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      03-25-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
footie
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Cayman Driving Experience

Hi Guys,

Just returned from a very exciting day at the new Porsche Driving Experience Centre at Silverstone Race Track driving the new Cayman S complete with PDK and LSD. I was one of the lucking ones from our bunch that got to sample both systems together in one car.

First the building at the Silverstone Circuit, in a word impressive.



Once inside you are greeted by the full range of Porsche models





as well as a couple of blasts from the past in the world of motorsport.



After a not so pleasant lunch (too upper crust for my stomach) we were given a guided tour of the building and what it's purpose was, namely to proved future customers who have laid a deposit for their new Porsche to get valuable training is the car's abilities and help finalize the performance parts spec of your finished car (i.e. sample everything from PDK, LSD, PASM, ceramic discs, etc) and learn how all of these technologies and safety features aid you if you push too far and how best to recover the car back from the brink.

There was an impressive range of Caymans laid on from the day's experience



A total of fifteen Caymans were present, some standard and some S model, all offering different spec and equipment. I personally loved the colour of this one



though resale might be more of a problem.

Sorry for the lack of pictures of the circuit, my instructor wasn't at all happy with the idea of snapping away while driving, spoil sport, though I did get a picture when we stop to switch cars of the kick plate experience that simulates instant oversteer on sheet ice.



Words can't describe how slippy this surface is, it's basically a plastic resin that is 10mm thick and polished to a finish similar to a marble floor, coated in a constant flow of water. The device kicks the rear either way at random and you have to try and catch it before it spins and when it does you WILL spin the entire 100m of the track. Depending on the entry speed the more extreme the kick and the trickier it is to catch, it won't activate above 30mph and you start at a 15~18mph, I got to 28mph with no DSC and lose it completely.

There was other exercises to show the cars safety technology at work but the real star is the road track which has every corner you could ever dream of on one stretch of road and then some. As for the Cayman S, well I was the lucky one I got PDK and LSD together and the car was incredible, it's balance near and on the limit is amazing, the M3 is good but when you shed over 200kgs and reposition the engine to aid traction then you just know that on this track it will plain and simply walk away from the M3 with ease. The traction it finds in adverse cambers and it poise will leave you speechless as to how Porsche has all this in what is effectively their cheapest models, only the GT3 is quicker on this track according to the instructors and seeing and driving the course I can't see how a Carrera S would compete.

PDK......is it better than M-DCT? I hear you ask.

Well the simple answer is a definite YES and how. I drove the track about 12 times, half in manual and half in auto with Sportplus and to be totally honest the car was always picking the right gear better than myself and I know I was the quicker in auto. Unlike M-DCT the PDK selected the right gear on the approach to the corner instead of making that choice as you start to apply throttle driving through it. Also the LC setup is child's play, left foot on the brake (firmly) and stand on the throttle, then all that's required is you side step the brake and you rocket off the line with near zero wheelspin and maximum acceleration. I even did this on that slippy wet surface of the kick plate and again minimum wheelpsin and no tail wagging as we did it, none of the lairyness that is ever present with the M3. Another thing, I did launch control on the dry surface three times, one after another at 6500rpm and the car did this exercise all day long, never once saying 'sorry mate but I'm too hot and need time to cool down before we do this again'.

As for the lag we all know and hate, well it ain't there in the Porsche and nor is there the lag on takeoff without sport throttle mapping that is present with the M3. Porsche truly have made a manual dual clutch gearbox that in my opinion does away with the traditional automatic completely. But even with all it's brilliance it is still a flawed diamond, the paddle controls on the steering is just wrong and work against all logic. The guy that when with me previously worked for Ferrari and even he reckons it's the worst setup ever, his workaround is to pull with the left hand to go down the gears and push with your right to go up the gears, sorry but my aging brain could get my head around it in the 30 plus mins of racing track time I got before switching to the manual car. So I for one couldn't recommend the PDK in it's current form no matter how good the rest of the package is and for all of M-DCT's faults BMW at least got the most important one right first time.





P.S.
How mad can you go with a Porsche on extras?



How's about to the tune of nearly 28K on a 44K Cayman S.
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      03-25-2009, 07:57 PM   #2
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Beautiful cars...

Are those pants an optional extra?

Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post


How's about to the tune of nearly 28K on a 44K Cayman S.
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      03-25-2009, 08:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the pictures and write-up.
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      03-25-2009, 08:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirploppy View Post
Beautiful cars...

Are those pants an optional extra?
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      03-26-2009, 01:21 AM   #5
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There has got to be some kind of aftermarket retrofit kit that will come out for PDK P-cars that solve that ridiculous gear change system. Maybe a new steering wheel + rear paddles.
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      03-26-2009, 04:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeldorian View Post
There has got to be some kind of aftermarket retrofit kit that will come out for PDK P-cars that solve that ridiculous gear change system. Maybe a new steering wheel + rear paddles.
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      03-26-2009, 06:21 AM   #7
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I don't like the Cayman model at all, though my wife loves it....
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      03-26-2009, 12:14 PM   #8
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Great write up. I've always loved the Cayman, and the new line looks great.
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      03-27-2009, 06:37 AM   #9
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I too love Caymans but after owning their soft-top counterpart I couldn't ever own another, they are great for a blast in the country or even trips to the shops and day to day driving but on long motorway journeys greater than 30~40mins of continuous 70~80mph speeds the booming gave me headaches.

So to own one again I would really have to invest in another equally exciting car, something I am not prepared to do.
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      03-27-2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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Wow! A P-car enthusiasts paradise. Most impressive. I can't say for sure since I've never been to either one but it seems this venue trumps BMW's performance delivery. Maybe. Thanks for the report.
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      03-27-2009, 09:55 AM   #11
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Here's a aerial shot of the Porsche centre and track at Silverstone.



