The similarities between the Porsche Boxster and the Porsche Cayman are so significant one might think that they are the same car, more or less. This is partly true, as they are built on the same platform with the same parts, but there are a few notable differences between a convertible and a coupe platform.
Both the Cayman and the Boxster share a lot of parts, but some parts are different due to different aerodynamic and cooling requirements. The differences between the two models are most apparent at the very top end of the Cayman/Boxster model range.
The Cayman GT4 is a track-focused coupe, mostly aimed at providing the driver with the highest level of performance and driving experience. The Boxster Spyder is the comparable Boxster model to the GT4, but the GT4 is the significantly more capable of the two.
It’s worth mentioning that both the Cayman and the Boxster model are equally as impressive, but if you value a more rigid, more sporty driving experience, opt for the Cayman. If you love convertibles and you live in a climate that enables you to drive with the roof down, go for the Boxster.
The Cayman is more aerodynamic
Aerodynamics is a term used to describe the car’s ability to manage air. In this instance, the Porsche Cayman offers a more aerodynamic profile, which means that the Cayman is less bothered by wind noise, and the downforce and drag coefficient stats are somewhat better with the Cayman.
This is not to say that the Boxster is worse, it’s just not as capable. The implications of a better aero profile are the fact that the Cayman is quieter, should be a bit more efficient, and it needs fewer bodywork modifications to all the other key areas for aerodynamics such as the front bumper and the rear diffusor.
This is exactly why the top-of-the-line Boxster is slightly different, and why it does not offer a dedicated rear wing. Porsche managed to equalize the downforce figures between the two, but the Cayman still offers a better aero profile.
In the powertrain department, the Boxster/Cayman models are fairly comparable. But the Cayman model does offer a bit more power throughout the range. Usually, there is a 10-15hp difference between the Boxster and Cayman models, but not enough to differentiate the performance stats noticeably.
The Cayman usually does reach 60mph that bit faster, but not enough for you to notice it without a timer. The entry-level Cayman/Boxster models offer a 2.7L flat-six with 265 for each model. The S variants of the Boxster and the Cayman offer a 3.4L flat-six, and the Cayman S does offer 15hp more (330 compared to 315hp).
The GT4/Boxster Spyder variants are 10hp apart, in favor of the GT4, but the essential 3.8L Carrera engine is the same. Judging by many spy shots, Porsche is soon to reveal the heavily track-focused Cayman GT4RS, and there will probably be no Boxster variant of the GT4RS.
Customer base: Performance or top-down cruising?
The differences between the Cayman and the Boxster are also fairly obvious if you take a look at the customer base. An average Porsche Cayman customer is usually more interested in track and performance driving compared to a Boxster owner.
A Boxster owner is usually more interested in top-down cruising, and even though you might come across a few track-day Porsche Boxsters, there are a lot more Caymans at places like Silverstone, Nurburgring, and Spa.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Cayman is used for racing purposes, and the Boxster is not. Some even believe that the Boxster was the primary model between the two, and the Cayman was developed primarily for racing purposes.
You are also more likely to come across a Boxster owned by a woman, and there are more manual Cayman owners per percentage than there are Boxster manual owners per percentage. It’s rather obvious that performance car enthusiasts would usually pick the Cayman above the Boxster.
Is the Cayman a better value compared to the Boxster?
Both the Cayman and the Boxster are similarly priced when new. The entry-level Cayman costs around $60k, and you are looking at a $2k premium if you want the Boxster model. Throughout the entire range, the Boxster costs an additional $1.5-2.5k more than a comparable Cayman variant.
On the second-hand market though, Porsche Caymans are a better value because they depreciate slightly less. However, the depreciation percentage is fairly comparable between the two. No matter the case, the 2nd hand market favors both of these because they are amazingly capable sports cars for the price.
Is the Cayman more practical than the Boxster?
This is also an area in which the Cayman does edge out the Boxster. Luggage space is far greater in the Cayman because the soft roof mechanism of the Porsche Boxster eats into the rear trunk space. Interior wise, the Cayman also offers more headroom compared to a Boxster when its roof is in place.
The difference in trunk liter capacity is 145 liters because the Cayman offers 425 liters, and the Boxster offers 280 liters of trunk space. The Cayman is also available with the popular bucket seat option which further increases the leg-room for both passengers.
Is the Cayman more comfortable than the Boxster?
The Cayman offers a noticeably quieter experience compared to the Boxster because of the hardtop construction. The Cayman offers more sound isolation, but with the sport buckets in place, the seats are not as comfortable as the ones you might find in a Boxster.
That being said, if you don’t opt for the bucket seats, the seat comfort is virtually the same. Some people also consider a top-down experience to be more comfortable, while others believe that a longer top-down journey is far less comfortable.
Both of these vehicles are adequately comfortable, and to an extent, the Cayman is basically just a hardtop Boxster. There are some noticeable differences between the two, but it all comes down to personal preference. No matter which you choose, both of them are staggeringly capable and well-engineered premium German sports cars.