First 3 days in Cayman R compared to M3
Ok, this car is so much fun to drive. I actually can't wait until work is over to get in it and drive it home.
The reviews of the car reported wind and road noise. It is actually quieter than my M3 was. I can't hear any road noise-might be the crappy Bridgestone RE50 tires. My M3 had Contis and then Yoko Advan Sports, they were both much louder. There is very little wind noise, even at 80 mph and above, much less than the M3, the Cayman has a very slippery shape. What you do hear is the engine noise bouncing off the large rear window. Not unpleasant but you know the engine is doing stuff. With the porsche sport exhaust button pushed the tone changes from mechanical chains and valves to F1 ripping shreak. You don't hear it in the car as much as around the car. I can still hear the radio and use the cell phone with the PSE baffles open.
The ride is very different than the M3. I had the M dynamic system and it the R's suspension feels like the sport setting. It has never been harsh but I can tell there is not much suspension travel to soak up bumps. You really get a sense that the front of the car is very light and it moves alot over bumps where the M3 had a ton of weight sitting on the front axel to crush the bumps and keep things dampened down.
Taking turns is a whole different feel. The steering feels about right-not too light or heavy-hooked up and very immediate. You know exactly what the front tires are experiencing through the steering wheel feedback. No tramlining or oscillations however which I did feel at times in the M3. You really get the sense that you think the car through turns. There is essentially no body roll in the hardest turns. It is so easy to thread your way through traffic in this car-you sense that the weight is centered right behind you, there is little mass at the ends of the car, very different from a front engine M3 or a rear engine 911.
The brake feel is not as good as the M3. I have seen posts about people upgrading to the GT3 master cylinder on Cayman S's so that may be an option.
The clutch feel and shifter is truely beautiful. Effortless and precise. Heel and toe downshifting is natural and easy. I don't miss my DCT or a PDK. This may be one of the last cars made with a spectaular manual gear box and I am glad I have it.
The torque off the line is much better than the M3. It launchs with little effort. The car just feels fast all the time while in the M3 it felt like it was in sloth mode unless you really got into the gas and made it work. Just kind of took the fun out of driving such a powerful car. I definately have to watch my speed with the R because it just wants to go, and combination of a willing engine and great exhaust sound is intoxicating.
Downside? so far a few. It has only two seats so If you ever need to carry more it won't be for you. Limited storage inside the car-no door pockets, so you have to plan how much crap you are bringing-my ML320 is always full of junk I accumulate so this may be a good thing. It doesn't have keyless go so I actually have to turn the key to start it (OMG!!!) and it is on the left of the steering wheel.
The analog speedometer is hard to see and kinda of weird so I end up watching the digital speedo in the analog Tach face.
The car is low so you gotta watch your approach angles to not scrape when go up and down driveways.
I will add some photos and videos as I go along with more comments.
Any prospective buyers please feel free to ask questions.
I am not totally against BMW's even though I had a bad experience with M3, though I had three other BMW's in the past without issues. I am even eyeing the new M6 has I will soon have a daughter and I don't see her riding in the Cayman for a few years....