how the Cayman R is already faster than a 991 Carrera 2 and 4. Surprise surprise Porsche, you already did it. All these facts affirm that the effort in keeping the Cayman in the shadow of the 911 has been pointless. Its seated in each car for hours behind the wheel on different roads where you’ll notice the difference. The numbers don’t matter anymore, its about how the mid-engined car feels compared to what the rear-engined car feels and that is much more comparable. So what if the new Cayman gets to the chicane faster, or if the 911 gets the quicker time in its chronometer, these 2 cars feel completely different and offer their own unique driving styles. It’s that knowledge Porsche has to make a car behave that will give both the Cayman and the 911 a good opportunity in the eyes of its potential buyer. Think of it this way, each car will make a case for itself with each of their personalities.
Let’s also not forget how many cars have used power to lure buyers from Porsches. F-Type Coupe R, Corvette, GTR and many others that offer up to 100+ HP more than the 911 and guess what. The 911 still sells, still wins comparisons and still offers the driver feedback that the other cars may lack. Same story with the Cayman which could be pitted against the C7 or the M4 and is still praised by the people who road-tests it. Porsche has always been more than just brute force, and it shows in pretty much every car they make. Or, if you do want a Porsche that gives the brutal force, there is the Turbo S that I have a pretty good guess won’t be slower than whatever Cayman that Porsche may later build.
Then, we get to a word that PR people love to use almost as much as Emotional. Heritage. Heritage is still the #1 reason the 911 will soldier on with its impeccable reputation. Ask any adult what Porsche would they want and they will likely say 911. Cayman 4S PDK GTS Chrono-Pack? No. The 911 will always be the go-to Porsche for everyone, and the one that has kept the companies’ tradition the most. Its as if the 911 is a classic brief underwear. Its the underwear everyone knows and many men prefer. The Cayman is a Boxer Brief. Its the new thing, that may even perform better at its intended purpose than the classic brief. And, it will have its cult of followers who want the newest, trendiest product offered. But in the end, Porsche has based itself on the classic brief and a large number of its buyers want just that. Even if in the end, the Boxer Briefs are the better bet. The name Porsche will always be associated with 911, no matter how better or worse it is than its competitors or even its siblings and it will always have a buyer.
Making the Cayman quicker than the 911 also gives Porsche the chance to do something they just love. Charging more money! It really surprises me that, with the way Porsche manages their lineup, they haven’t come out with an even faster Cayman that would force buyers to give more outlay. In the end, a car brand is a business and this is a great strategy to keep the business as successful as it is.
We are probably not realizing what a more powerful, better performing Porsche Cayman could and would be.
A (more) Reliable Ferrari?
The most Liveable Mid Engined Car?
One of the Best Performing Sports Cars?
The closest thing to a modern stick-shift Ferrari?
A reliable, manual, quality brimmed supercar?
Don’t be afraid of the best Cayman yet. The 911 will keep its own character, will still be the esteemed Porsche by everyone, and will sell as effectively as it does today. Numbers aren’t everything, and the smile on your face will be the perfect evidence of that.