Though not completed in this shot it will give you an idea.
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      03-27-2009, 10:25 AM   #12
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You are effing lucky indeed footie, cheers for the writeup and pics. Cayman is a blast to drive, I test drove an S, much tighter and more focussed than my M. But I couldn't pull the trigger, it's GT3 or bust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
How's about to the tune of nearly 28K on a 44K Cayman S
Quote:
Originally Posted by sirploppy View Post
Are those pants an optional extra?
That's where the 28K went.
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      04-03-2009, 08:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GnokGnik View Post
Problem solved.

http://www.autoblog.com/2009/04/03/a...for-porsche-9/

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      04-06-2009, 05:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeldorian View Post
There has got to be some kind of aftermarket retrofit kit that will come out for PDK P-cars that solve that ridiculous gear change system. Maybe a new steering wheel + rear paddles.

Gemballa makes one for the 911, not sure if it would work on a Cayman: http://www.autoblog.com/2009/04/03/a...for-porsche-9/

Edit: I really should have read to the end of the thread!
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      04-06-2009, 07:56 PM   #15
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I drove a Cayman S at the track here during the Porsche driving school a couple of years ago. I frankly wasn't that impressed and that was comparing it to the E46 M3. Too smooth for my taste.
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      04-07-2009, 02:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW M Power Mexico View Post
I drove a Cayman S at the track here during the Porsche driving school a couple of years ago. I frankly wasn't that impressed and that was comparing it to the E46 M3. Too smooth for my taste.
That smoothness you hated was it's perfectly balanced chassis and controls in action. Unlike the M3 the Cayman never ever feels like it will snap sideways when driven hard due to excessive amounts of power, in fact I don't know how much power it would really require to give it the feeling that your right foot was your safety net. All I know is that I could quite easily string a dozen laps within a couple of tenths in the Cayman over any other car that springs to mind.
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      04-07-2009, 02:52 AM   #17
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Nice write-up Footie. Thanks a bunch.

This only makes me happier than in the end i went for the 2009 cayman S over the Z4/M3.

1 more week

Last edited by Arth; 04-07-2009 at 03:34 AM. Reason: Spelling
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      04-07-2009, 05:16 AM   #18
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The handling on the Cayman S is beyond belief. The only time I can talk down about Cayman S handling compared to the M3 is long sweeper turns at 140mph+
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      04-07-2009, 08:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
That smoothness you hated was it's perfectly balanced chassis and controls in action. Unlike the M3 the Cayman never ever feels like it will snap sideways when driven hard due to excessive amounts of power, in fact I don't know how much power it would really require to give it the feeling that your right foot was your safety net. All I know is that I could quite easily string a dozen laps within a couple of tenths in the Cayman over any other car that springs to mind.
I drove a Cayman S @ Mosport last year and was quite underwelmed by the lack of power.Yes it was quite viceless in the handling but it really needed about 100 more horsepower to be real fun.The other problem that a properly equipped Cayman S in Canada is about $20000 more than a M3 equipped somewhat the same.
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      04-07-2009, 09:22 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead999s View Post
I drove a Cayman S @ Mosport last year and was quite underwelmed by the lack of power.Yes it was quite viceless in the handling but it really needed about 100 more horsepower to be real fun.The other problem that a properly equipped Cayman S in Canada is about $20000 more than a M3 equipped somewhat the same.
That was my point to 'BMW M Power Mexico', the chassis feels so planted that mountains more power is required to have real fun where as the 997 can do all that with only 30hp more such is the placement of it's weight, but that doesn't lessen the car's ability to corner and cope with difficult cambers and bumps mid-corner. No for what it is the Cayman S is the best handling drivers car this side of an R8 or GTR and no other German brand has quite matched it on this.

P.S.
If you get the chance to drive a new Mk2 make sure it's got the LSD because there is a lot more fun to be had if you put the work in. If you know what I mean.
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      04-07-2009, 09:29 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
That was my point to 'BMW M Power Mexico', the chassis feels so planted that mountains more power is required to have real fun where as the 997 can do all that with only 30hp more such is the placement of it's weight, but that doesn't lessen the car's ability to corner and cope with difficult cambers and bumps mid-corner. No for what it is the Cayman S is the best handling drivers car this side of an R8 or GTR and no other German brand has quite matched it on this.

P.S.
If you get the chance to drive a new Mk2 make sure it's got the LSD because there is a lot more fun to be had if you put the work in. If you know what I mean.
The LSD would not have made a difference at Mosport because the majority of the turns are 3rd & 4th gear and the only 2nd gear corner wheelspin was not a problem but of course that brings me back to the point of wanting more power.
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      04-07-2009, 09:51 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Gearhead999s View Post
The LSD would not have made a difference at Mosport because the majority of the turns are 3rd & 4th gear and the only 2nd gear corner wheelspin was not a problem but of course that brings me back to the point of wanting more power.
Maybe the Cayman excels more on the more technical courses where speeds is less important but I keep hearing about power and your craving for it. Ever thought about politics?

Jokes aside it's remarkable how different the Cayman feels in comparison to even the basic 997 or even a Z4M Coupe which has similar power, it's the only one which feels completely planted to the surface and feels like it could quite easily cope with 100hp more and not unset the chassis balance.

Try the same thing with a Z4M and the word 'rollercoaster' springs to mind.

In my opinion the making of a great car is the equivalent to fine dinning, it always leaves you wanting more. In the case of the Cayman that wanting is more power, even though it's quicker than just about everything else that has up to 80hp more than it. Some people prefer that thrill of taming the beast, as is the case with the Carrera C2S and to a lesser extent the M3 but if you want a great track car that you can jump into a drive the socks off it than few match the Cayman S.
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